How Does CBD Work in the Body's Endocannabinoid System?
In the early 1990s, researchers exploring cannabinoids — which are found in the cannabis plant — discovered that the human body essentially has a built-in system for processing those cannabinoids, which helps the body regulate several important functions. At Level Select, Broad Spectrum CBD is extracted straight from the plant without psychoactive components like THC or other undesirable ingredients found in Full Spectrum CBD.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
At its core, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one that sends signals to help the body regulate a variety of functions such as sleep, appetite, memory, mood, heart health and more. Like the cannabis plant, your body naturally produces a form of cannabinoids. In the case of the ECS, those cannabinoids are called endocannabinoids, which are basically neurotransmitters. To do that transmitting and regulating work, they bind to endocannabinoid receptors, which help them receive signals and send those signals throughout the body.
How Does the ECS Work?
When endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, they’re able to motivate the ECS to take action, whether that action is regulating your sleep patterns or evening out your stress levels. To do the job of sending signals, receptors occur throughout the body, including CB1 receptors in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors largely found in the peripheral nervous system and immune system cells. Once the receptor has delivered the signal — for instance, a CB1 receptor targeting an ache in a spinal nerve – naturally occurring enzymes break down these helpful endocannabinoids.
The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
CBD (or cannabidiol) is the non-psychoactive portion of the plant, so it doesn’t produce those “high” feelings, though research indicates positive effects including antioxidant properties, inflammation reduction, stress relief and beyond. In terms of its interaction with other receptors, the nonprofit Project CBD notes that “CBD directly activates serotonin receptors, causing an anti-anxiety effect, as well.”
Promise and Potential
As interest in CBD rises — with an 118% increase in online search rates in 2019, per the Medical Cannabis Network —so, too, does its promise. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, for example, finds that the ECS routinely performs “crosstalk” with various neurotransmitter systems that can affect areas including appetite, metabolism, inflammation, motor control, cardiovascular function and more.
As a relatively new frontier in central nervous system studies, fresh research on the ECS and its interaction with CBD not only continues to flow, it is trending positively — keep your ear to the ground and an eye on the science.
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Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance writer with more than a decade of experience. In the healthcare field, he’s been fortunate enough to collaborate and publish with companies such as LIVESTRONG, Dermstore, FOCL, Jillian Michaels, Vitagenne, USA Today, SFGate, The Seattle Times and more.
Healthline - A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System
Project CBD - The Endocannabinoid System
The Daily Sentinel - Endocannabinoid System Helps Explain CBD Effectiveness
International Journal of Molecular Sciences - “Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling Function in the Central Nervous System”
Health Europa - CBD: Understanding How CBD Works with Our Bodies