The human body is a complex machine, and the way it interacts with any compound, including Cannabidiol (CBD) can be even more so. We’ve only known about the system in our body that cannabinoids are part of since the 1990’s so there is definitely so much more to learn! Nonetheless, we’ve compiled and broken down some of the basic science we do know below.
What is CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of over 100 compounds found in hemp and marijuana. It’s the second most prevalent compound (second only to THC) in cannabis. CBD belongs to a class of molecules called phytocannabinoids and is not intoxicating. This is the part of the plant that keeps you healthy, not high.
CBD is extracted as an oil from cannabis through a number of different extraction processes. CBD oil is then utilized in a variety of different products ranging from capsules to tinctures, edible gummies, and more. All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors belonging to the endocannabinoid system.
How Does CBD Work in the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. Endocannabinoids are some of the most versatile and widespread molecules. The system plays a major role in balancing many important functions. The endocannabinoid system also isn’t unique to humans. Scientists have found that the ECS exists in any animal with a vertebra, including fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system within the body is relatively new. The system was discovered in the 90’s when researchers set out to study a series of plant-like molecules produced by the human body. The human body produces cannabinoids known as endogenous cannabinoids. Examples of endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) include n-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), anandamide, and virodhamine (OAE).
Endocannabinoids operate differently when compared to other neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine. Endocannabinoids are not synthesized in advance and stored. Rather, they are produced on demand as needed. Endocannabinoids are also hydrophobic. This means their effects are localized since they can’t travel very far.
Once manufactured, endocannabinoids attach to cannabinoid receptors. It was initially believed that endocannabinoid receptors only existed in the brain and nerves, but receptors have since been discovered throughout the entire human body, including the skin.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a very interesting and varied role within the body. At its most basic, the endocannabinoid system is a huge network of cannabinoid receptors which are spread through the body. The human endocannabinoid system releases cannabinoids that interact with receptors found in virtually all of the tissues in our bodies. You can also take in phyto-cannabinoids (CBD) in addition to those compounds that your body produces to help boost this system. The role of the endocannabinoid system is to bring balance to our tissues, including the heart, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems. In short, it’s working to keep you in neutral. Neutral means different things in different areas of your body, which is possibly one of the very best things about the compound – it can have a different impact on different receptors in your body. The Endocannabinoid System is one of our foundational articles on how CBD works. We’d love you to take a look at it if you want to learn more about the ECS.
CBD & Cannabinoid Receptors
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the human body embedded in the cell membranes that are responsible for regulating multiple processes that we experience daily including mood, appetite, memory and pain sensation. When they’re activated, it can be by naturally occurring endocannabinoids, as well as by the phyto-cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis.
There are two major cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 (Researchers speculate there may be a third cannabinoid receptor waiting to be discovered.)
CB1 receptors: CB1 receptors are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system but also sparsely populate other parts of our bodies. CB1 receptors deal with thinking, mood, appetite, memories, pain, emotion, movement, coordination, and several other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.
CB2 receptors: CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and pain.
Scientists once believed that CBD attached to the CB2 receptors, but new studies have indicated that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, it’s believed that CBD influences the endocannabinoid system indirectly.
CBD’s Indirect Effect On the Endocannabinoid System
When someone takes CBD, the compound goes into your system and to the endocannabinoid system (ECS).Since cannabidiol has been found to have no particular binding affinity, scientists believe CBD’s therapeutic benefits created via indirect action.
CBD inhibits fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down anandamide and weakens it. CBD weakens FAAH, which leads to an increased concentration of anandamide. Anandamide is considered the “bliss molecule” and plays an important role in the generation of pleasure and motivation. The increased concentration of anandamide can have a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system.
CBD also affects the fatty acid binding protein (FABP). FABP proteins bind to anandamide and transport the enzyme outside the synapse to broken down and metabolized by the FAAH. CBD affects the transportation process of FABP so that less anandamide is metabolized, again resulting in a higher concentration of anandamide.
Finally, CBD binds itself to the G-protein receptors known as TRPV-1. TRVP-1 receptors are involved in regulating pain, body temperature, and inflammation. It is through this bind that scientists believe CBD helps with inflammation and pain relief.
CBD in Medicine & Health
There is still so much to study when it comes to the endocannabinoid system and CBD’s role. However, it’s clear that CBD has a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system and can be useful in addressing a multitude of different medical conditions. Research into the possible applications of CBD is growing and the compound is bound to make an even larger impact on medicine and health than it already is.
At Green Wellness Life, we are not doctors. We can’t diagnose, treat, or prescribe any ailments. Still, we conduct diligent research into the latest studies, user testimonials, and trend to be able to provide you with most accurate and up-to-date information possible on CBD. We want you to be informed so that you can make the best possible decisions for your health. If you have questions about CBD in general or you’d like to know which CBD products may be best for you, feel free to contact us by calling (888) 772-7875 or filling out a contact form. We’re here to help!
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