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The Endocannabinoid System

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

At Gabriel’s Garden, we’re committed to providing our friends, family, community and customers access to the highest quality CBD at an affordable price. Check out our Full Spectrum Oils and other CBD products.

Homeostasis: bringing your body into balance

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) works with many of our bodies’ systems to help bring those systems into balance, or homeostasis. The ECS helps to modulate the body’s response to new situations, including stress. For example, it helps regulate our body’s production of cortisol, which causes the sympathetic “fight-or-flight” response to stress. 1 But the ECS interacts with much more than just our nervous system or stress response. The endocannabinoid system also plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and even reproduction and fertility2

According to Sally Fallon Morell, author of the renowned “Nourishing Traditions” cookbook“wherever researchers have looked, they have found the family of endocannabinoids playing critical roles in helping us feel well and helping the body to work normally.”1

The endocannabinoid system was only “discovered” in the 1990s, when researchers were studying cannabis and THC. We have much more to learn about the ECS and its important role in the healthy functioning of our bodies. With that said,  research has already linked the endocannabinoid system to MANY of our body’s processes.

When you think about the bodily sensations related to cannabis consumption, what comes to mind? Popular culture often associates cannabis with relaxation or stimulation, increased appetite (“the munchies”), and relief of pain or nausea. Not surprisingly, research confirms the ECS’ relationship to mood, sleep, stress, nerve function, appetite, metabolism, inflammation and chronic pain.2 But what about reproductive health, liver function, muscle formation, bone growth, memory and learning, motor control, and cardiovascular health? These, too, have a connection to the endocannabinoid system.2

According to Healthline“these functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to stability of your internal environment. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation.”2

How does the endocannabinoid system work?

The ECS is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids, or “endogenous cannabinoids” are molecules that are produced by the body. So far scientists have identified two main endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG).2  In order to produce these endocannabinoids, our body needs adequate amounts of calcium, Vitamins D, A, and K2, and saturated fats.1 However, deficiencies in calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin A are all common.4 If our bodies don’t have what they need to produce enough endocannabinoids, we may feel chronically depressed, anxious, or tense.1

Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors to activate the endocannabinoid system. There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1, which are primarily found in the central nervous system, and CB2, which are primarily found in the peripheral nervous systems and especially in immune cells.2 The peripheral nervous system connects the central nervous system to organs and limbs, conveying information between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body.5 

According to Healthline, “Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effects that result depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to. For example, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. Others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders.”2 Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids after they have carried out their function.2

How does CBD work with the Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabinoids are also molecules that interact with the ECS. Unlike endocannabinoids, cannabinoids come from sources outside of the body, including cannabis and several other plants. Cannabis produces both tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). 

THC can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors.2 THC’s effects on the body can cause a range of impacts, some more beneficial than others. For example, while THC can reduce pain and nausea and stimulate the appetite, it can also cause anxiety and paranoia.2 

There is still debate around exactly how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. At this point, researchers think that CBD doesn’t bind to either CB1 or CB2 receptors.2 Rather, some believe it might bind to another receptor that has not yet been identified.2 Another theory is that CBD slows the process of enzymes breaking down endocannabinoids, giving the endocannabinoids more time to work.2  What we do know is that CBD plays a supportive role in helping the ECS do its job bringing your body into homeostasis.2 And unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you feel “high” and typically has no negative effects.2

In conclusion, though there is much more to learn about the ECS itself as well as the relationship between CBD and the ECS, research shows that the ECS plays an important role in helping our bodies function. To enable your ECS to do its job, it’s important to have a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.

In addition, millions of people are experiencing the benefits CBD provides as it works with our endocannabinoid system to help our bodies find homeostasis.

For many of us, achieving a state of wellness is not easy. Our lives–and our world–are complex and stressful. It can feel very daunting to try to create healthier cycles of quality rest, nutrient-rich eating, adequate exercise, and more, especially if we work demanding jobs, are raising a family, or dealing with other chronic health issues or constant stressors (COVID or financial insecurity, anyone?). CBD can help you move toward a path of wellness by supporting your endocannabinoid system to help modulate and regulate many of your body’s vital systems.

At Gabriel’s Garden, we’re committed to providing our friends, family, community and customers access to the highest quality CBD at an affordable price. If you’re ready to give CBD a try, check out our Full Spectrum Oils and other CBD products. We’re excited to offer you Full Spectrum CBD products that are responsibly grown, lovingly hand-crafted, and ready to support you on your journey to wellness! 

Feel free to contact us at cultivatingbotanicaldreams@gmail.com or 970-822-3083 with any questions or concerns. Learn more about our vision for a regenerative future.

Sources:

1. Morell, S.F. (2017). Nourishing Fats: Why We Need Animal Fats for Health and Happiness. Grand Central Life & Style.

2. Raypole, C. (2017, May 17). A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system

3. Zou, S and Kumar, U. (2018, March 13). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/

4.  3Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, May 21). 7 Nutrient Deficiencies That Are Incredibly Common. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-common-nutrient-deficiencies

5. (2016, April 20) Slide Show: How Your Brain Works. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/brain/sls-20077047?sl=?&slide=6

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