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.
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:
- Reproduction and fertility
- Cardiovascular health
- Skin health
- 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.
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:
- CB1 receptors – found in your central nervous system.
- 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.
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.
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.
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