If you’ve looked into taking CBD for the first time, or are already a regular or occasional user, you will likely have wondered about how CBD works within the body and what exactly the endocannabinoid system is. While the benefits of CBD are frequently discussed, few pause to explain what our endocannabinoid system is and how CBD works with it to give us those great benefits. Today we’re going to clear up the confusion once and for all.
Yes – if you’ve not heard about cannabinoids and how they work naturally within the body, you may think it’s something that cannabis users have made up, but it’s not! It’s a real, scientific system within your body.
Endocannabinoids are compounds produced naturally by the nervous system in mammals, which are responsible for numerous important functions within the body.
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters, like hormones and other more familiar types of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are produced by the nervous system in all mammals in response to various different events inside and outside the body to help regulate the body and keep it healthy.
Neurotransmitters (like endocannabinoids) interact with receptors on cells throughout the body and tell them what to do or change to continue working at their best.
The endocannabinoid system is spread throughout the body and is comprised of two components: receptors (found on cells) and the endocannabinoids themselves (that interact with those receptors). This system regulates a wide range of functions including your sleep patterns, regulating your mood, your metabolism, how fast your immune system responds to threats, how well cells regenerate and live for, and more.
When an endocannabinoid interacts with a receptor it tells the cell how to respond. For example, when a well-known endocannabinoid called anandamide interacts with these receptors in your body, it tells the cells how your serotonin levels should be regulated. If serotonin is ringing a bell, it’s because that’s one of our favorite molecules as it helps boost our mood.
Endocannabinoids like anandamide are produced naturally, so our ability to sleep well, how healthy our immune system is and other factors regulated by these endocannabinoids can fluctuate depending on our overall health.
CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid, which means it is a cannabinoid produced by plants, not mammals.
While these cannabinoids are different from our own endocannabinoids, they have very similar effects when they enter our bloodstream. So, what does this mean for us? This means we have an extra boost of cannabinoids in our system to help regulate all those vital systems, helping regulate our mood, immune system, and sleep cycle, reduce symptoms of stress, manage pain, and much more.