CBD And The Human Body
Our bodies have a very important system that plays a role in total body balance and total body wellness. Most of us have heard the term “homeostasis”. Homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain a steady internal state despite external factors and environmental changes. Things such as PH balance, temperature control, respiratory rate, blood pressure, water and electrolyte balance are all examples of homeostatic processes. Years ago, during the 1900’s scientists discovered a very complex and powerful signaling system within the body while studying the interactions that cannabis had within the body. What they noticed over and over was that the cannabis continued to bind to receptors in a system that they never noticed before. They were naturally intrigued by this and so they continued to study it. They found that it was quite complex and consisted of receptors, enzymes, and it’s own cannabinoids that would later be named “endocannabinoids”. Ultimately, they named this system “The Endocannabinoid System”. Years of study led scientists to learn just how intricately the endocannabinoid system plays a role in homeostasis and the regulatory state that our bodies must sustain to achieve body balance. They discovered how the Endocannabinoid System helped to regulate pain receptors, and even serotonin levels within the body.
They also determined that the Endocannabinoid System has two main types of receptors: CB1, which are found mostly in the Central Nervous System (CNS) brain, reproductive system, cardiovascular system, and the liver. In smaller numbers, CB2 receptors were found mostly in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) on cells with immune function as well as in the gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, they discovered that the body actually produces its own “endogenous cannabinoids” that interact with the Endocannabinoid System to help it keep the body regulated and maintained. They identified two main types called: Anandamide and 2-AG.
Fun Fact: Anandamide means- “bliss” or “joy”. An omega-6 fatty acid, it is a neurotransmitter that binds to cannabinoid receptors and functions to send signals or messages through the body via CB receptors.
There are various studies that discuss the role of the Endocannabinoid system and how it helps the body to regulate different nervous system disorders such as anxiety, depression, learning and memory disorders, epilepsy, muscle movement disorders, and more. Also intriguing is that CB1 receptors are involved with the PNS (peripheral nervous system) system and plays a role in assisting our body systems with pain, energy, metabolism imbalances and more. So just how does Cannabidiol (CBD) work? If the Endocannabinoid System plays a role in homeostasis and actually produces it’s own “endo” or internal cannabinoids then you can understand how an “external” cannabinoid such as CBD, CBN or other cannabinoids potentially can add to or supplement it where by boosting or helping to maintain the natural system that already exists in our body. Read more about the Endocannabinoid System…
There are two main types of cannabinoids that scientists have discovered; Phytocannabinoids and Endogenous cannabinoids. Both of these act as messengers that provide feedback to the CB1 and CB2 receptors therefore allowing adjustments in regulation. Research shows that there are many other phytocannabinoids (and even more cannabinoids) found in the cannabis plant that may play specific roles with the Endocannabinoid system as well. Endogenous cannabinoids are derived from within our bodies and are naturally occurring and phytocannabinoids are derived from the cannabis plant. With the addition of phytocannabinoids from an external source, such as CBD, to work along side our naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoids, the body has an added benefit in maintaining homeostasis.
What is complicating are the limitations surrounding clinical trials and studies to date. Evidence is prevalent but so much more needs to be investigated and studied. CBD on the market is still largely unregulated. This leaves the doors wide open for some to exploit unbacked claims. As always, do your own research, verify information you learn with your physician, and stay in tune while we continue on this journey discovering this amazing compound and many others just waiting to be discovered.
Eisenstein, Michael (2019, Aug 28). “The reality behind cannabidiol’s medical hype“. Nature. Vol 572 Aug 29, 2019.