Each and every day, our bodies are constantly at work monitoring necessary and important functions. Is your heartbeat rapid or slow? How are your hormone levels? Is everything in a homeostasis balance? Is your temperature just right?
These are just some of the functions that our endocannabinoid system, ECS for short, helps our body regulate and maintain on a daily basis. The ECS plays a vital role in the bodies of humans and animals.
When your body experiences an imbalance of some sort, the ECS activates and works to get things back into a normal state. Cooling you down when you get too hot? Thanks, ECS. Brings down your rapid heartbeat over time? You can thank your ECS too. It also works to regulate other functions, including mood, sleep, and appetite.
Nonetheless, the ECS is essential to our everyday living, even though most of us have never even heard of having an ECS!
In today’s article, we’ll discuss all things about the endocannabinoid system and CBD in extreme detail as well as why CBD is bringing light onto the ECS like never before.
Let’s get it!
The ECS is a system in the human (and animal) body that is made up of various receptors that interact and work with different cannabinoids. Some of the most common cannabinoids that interact with the ECS are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Researchers investigating cannabis and marijuana use over the last ten years have continued to lead closer to understanding this system in the body.
The endocannabinoid system plays a major role in helping regulate our pain, inflammation, mood, sleep, and other functions all throughout the day. You really can think of our ECS as you would any other major organ system, like the immune system or cardiovascular system.
As research continues to examine the intricacies of this system, more and more discoveries are being made surrounding cannabinoid receptors in our body and cannabinoid plant receptors. The signaling system between these different types of cannabinoids is what we use as an umbrella term to call the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
So it’s starting to make sense now, right? Full circle status? Once you start to understand and learn the mechanisms underlying the benefits of cannabinoids for us humans and our furry friends, the more eager you may become to give CBD a try.
I’m sure you’re curious as to just how CBD works with our ECS. Which effects do these cannabinoids have on our system?
CBD is just one of the exogenous cannabinoids that is derived from the cannabis plant and it is commonly referred to as a cannabinoid or phytocannabinoid. CBD can come from either the hemp or marijuana plant. We’ll touch the on differences between the two plants below.
When CBD is first introduced to the ECS, there are a wide array of potential effects that the body can endure. CBD can help maintain a normal inflammatory response and help support heart health, immune function, and even act as a neurological protectant.
It’s important to note that the human body can also make cannabinoids on its own, aka endocannabinoids. Since they come from inside our body, hence the ‘endo-’, they are considered endogenous cannabinoids.
In a general sense, these cannabis compounds are similar to neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, playing a large role in supporting our normal mental and physical performance and function. Some examples of these neurotransmitters are virodhamine, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, and anandamide.
CBD works to inhibit fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), creating higher levels of cannabinoids. Anandamide, for instance, is a chemical compound commonly called the “bliss molecule” and plays a part in motivation and pleasure centers in the brain. The word itself - anandamide - actually comes from the Sanskrit word “ananda”, meaning bliss. Thus, the word makes sense right?
For individuals who may have a chronic condition or illness or whose body does not produce enough cannabinoids on its own, CBD use is an easy and non-psychoactive way to introduce more cannabinoids to your system.
Unlike other cannabis products, CBD is derived from the hemp plant, meaning it only contains little to no amounts of THC (0 - 0.3% THC).
What does this mean for you? CBD products won’t get you “high” or give your body psychoactive effects, unlike taking marijuana-derived products. Furthermore, animals and humans can reap the benefits of CBD without having to worry about feeling mind-altering effects.
What are the positive effects of taking CBD then? What can it do for our ECS? Well, let’s jump right in, shall we?
CBD may have numerous effects and benefits on users, such as:
Again, these are only just one of the potential benefits that CBD can have on our ECS. There is still so many research studies going on that are finding more ways in which CBD can help us (and our four-legged friends).
Endocannabinoid receptors can be found all over the body. They are considered a class of cell membrane receptors in the C protein-coupled receptor family. They are activated by plant cannabinoids and endocannabinoids, in addition to synthetic cannabinoids.
The very first type of endocannabinoid receptors was found in 1988 in a rat brain. It was found that these receptors interacted with THC. These receptors were concentrated in areas of the brain responsible for emotion, cognition, and memory. THC is normally found in higher concentrates, in products like medicinal cannabis.
Other studies have led to more discoveries about cannabinoid receptors in the brain in the early 1980s as well. The first cannabinoid receptor discovered was called cannabinoid receptor 1 or (CB1). Fast forward to 1993, a second cannabinoid was discovered, called cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Sounds pretty straightforward, but still is super cool!
CB1 and CB2 receptors seem super similar, but they actually have very different functions and roles within our bodies.
The CB1 receptor, for instance, exists in high numbers in the brain, mainly in the amygdala, hypothalamus, and hippocampus. They can also be found in the central nervous system, various glands, and intestines.
These CB1 receptors can help regulate and maintain a sense of calmness, brain function, and help manage normal stress levels and responses.
There are potential benefits to activating CB1 receptors, including:
CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are seen throughout the body in the immune system, cardiovascular system, and peripheral organs. They are commonly seen in the tonsils, spleen, immune cells, and thymus. Unlike CB1 receptors, there are only a small amount of CB2 receptors present in the brain.
Changes to the CB2 receptors may cause many types of disease, such as autoimmune disease, psychiatric problems, and cardiovascular disease. These receptors may also help enhance joint and bone health and even may support healthy inflammatory responses.
Studies have even suggested that CB2 activation in the body may help destroy the beta-amyloid protein, the main source of plaque in the brain in individuals with Alzheimer’s.
The most interesting thing about these two different receptors is that both of them bind with THC, but don’t with CBD. Again, how we mentioned above that CBD is non-psychoactive, it interacts with these receptors indirectly, thus, users don’t feel a high. When, on the other hand, THC interacts with the receptors directly, with users often feeling an associated high.
All in all, CBD’s potential therapeutic effects on the endocannabinoid system are showing support for the mental and physical wellness of the body. WIth non-psychoactive effects, minimal adverse effects, and no euphoria associated, CBD is quickly becoming a promising and holistic option for humans and pets alike.
Using CBD products and oils is a great option to help stimulate your ECS.
These naturally occurring cannabinoids in the hemp plant, like CBD, are especially great for our cats and dogs too, who also have working ECS. There is a clear trend with CBD products and animals up and coming and Petly is here to show you the way! Our Pet Hemp CBD Chews and CBD Oils for Dogs and Cats are products you’re furry friend is sure to love!
When it comes to working with our CB receptors, using CBD is a natural way to help enjoy the potential benefits associated, without the common traditional medication or THC side effects.
Cannabidiol works to activate and engage your endocannabinoid system in a gentle and calming way, providing you (+ and your pup or kitty), lasting therapeutic and health benefits.