Our bodies are composed of a complex combination of different systems and components, all working together to help regulate our internal processes and keep us alive. Some systems, like the cardiovascular system, are well known and easy to explain —after all, nearly everyone can point to the location of their heart or understand why we need blood. In comparison, the endocannabinoid system is a recently discovered body system. Many people don’t know much about it, but extensive research is done to better understand its functions. Let’s take a closer look at what the endocannabinoid system is, what it’s believed to do for the body, and how it can be linked to CBD.
What is the Endocannabinoid system:
To put it simply, the endocannabinoid system is a system in your body composed of neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids. The endocannabinoids bind to receptors, most of which are located in the central nervous system (aka, the brain) and peripheral nervous system (aka, the nerves stretching all throughout your body). First identified in the 1990s by researchers examining the effects of THC on the body, the endocannabinoid system is complex and not yet fully understood.
Currently, there are two transmitters identified: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). These compounds are active in your body, even if you don’t use cannabis products. Both endocannabinoids help promote the smooth functioning of internal biological processes. These neurotransmitters then move throughout the body and bind with receptors. CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, while CB2 receptors are found mainly in the rest of your body.
More research is currently being done on the specific effects that endocannabinoids have on the body. For now, researchers have found that endocannabinoids can impact appetite, pain, and memory, among other discoveries. Many of their potential functions appear to be related to maintaining homeostasis, or balance of the body.
The Endocannabinoid System and CBD:
Endocannabinoids are things that naturally exist in your body. They’re also similar in structure to CBD. When CBD enters your body systems, it typically does not cause any negative reactions. When it comes to endocannabinoids, it appears that CBD doesn’t bind to the endocannabinoid neurotransmitters. Instead, research suggests that CBD prevents your body’s natural endocannabinoids from breaking down.
Research is consistently being done on the relationship between CBD, endocannabinoids, and your body. So far, the consensus seems clear: while no concrete results are available yet, the interaction between endocannabinoids and CBD seems to be a positive one.
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