What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex cell signaling system responsible for regulating a variety of physiological process, including Sleep, Mood, Appetite, Memory, Stress, Pain and Reproduction. Basically, the ECS is responsible for monitoring and regulating different process in your body so you can better maintain homeostasis.
Homeostasis is essentially your body’s efforts to keep its internal process balanced regardless of the influences’ of your outside environment.
What does the ECS Do?
The ECS basically helps maintain the body’s normal homeostasis. Hemostasis refers to the stability of a person’s internal environment.
What are the different components of the Endocannabinoid System?
Endocannabinoids are compounds naturally produced and regulated in the body. Endocannabinoids bind to Endocannabinoid Receptors to elicit some sort of physiological response.
Anandamide is an example of an endocannabinoid. When Anandamide is combined with a CB1 receptor, it elicits a calming effect in the body. Later the endocannabinoids are recycled by the bodies natural metabolic enzymes, thus bringing the body back to homeostasis.
ECS receptors are found on the surface of cells, and help monitor and facilitate communication about conditions of the individual cells, as well as cells in the surrounding area.
ECS receptors are found throughout the body and can be separated into two main types; CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are typically found in the Central Nervous System and CB2 receptors are typically found in the Peripheral Nervous System.
The physiological response that is produced from a bind event is dependent on the type of Endocannabinoid, and the location of the receptor to which it binds. If the Endocannabinoid binds to a receptor in the Peripheral Nervous System (CB2) for example, an anti-inflammatory response may be elicited in that area. If the Endocannabinoid binds to a receptor in the Central Nervous System (CB1), that individual may feel his chronic pain subside.
The Metabolic Enzymes (FAAH and MAGL) are responsible for recycling the endocannabinoids after a physiological event has been produced, thus bringing the body back to homeostasis.
How does CBD interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
Cannabinoids are a class of components derived from the Cannabis sativa plant which directly interact with receptors found in the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
Cannabinoids have a similar structure to Endocannabinoids that are produced naturally in the body. This allows them to bind to CB1, and CB2 receptors located throughout our body, thus eliciting a normal physiological response. The effects vary depending on the ratio of cannabinoids ingested and the specific receptors to which they bind.
The euphoric and medicinal effects you experience from cannabinoids like THC and CBD are produced when they interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System.
For example, THC (Marijuana) binds to the CB1 receptors within the ECS, thus eliciting the “High” sensation. The metabolic enzymes that would normally degrade the cannabinoid aren’t as effective on THC then they are on natural endocannabinoids like anandamide, resulting in a longer lasting calming effect after THC use.
The way CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain isn’t fully understood.
There is some research that suggests CBD affect how your brain’s chemical receptors respond to the serotonin that’s already in your system. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is a chemical in your body that plays a role in regulating your mood, sleep, digestion, and behavior.
Low serotonin levels are commonly associated with people who have depression, and in some cases low serotonin levels are also associated with those suffering from anxiety.
Research suggests the Serotonin levels can help treat certain ailments like anxiety and depression. A 2014 animal study found that CBD’s effect on these ECS receptors in the brain produced both antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. With the right dosage, CBD can help in curbing anxiety symptoms on top of relieving aches.
Other research illustrates CBD’s process to disrupt ECS’ natural processes. Cannabidiol has shown to block the enzyme, FAAH, which is responsible for breaking down anandamide. This allows for a surplus of anandamide in the body, thus eliciting a longer lasting calming effect for the individual. Basically, CBD has shown to block the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, resulting in endocannabinoids having more effect on the body, which can be beneficial for people who are dealing with anxiety disorders, as well as pain, nausea, and numerous other conditions.