No doubt you know CBD stands for cannabidiol, derived from the cannabis plant. But to get a picture of how CBD actually works, and what benefits it really offers...
Meet Your Endocannabinoid System
What is the endocannabinoid system? "Endo" means endogenous, or inside the body. "Cannabinoid" means related to the Cannabissativa plant.
For generations, this system was waiting inside us to be discovered. It wasn't until the late 1980s and early 1990s that scientists did. So, compared to most wellness science, what we're about to say is cutting-edge knowledge.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of a person's internal cannabinoid receptors. It works in synergy with cannabis derivatives from plants—called phytocannabinoids. And that synergy helps to maintain all the body's other systems' healthy functions, keeping them in balance.
In a sense, we're wired to respond to compounds from this famous plant.
Specifically, What Cannabinoid Receptors Are in Our Bodies
We know of two receptors―called, helpfully, the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor. Present in nearly all human tissue, they're the most common receptors in our bodies!
Scientists found CB1 receptors in the late 1980s. They're mostly present where the brain controls learning, coordination, memory...even emotion. This helps us understand why stress and anxiety could be eased with cannabidiol.
A little later, in the early 1990s, researchers identified CB2 in tissues connected with the immune system.
They found that plant cannabinoids and the body's internal cannabinoids signal each other, and it led scientists to begin learning about how CBD affects the endocannabinoid system.
There are particles, made of fatty acids, called anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These attach to the receptors in our ECS. When they engage the receptors, our cells respond.
CBD and the Endocannabinoid System
The immune system deals with toxins. The brain deals with sensory perception, thoughts and emotions. And endocannabinoids help balance and sustain these systems.
How important is this?
Very. A deficiency of cannabinoids can leave us with headaches, frustrations, and health issues.
Over time, our body's parts and systems can begin to break down. Endocannabinoids help to sustain them, so we need to sustain our endocannabinoids.
Enter phytocannabinoids—such as the compounds in CBD oil.
What Do the Experts Say About Endocannabinoids?
You might wonder (and should know!) what doctors are saying about endocannabinoid system, and what scientists are saying.
At UC Riverside's School of Medicine, neuropharmacologist Nick DiPatrizio focuses on research on the gut. There, the endocannabinoid system appears highly active in regulating wellness, and, as Dr. DiPatrizio found overeating. The hope is that this research may lead to a groundbreaking diet solution, helping millions suffering with disease connected with Western dietary habits.
And, as the scientific journal Cerebrum explains, the ECS is one of the most important systems in the body for sustaining human health. The journal observes that "the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind."
How Does CBD Work? It's All About Balance.
When something is out of balance in our bodies, CBD can support our internal systems as they do their best work to turn the trouble around.
- CBD eases anxiety by engaging our brain's response to stressful signals and regulating cortisol.
- CBD eases the swelling that accompanies pains or infections by supporting our inflammation-regulating cells. No wonder there is so much interest in what CBD does.
The science of the endocannabinoid system focuses on the compounds selected for CBD oil. The oil is best absorbed after we eat, stimulating blood flow to the mouth. Swish the oil around your mouth before swallowing, to be sure it finds the capillaries.
Then sit back, relax, and let the CBD oil do what it does best: support your hard-working endocannabinoid system!