Did you know that your body has an entire system dedicated to regulating its own health? It's called the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS for short. And recent studies suggest that CBD – a natural compound found in cannabis – may play a role in healthy ECS function. Interested in learning more? Keep reading!
Basics of the ECS | Finding Balance
Endocannabinoid System 101 – Are you curious to know why CBD may keep you healthy? Easy Day Hemp is here to clue you in. Do you remember the 11 systems in your body?
Nervous, Immune & Lymphatic, Circulatory, Respiratory, Gastrointestinal, Endocrine, Excretory, Musculoskeletal, Skeletal, Integumentary, Reproductive, and #12; Endocannabinoid (ECS) What’s that 12th system??? What is an endocannabinoid? Why does it matter? When it comes to conditioning, you need fine-tuning to be more capable to do great things. The endocannabinoid system as our 12th system, affects all of the others. It’s that important.
Imagine your nervous system humming along, and all of a sudden you lose your train of thought, experience a slight tremor in your hand, or get a headache. GABA, glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin all must be in constant balance. Glitches in circuitry is what the endocannabinoid system takes care of by providing the ‘assist’ your brain needs to level out your flow of thought and conversation, lessen a tremor, and reduce headaches.
We all have moments where control gets away from us. CBD can help maintain homeostasis.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the balancing system of your biochemistry. Homeostasis means balance internally when conditions change externally, and all physiology depends on it. ECS adjustments influence your perception of pain, appetite & GI function, mood, memory, sleep, seizure threshold, and response to stress. The other 11 systems have direct roles to play, but the ECS buffering fine tunes the signals between cells and synapses to ensure proper communication. Imagine a line of sending and receiving neurons.
One-way messages are the norm and usually work fine, but sometimes due to injury, infection, or trauma, the signals become excessive and the receiving neuron needs to tell the sender to adjust the flow. The ECS produces the protein messages that float backwards from the receiver to the sender adjusting levels up or down…whatever will bring it back into balance, or homeostasis.
CBD is a natural Neuroprotectant
That’s the specialty of the endocannabinoid system, and these adjustments occur in microseconds all over your body wherever communication breaks down. It’s just biology. Adjusting communication between synapses, the ECS regulates the nervous and immune systems, tumor surveillance, bone strength, blood pressure, adrenals and hormones.
This system was named the “endocannabinoid system” because it interacts with compounds (cannabinoids) from the cannabis plant called THC & CBD. Israeli researchers discovered the ECS by tracing THC and posed the fascinating idea that we are ‘hard wired’ for this plant. Because of cannabis prohibition in America, we still don’t learn about this system. Now that hemp CBD is legal, people ought to learn about the value of enhancing this system.
3 Components of ECSThere are 3 components to this system and it works in a “lock & key” fashion;
- Endocannabinoids (Keys)= the protein compounds that your own body makes are called Anandamide (AEA), & 2-AG. Just like you make endorphins to manage pain, you make cannabinoids to ‘assist’ other neurotransmitters. Endocannabinoids are created ‘on demand’ to direct traffic and restore order in response to stress. AEA & 2-AG travel backwards, or retrograde, to correct imbalances between cells and synapses.
- Receptors (Locks) = The ECS messages (keys) need a docking station, and those receptors are named CB1 & CB2. Activating the receptors control functions and restore balance at the cellular level. CB1 & CB2 receptors are numerous in the body, which is why the ECS is so important and affects balance in so many ways. Exercise, clean diets, omega 3, hemp, and acupuncture help us add these internal receptors.
- Enzymes = (FAAH & MAGL) After they’re spent, endocannabinoids need to be broken down. Enzymes take care of the digestion and excretion of used up messages.
So what happens when these ‘checks and balances’ don’t work? Your moods sway, energy and sleep suffer, bones and muscles ache, appetite and digestion go awry, and you have to adjust your life just to cope. Isn’t that what happens to people who don’t take care of themselves? You’re doing all you can to prevent and slow down the aging process. Can you do more to ensure your health and preserve your vitality? Yes you can.
It turns out that the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (THC & CBD) ‘mimic’ the ones your body makes…so if you’re in short supply of anandamide, you can boost your own fine-tuning ability by supplementing with this plant. Phytocannabinoids (cannabis plant molecules) become the ‘keys’ needed to bind with your receptors and correct imbalanced signals between your cells and nerves. You can get a new set of keys to substitute the ones you lost.
Hemp contains approximately 113 cannabinoids that can help the ECS
THC binds with CB1 & CB2 receptors all over your body. This alters functioning like thinking, memory, appetite, mood, sleep, energy, temperature, and immune controls.
CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 but ‘assists’ other receptors throughout the body cleaning up inflammation. CBD is a powerful antioxidant and scrubs out free radicals protecting your DNA and overall health. CBD is a neuroprotectant, preventing the nervous system from breaking down, repairing it when it is injured, and helping regenerate new nerve cells. CBD activates serotonin pathways, keeping you naturally upbeat, calm, and ready for your day.
CEO Jason Higgins during Hell-week in BUD/s training. Could CBD assist training & active duty personnel. YES.
How Stress Contributes
When you’re stressed and over scheduled, not eating right, not exercising enough, and not getting enough sleep, you get endocannabinoid deficient. Aging, genetics, trauma, infections, and viruses also cause a loss of ability to regulate the endocannabinoid system. Supplementation is a natural response for any deficiency, and CBD is no different. While THC is complicated and not well tolerated because of psychoactive properties, CBD does not cause an intoxicating high. Many people supplement with CBD as a matter of prevention, ensuring that this master regulatory system is richly supplied. People who take CBD like the way they feel – it’s like they’re running on all cylinders and functioning at optimal levels. Those that have serious deficiencies see issues resolve that they never imagined could improve.
The cannabis plant has been a supplement to humans for thousands of years. Until cannabis prohibition in 1937, Americans had access to extracts for migraines, pain, sleep, and inflammation. When hemp was banned, agriculture no longer grazed cows on it, and some say by 1939 there was an uptick in neurological and autoimmune issues. California was the first state to bring access back to cannabis medicine in 1996, and now 33 states have legal medical use of cannabis. Hemp based CBD products may be sold as a nutritional supplement in all 50 states, and the federal government allowed full access to grow and process industrial hemp CBD through the 2018 Farm Bill.
Upcoming reports from Easy Day Hemp will focus on CBD VS THC, hemp VS cannabis CBD, different types and names of CBD products, how to talk to your doctor about adding this to your regime, and the many ways you can supplement with CBD. This article woke up your receptors to the endocannabinoid system, giving you a better idea of how cannabis works to better balance your body. Cheers to your health from all of us at Easy Day Hemp!
Elisabeth Mack RN, MBA CEOEasy Day Medical Contributor
Elisabeth is a CE education provider for the Board of Registered Nursing developing a cannabis medicine curriculum to train clinicians, and to teach patients how to approach cannabis in small groups emphasizing holistic and functional medic