Learn the ins and outs of your body’s endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system: everyone has one, but most of us have never heard of it. And even fewer of us know how it works!

Continue reading as we discuss the ins and outs of the endocannabinoid system (ECS), its functions, and how CBD interacts with it.

 

First things first: what is a cannabinoid? 

A cannabinoid is a natural compound found in the cannabis sativa plant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are two of many different subclasses of cannabinoids found in this plant. 

Hemp is a variation of the cannabis sativa plant and the plant that CBD oil is typically extracted from. CBD is a non-psychoactive element that contains high levels of cannabinoids.

Fun fact: Although both are derived from the hemp plant, CBD oil and hemp oil are NOT the same. CBD is extracted from the flowers or buds of the hemp plant. Hemp oil (also known as hemp seed oil) is extracted only from hemp seeds and contains no cannabinoids. 

 

What is an endocannabinoid?

If cannabinoids can be found in the cannabis plant, then what exactly is an endocannabinoid? “Endo” is the abbreviation of endogenous, which means “of internal origin or cause”. 

Yes, that’s correct! Without consuming any cannabinoid-containing substances, you already have internal cannabinoids that occur naturally in your body: endocannabinoids. 

What’s more, both humans and animals have a naturally inherent endocannabinoid system (ECS) that’s designed to process both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids alike. 

 

What is the function of the endocannabinoid system? 

The ECS plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis in your mind and body (a state of balance and equilibrium) by regulating certain bodily functions including:

  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • The immune system
  • Mood
  • Appetite
  • Reproduction and fertility

And more. 

 

How does the endocannabinoid system work? 

The ECS is made of three main parts: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Step #1: The body senses a state of disequilibrium and releases endocannabinoids, the molecules that regulate bodily functions.

Step #2: The endocannabinoids bind to the corresponding receptors, signaling your body to respond appropriately. The are two main types of receptors we know of so far are:  

  • CB1 receptors, which are located in the the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors, which are located in the peripheral nervous system, cells in the immune system, and the digestive system.

Step #3: Once homeostasis is achieved, enzymes are released to break down endocannabinoids and stop their process.

 

How does CBD work with your endocannabinoid system? 

While research is still being conducted to learn exactly how CBD interacts with the ECS, CBD is thought to aid in increasing the lifespan of endocannabinoids and, in turn, helping them have more of an impact. 

 

Read more:

Born to be balanced: Understanding our bodies’ built-in cannabis-fueled system

 

Are you looking for certified, high-quality CBD products? 

At Just Breathe CBD, our wellness products are made with premium CBD, a natural plant extract derived from industrial hemp plants that’s federally compliant to contain less than 0.3% THC and legal in all 50 U.S. states.

Shop our premium, certified, U.S. manufactured CBD products here.