Despite the complex name, let’s break it down and explain it as simply as possible. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, has 3 primary components: endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and metabolic enzymes. The 3 components interact with one another within the body’s nervous system to create a balance within bodily functions. This system serves as, for lack of better words, a signaling device that sends notifications to cells all over the body. Although researchers are continuing to learn and understand it, so far, we know that it plays part in regulating things like sleep, appetite, mood, memory, reproduction, and fertility. The ECS is still active in the body even if you don’t use cannabis. Endocannabinoids are molecules that are produced by the body. Your body makes them as needed, and they help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body also produces receptors that the endocannabinoid molecules bind to in order to signal that the ECS needs to do something and the effects can be different depending on where the receptors are located at and which endocannabinoid molecule it connects to.
First, how does THC interact with the ECS? Just like the endocannabinoid molecules, THC binds to receptors in the body. This creates the ability to have a range of effects on your body depending on the receptors they bind to. Given that THC is the “psychoactive” ingredient in cannabis, these effects are going to be somewhat intense depending on the amount and frequency of consumption. Now, how does CBD interact with the ECS? Provided that CBD, a phytocannabinoid, does not bind to receptors like THC does, CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system in an indirect capacity by inhibiting endocannabinoid signaling throughout the body which creates a series of therapeutic effects. CBD works in tandem with an increased amount of anandamide - or the “bliss molecule” - which affects the brain’s systems of motivation and pleasure.
Despite the incredible effects of CBD and its interactions with the body, there are still other ways to help your body produce more endocannabinoids naturally. Some ways include socializing, reducing alcohol consumption, or exercising. Something interesting about the ECS is that it also exists in bodies other than just mammals like reptiles, birds, fish, and possibly even some invertebrates. Exhibiting similar functions, CBD can help provide positive effects for our furry friends at home to help induce pain or anxiety relief and even serve as a topical healer to scratches or rashes.
So, what does this all mean? Well we encourage you to try CBD if you haven’t already, and see how it interacts with your endocannabinoid system to help you achieve homeostasis and total body wellness. Check out our online CBD shop!