The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been called one of the single most important scientific discoveries of modern time. So why is it so significant? It does so much more than allow our bodies to interact with THC and feel the mind-altering effects of cannabis. As one of the 12 major systems in our body, it is highly involved in maintaining the homeostasis, or balance within the body’s systems as well as physiological functions such as modulating pain and inflammation.
Why Is Homeostasis Important?
Homeostasis refers to the body’s process of maintaining balanced conditions for the cells in our bodies to live and function. This is critical for the proper functioning of our bodies as a whole to keep conditions stable enough for all of our cells to thrive and do their jobs. To better understand the importance of homeostasis, think of it as needing our body systems to stay in the Goldilocks zone. For example, our blood sugar shouldn’t be too low or too high, but just right. The same thing applies to many other conditions within our body such as temperature, blood pressure, and more. The endocannabinoid system does just that!
What Is the Endocannabinoid System Made Of?
There are three main components of the ECS.
These are endogenous lipids (meaning they are contained inside the body) that engage cannabinoid receptors. There are two different types; anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide, often referred to as the “bliss molecule”, and these play an important role in pain, appetite, fertility, and is the source of “Runner’s High.” 2-AG plays a role in reducing inflammation, mood regulation, bone health, cardiovascular health, reproduction, memory, sleep, and pain.
These tiny sensors pick up biological cues and then travel from cell to cell transporting vital messages for activation and deactivation processes in the body through two main types of sensors; CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mostly concentrated within the central nervous system in the brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors are located on immune cells in the skin, peripheral nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract. Other receptors, TRPV1 and TRPA1, also play a role. TRPV1 receptors are primarily concentrated in the blood, bone marrow, tongue, kidney, liver, stomach, and ovaries. TRPA1 receptors are concentrated in the skin, muscle, kidney, stomach, and lungs. Cannabinoids can also activate numerous other receptors as well and more are being discovered with research!
The metabolic enzymes, FAAH and MAGL, are responsible for the synthesis and degradation of endocannabinoids. These enzymes are unique and help distinguish endocannabinoids from other biological molecules because they are synthesized on demand, rather than being stored. CBD increases the body’s natural endocannabinoids by inhibiting the enzymes that break them down which allows them to stay in the body longer.
How Do CBD and the Endocannabinoid System Work Together?
Plant cannabinoids are able to affect the body medicinally because of our endocannabinoid system and the interactions that happen there. Like some other neurotransmitters, cannabinoids such as CBD, interact with many different receptor types. This means that while the CBD is activating certain cannabinoid receptors, it may be interacting with other receptors as well.
CBD has the ability to affect the overall levels of endocannabinoids in the body. This is referred to as endocannabinoid tone. CBD can increase the levels of anandamide by preventing the FAAH enzyme from breaking it down. Inhibiting the FAAH enzyme in this way has been shown to improve anxiety disorders.
When the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids or is unable to regulate them properly, it becomes more susceptible to health issues that can manifest as anxiety, inflammatory diseases, or skin disorders. However, research has shown that CBD can directly activate serotonin receptors that may decrease anxiety.
Nurture Your ECS with High-Quality CBD
Color Up provides CBD products of the highest quality with the intention of cultivating balance, harmony, and ease by empowering our customers with the ability to self-heal. Choose from a variety of products from our Life Line such as Pure CBD Isolate or Daily CBD Oil and CBD Capsules, both available in Full Spectrum or Pure form.
Ready to Learn More About the ECS?
Color Up is committed to educating the community about the endocannabinoid system and how to color up your life using cannabinoids. We do this through in-house educational classes, online workshops, and our Cannabis Master Program. Come grow with us!