How CBD Works in Your Body
September 11, 2019
In all the debate and controversy about CBD products, consumers are asking many questions: is it safe? How do you take it? Can I get high? How much does it cost? All of these are valid questions, to be sure. But in order to answer those questions, we must answer the ultimate question: How does CBD work in the body? The Endocannabinoid System The understudied ECS supports most of our body systems, such as the reproductive, immune, digestive, gastrointestinal, central and peripheral nervous, and more. This is an exciting time for researchers to discover more answers about the medicinal benefits of CBD. As CBD becomes mainstream, more research into the ECS will move forward. The Endocannabinoid System is nothing new. It is one of the largest neurotransmitter networks in the body. It is made up of receptors in the nervous system and in other parts of the body that interact with cannabinoids, the cannabinoids themselves, and the enzymes that work to break down cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring features in our bodies. The ECS works primarily on physiological processes like pain sensation, mood, appetite, and memory. Cannabinoids are neurotransmitters just like dopamine or serotonin (the feel-good neurotransmitters) that work to bring the anxious or upset brain to a calm state. The entire ECS is working to keep your body in homeostasis – a state of balance. When your body is out of balance, the ECS is activated. ECS can tell you when you’re hungry, activates your sweat glands when you are hot, and so much more. Its entire function is about keeping us in balance so we can perform at our peak. The Receptors Science has determined that there are at least two cannabinoid receptors in our bodies: C1 and C2. C1 receptors work in the brain and spinal cord. C2 receptors are part of the peripheral nervous system that includes many bodily functions, including our digestive systems and immune systems. There are far more C1 than C2 receptors in our bodies, so the majority of cannabinoids are funneled through the central nervous system, our brain and spinal cord. The discovery of receptors in the brain that respond pharmacologically to cannabis—and the subsequent identification of endogenous cannabinoid compounds in our bodies that bind to these receptors—has significantly advanced our understanding of human biology, health, and disease. Cannabidiol produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways. The scientific literature has identified more than 65 molecular targets of CBD. Introduction of CBD For many people, the introduction of CBD is done for health reasons. Science has revealed that the ECS works at the cellular level, stimulating the C1 or C2 receptors. The receptor chosen for stimulation is based on the body system or organ that needs repair. There are genetic anomalies and inherited autoimmune diseases that make the ECS vulnerable, which could be an indicator for using CBD products to boost the ECS. When we introduce additional cannabinoids through CBD products, we are offering the ECS more fuel to work with. When the receptors are activated by the introduction of CBD, they send signals through the nervous system to restore homeostasis to whichever system is in need of repair or that has fallen out of balance. In reality, the ECS is just being supplemented when someone uses CBD and the receptors are stimulated. Science suggests that this process helps fix or eliminate deficiencies in the ECS by plant-based cannabinoids like CBD. When you ingest a dose of CBD oil, it generally binds with the CB2 receptor. But, the ECS weirdly communicates “backward”: this type of cellular communication impedes the immune response, allows for muscle relaxation, lowers inflammation, reduces blood pressure, and calms over-stimulated nerves. Scientists are learning new information about cannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids every year. It is essential to keep up with the latest studies and to update your knowledge to maximize your health care plan. Conclusion Knowing how CBD works in the body is the first step in determining its usefulness to you and your physical condition. While the endocannabinoid system has always been around, science is constantly learning new things about the system, how it functions, and how humans can harness its power to keep a better balance in their health and everyday function.