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, here some of the basic science we do know.
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of over 60 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 phyto-cannabinoids and isnon-psychoactive.This is the part of the plant that keeps you healthy, not high.
So how does CBD actually work in our body?
When someone takes CBD, the compound goes into your system and to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is made up of receptors throughout the body and brain.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health. 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.
Tell me more about these 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 are concentrated in the brain and central nervous system but also sparsely populate other parts of our bodies. CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system.
With this endocannabinoid system in place, it seems that we are biologically designed to make use of the cannabis plant. If you’d like to learn more about the ECS, check out our previous blog: what is the endocannabinoid system