How the Endocannabinoid System Works & Why It’s Important for Every Woman

Whether you’re a newbie to CBD or not, you may have heard the term Endocannabinoid System (ECS) thrown around. And if you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry, you’re about to find out exactly why it may be one of the most important things you’ve learned today — or maybe all year.

Each and every human being has an Endocannabinoid System.

It wasn’t until the early 1990s that researchers discovered the ECS. They were trying to understand THC (the psychoactive part of the cannabis plant that makes you feel a mental and physical “high”) better and accidentally stumbled upon it. The discovery was so profound that everyone involved with the project wondered how it was that the medical and scientific communities never knew it existed.

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Enquiring minds wanted to know — so researchers dug deeper and realized the ECS is POWERFUL and plays a vital role in regulating numerous bodily functions:

  • Sleep
  • Mood 
  • Appetite 
  • Memory
  • Reproduction and fertility
  • Cardiovascular health 
  • Skin health
  • Memory 
  • Motor control
  • Liver function
  • Stress management
  • And more…

How Your Endocannabinoid System Works

There are three components to your ECS including endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. 

Beginning with endocannabinoids, they are molecules that are produced by your body and are similar in nature to cannabinoids. 

Researchers have a long way to go before they fully understand the ECS, but they have identified two endocannabinoids thus far:

  • 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
  • anandamide (AEA)

They help keep bodily functions running and rhythms moving smoothly when they are plentiful. However, if the endocannabinoid system gets out of whack, some researchers have concluded that your health can take a major dip.

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The second component of your ECS is Endocannabinoid Receptors. They are strategically located all over your body. They are triggered by endocannabinoids that bind to them and signal that an action needs to occur.

You have two main endocannabinoid receptors:

  1. CB1 receptors – found in your central nervous system.
  2. CB2 receptors – found within your peripheral nervous system, with a large concentration in your immune cells. 

Endocannabinoids bind to either your CB1 or CB2 receptors, and this is where the magic begins. 

When endocannabinoids attach to CB1 receptors, they may be prone to relieve pain, while the CB2 receptors may help guide your immune cells signal that you’re experiencing inflammation and other signs associated with a compromised immune system.

The third aspect of your ECS has to do with Enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they’ve made an impact on your body.

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Where Does CBD Fit Into the Scheme of Things?

The cannabis plant contains at least 113 cannabinoids, and CBD is one of them. CBD stands for cannabidiol. Unlike THC (the well-known cannabinoid that makes you feel a psychoactive high), CBD doesn’t make you “high” or cause any known negative effects.

Researchers are hard at work trying to find out exactly how CBD interacts with your ECS, but they do know that it binds very differently to your CB1 and CB2 receptors than THC does.

Preliminary theories are that CBD works to prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down, allowing them to have a greater effect on your mind and body. Some researchers even believe that CBD binds to a receptor that is just waiting to be discovered. 

Can Your Endocannabinoid System Have a Deficiency? 

Scientists are working hard on understanding this part of the equation. A growing number of experts believe this is a real problem for many people.

A 2016 article took a deep dive into 10 years of research on the potential of endocannabinoid deficiency in the human body and found that it may play a major role in why some people have fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraines. 

Researchers point to the fact that none of these conditions have been linked to a clear underlying cause. Plus, they often occur at the same time. A theory is that the missing link to treatment surrounds the endocannabinoid system.

Further research is in the works.

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How to Stimulate Your Endocannabinoid System

The use of CBD has been proven to stimulate the endocannabinoid system by enhancing the CB1 receptors of the brain and increasing the levels of endocannabinoid 2-AG by preventing it from breaking down. 

You may want to consider adding CBD tinctures, CBD isolate capsules, CBD gummies, topicals, or skincare products into your daily routine. 

In addition to CBD supplementation, you can also stimulate your endocannabinoid system with a mix of extra virgin olive oil, one cup of coffee per day, foods rich in flavonoids (dark chocolate, red wine, nuts, seeds, and more), broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, green tea, probiotics, exposure to cold, regular massage, and stress reduction tactics. 

How Can Blush Help Feed Your Endocannabinoid System?

At Blush, we have to admit we’re a bit obsessed with your ECS. This is why we’re hard at work developing all-natural products that have the power to keep you thriving. 

Want to learn more about the ECS? Or have questions

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CBD for PMS and Period Cramps

No woman on planet earth deserves the frustrations and pains associated with PMS and period cramps. Yet, each month an estimated 90 percent of us experience PMS and 80 percent of suffer from period cramps. Between 5 and 10 percent get cramps so badly it completely disrupts our lives.

It all begins during ovulation, when the ovary releases an egg into your uterus. This process can be painful due to extra fluid released and the egg bursting out of the follicle.

A few days later there’s a hormone shift that sees a significant drop in estrogen and progesterone. During this period, the PMS blues can set in –  then, seven to 14 days later your uterus lining begins to shed. This is when things can become frustratingly painful for the large majority of women.

PMS SYMPTOMS DEFINED 

PMS is a mix of physical and emotional symptoms that begin right after ovulation and prior to the start of your period. Following ovulation your estrogen and progesterone levels start dropping.

 

When this happens, you may experience:

  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Cramping
  • Headaches and backaches
  • Clumsiness
  • Lower tolerance for loud noises and bright lights
  • Irritability
  • Exhaustion
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Food cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Low sex drive
  • Depression

 

The severity of PMS varies from person to person, which has inspired researchers to understand why. Could it be that there is something the medical community has missed for decades? Is it possible that a bunch of scientists researching cannabis and THC back in the 90s stumbled on something more profound than they ever imagined?

The answer seems to be yes… they discovered the Endocannabinoid system, which is one of the hottest topics in health science today.

 

COULD YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS) PLAY A ROLE IN YOUR PMS AND PERIOD CRAMPS?

Your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a relatively newly discovered system of endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that tell your body how to function, regulate itself, and function. We all have an ECS, but some of us have more active systems than others.

Reachers have wanted to find out why, so they’ve been in a race against time to figure out how it all works.

In 2016, researchers published a study in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine that said, “The female reproductive system and ECS are intricately linked,” and wildly enough, the highest concentration of endocannabinoid anandamide (one of the two endocannabinoids that have been discovered in the body so far) can be found in the uterus.

So, in theory, if our endocannabinoid systems aren’t performing well, we are more likely to suffer from PMS, painful period cramps, and other potentially debilitating mental and physical challenges related to our hormones.

There have even been initial studies pointing to the ECS being linked to premature menopause, and possibly cancers related to similar issues.

 

CAN CBD HELP PMS AND PERIOD CRAMPS?

Researchers have already discovered that CBD interacts your ECS in a beautiful way.

When you ingest CBD or use it as a topical your CB1 receptors are stimulated. This increases levels of endocannabinoid 2-AG (a naturally occuring endocannabinoid in your body) and keeps it from breaking down. This boost appears to promote hormone balance, reduced inflammation, and reduced anxiety.

If you’re looking for CBD to make a noticed difference in your daily life, you may consider supplementing your diet. There are many methods for taking CBD by mouth including via tincture, CBD capsule, chocolates, and gummies. They come in a variety of types and strengths, which you’ll need to evaluate based on your weight and sensitivity levels.

If you’d rather just use CBD during PMS and your period, you can also benefit from edibles and capsules, which will help target painful cramps and bring on a greater sense of ease. For targeted pain, CBD topicals can make a relatively quick difference. Rub them on your abdomen and lower back as needed.

Most CBD topicals include other helpful essential oils and elements like arnica to target pain. When combined with targeted essential oils and other inflammation properties, the effectiveness of CBD is magnified.

And then you can’t forget CBD bath bombs. If you’re seeking complete relaxation and pain control, jumping into a hot steaming bath with a delicious CBD bath bomb can lead to an immediate shift from pain and discomfort to bliss.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE, PMS AND YOUR PERIOD

Let’s face it, women are pulled in numerous directions on a daily basis. If we’re going to thrive, we’ve got to seek constant balance.

It’s about getting the right nutrients, getting enough sleep, moving our bodies regularly, and taking time throughout our days to destress.

A healthy Endocannabinoid System requires that we care for ourselves and think deeply about what we’re putting into our bodies.

Yes, it’s true, sometimes life moves forward at a pace that we can’t keep up with, and we can find all the excuses in the world for not taking care of ourselves.

But…

We’ve got to remember what emerging research has to say about being overstressed. Our reproductive systems and hormone levels are directly impacted. The more you can do to boost your ECS, the more likely your PMS symptoms and period cramps will improve over time.

 

HOW BLUSH WELLNESS CAN HELP WITH PMS AND PERIOD CRAMPS 

At Blush wellness, we’ve thought deeply about the challenges that women face. We’ve seen ourselves, our sisters, our friends, and our colleagues struggle with the ups and downs surrounding the reproductive system.

When we began to harness the power of CBD, we looked high and low for REAL and HEALTHY solutions for women. The results of our efforts is an entire line of CBD products for PMS and period cramps including topicals, edibles, bath bombs, and vape oils.

Each product is pure, powerful and targets specific issues like pain, inflammation, anxiety, sleeplessness, and hormone fluctuation.

Want to find out which Blush Wellness CBD products would work best for your PMS and Period issues?