Endocannabinoid System 101

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Understanding how CBD products affect your body comes down to some pretty involved science. It can get as complicated as you want, but it’s not hard for anyone to have a basic understanding of what the endocannabinoid system does and how it interacts with cannabis and its derivatives.

The field of research behind CBD is constantly growing and expanding, and new discoveries about the endocannabinoid system and CBD are made practically every week. At EndoCoast, we want our customers to be engaged with the science behind our products, so we provide all the education that we can. We want to stress the importance of science-backed, lab-tested CBD from people who know their stuff. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to endocannabinoid system 101.

What Exactly is the Endocannabinoid System?

Before delving into how the endocannabinoid system and CBD function together, we need to understand the facts behind CBD, what the endocannabinoid system does, and how it works.

Scientists first discovered the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s when researching how cannabis interacts with the human body on a molecular level. While the researchers had initially set out to find more information on THC, what they actually found was a complex system of endocannabinoids, molecules, and receptors within the body that help maintain homeostasis (or balance) across all the bodily systems—the endocannabinoid system.

Initially, scientists believed that the endocannabinoid system was only found within the central nervous system and the brain; they later discovered, however, that cannabinoid receptors (CB receptors) and the body’s natural cannabinoid-like molecules, endocannabinoids (eCBs), could be found through the entire body including the skin, digestive tract, and reproductive system!

What Does The Endocannabinoid System Do?

While research into the endocannabinoid system’s main function is still ongoing (and growing!), current studies have suggested that the system’s primary job is to maintain balance throughout the body. For a simplified and abbreviated endocannabinoid system 101, the systems and processes that the endocannabinoid system has been proven to influence include:

  • Mood. The endocannabinoid system plays a part in regulating emotional control in the brain’s limbic regions, affecting emotional control and stability.
  • Stress. Also related to the limbic system, the endocannabinoid system has been proven to have regulatory control over stress levels in the brain.
  • Pain. Many studies suggest that cannabinoids, including CBD, can play a role in balancing the body’s natural pain modulation mechanisms.
  • Metabolism and Appetite. The endocannabinoid system adjusts appetite and metabolism according to food availability, and endocannabinoid treatments have been used as treatments for obesity.
  • Immune Function. Endocannabinoids play an important role in maintaining homeostasis throughout the body, including the immune system, which works to keep you from getting sick.
  • Reproductive Function. Endocannabinoid receptors are present in both male and female reproductive systems and have been shown to work in the brain to affect female hormonal cycles.
  • Sleep. A primary role of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain regular sleep cycles, which can, in turn, affect many of the above processes.

A clear skull showing the brain and nerves for a medical display.

How Do the Endocannabinoid System and CBD Work Together?

The endocannabinoid system is packed full of CB receptors that interact and react with the body’s naturally produced cannabinoids. Sometimes, however, our endocannabinoid system needs a little help keeping everything in check. Factors such as stress, diet, insomnia, and environmental pollutants can decrease the amount of eCBs our body produces, essentially weakening what the endocannabinoid system does.

That’s where CBD comes into play. When CBD is ingested, it releases phytocannabinoids (aka plant cannabinoids) that trigger a response from our body’s CB receptors. Unlike THC which suppresses our body’s CB reception, CBD encourages our body to produce more of its own cannabinoids and modifies the way other eCBs can bind to the CB receptors to make this process more effective.

When it comes to endocannabinoid system 101, there are two main types of CB receptors that CBD can activate, and they both have very different functions:

  • Cannabinoid Receptor Type One (CB1) exists predominantly in the brain, but also many other places in the body, including the central nervous system, intestines, tissues, and glands. When cannabinoids react with CB1 receptors, they give signals to the endocannabinoid system that in turn regulate blood pressure, anxiety, inflammation, and more.
  • Cannabinoid Receptor Type Two (CB2) is not found as much in the brain as CB1 is. These receptors mostly occur in the tonsils, spleen, and immune cells. CB2 receptor function plays a big role in modulating the body’s immune system and is related to virtually every type of disease in the human body, from cardiovascular to neurodegenerative.

As we said above, CBD stimulates both of these receptors but does not bind with them. THC, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, does bind with CB1 receptors, which can create unwanted side effects in some people such as impaired motor skills and paranoia.

The science behind endocannabinoid system 101 gets quite involved—we are talking about the body at a molecular level here! The most important takeaway from this is that CBD activates receptors in order to help rebalance your endocannabinoid system. By activating the receptors, CBD puts your body on a path back to homeostasis.

A man throws a container of EndoCoast’s CBD greens into the air.

The Importance Of High-Quality CBD Products

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your CBD product to be lab-tested. If your CBD was derived using harsh solvents, pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals, you might be doing yourself more harm than good and slowing your endocannabinoid system down even further.

At EndoCoast, we believe that the quality of the CBD is key. Our pure CBD products contain all the benefits of full-spectrum CBD, meaning they contain all the cannabinoid and terpene derived content from the hemp plant. These compounds work together in your body in something called the “entourage effect,” which provides the maximum benefit for you and your endocannabinoid system.

If you have questions or comments about our information or our products, we encourage you to contact us or check out our Learning Center to learn more about what the endocannabinoid system does and how CBD can help.