To understand the health benefits of CBD, it is essential to have a fundamental understanding of your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a vast biological system that regulates fundamental processes in the human body, as well as all other mammal’s bodies. First, we will take a look at the basics of the endocannabinoid system and its functions and then the ways that CBD interacts within the ECS to provide a multitude of benefits.
The Human Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is a vast and complex physiological network that extends throughout the body to provide and maintain overall health and well-being. Scientific studies of the ECS have described it as a link or a bridge between the mind and body.
The endocannabinoid system is found in the brain, organs, muscles, tissues, immune system, skeletal system and gastrointestinal tract as well as other biological structures.
This vast endocannabinoid signaling system regulates a broad range of functions and process that include, sleep, mood, metabolism, appetite, pain response, immune response and more. The over arching goal of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis (balance/equilibrium) by signaling environmental or internal changes or attacks to initiate a response.
The Three Main Components Of The Endocannabinoid System
The main components of the ECS are:
- Endocannabinoids: lipid-based neurotransmitters naturally produced by the body. They are chemicals that transmit signals through the brain by binding to specialized cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body.
- Cannabinoid receptors: found embedded in cell membranes throughout the body. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors to signal the ECS to take a particular action for various functions needed to maintain optimum functional stability and balance.
- Enzymes of the ECS break down the endocannabinoids once they have completed their specific function.
The Benefits of CBD And The Interaction With The Endocannabinoid System
CBD is a phytocannabinoid, a plant based cannabinoid. There is ongoing CBD research that demonstrates the modulation of the ECS by phytocannabinoids. So far, there is strong indication that both CBD, THC, and perhaps other cannabinoids, interact and target the receptors in both direct and indirect ways similar to the body’s natural endocannabinoids.
Simply put, CBD, in a way, mimics endocannabinoids. What this means is, CBD interacts with the receptors of the ECS that signal various responses and supports regulation of functions like mood, sleep, pain response, immune response and more. This is the key to understanding the ways that CBD products may support targeted and overall areas of physical and mental health.
Perhaps, in the same way that the endocannabinoid system is implied to be a ‘bridge’ between the mind and body: phytocannabinoids may prove to be a ‘bridge’ between the hemp plant and human health and wellness.
The benefits of the various compounds in the hemp plant are not limited to CBD. Full-Spectrum hemp products that include a whole plant profile that includes cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, may provide currently undiscovered benefits and support for physical and mental health.
One thing is certain, modern scientific research on the benefits of hemp plant compounds is relatively recent and is still in the stage of discovery. However, ancient man, throughout cultures, has used the hemp variety cannabis sativa plant as an important part of herbal medicine for the treatment of various conditions. As they say, ‘there is nothing new under the sun’.