Featured, CBD 101, CBD Research

Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System and CBD

endocannabinoid system and CBD woman practicing yoga on a rock overlooking the ocean

Overview

Most of us have heard a thing or two about CBD and its widespread adoption by users from all walks of life, from Millennials to grandmothers. According to a recent Gallup poll, more than 1 in 7 U.S. adults use CBD products and that number continues to grow daily.

So why all the hype? In this article, we’ll walk you through the basics of what CBD is and isn’t, and take a closer look at how the endocannabinoid system and CBD interact together and promote a variety of functional benefits.

What is CBD?

CBD (short for Cannabidiol), is one of 113+ natural plant compounds, known commonly as phytocannabinoids. As it stands, CBD is the single most abundant phytocannabinoid in hemp and is the one most widely available. Where phytocannabinoids and especially CBD get all the buzz is in their unique ability to interact with corresponding receptors throughout our bodies (more on this later).

With all that being said, we might take a quick moment to describe what CBD is not. For starters, CBD is NOT pot, marijuana, weed, cannabis or put simply, “the stuff that gets you high.”

While CBD is found most abundantly in hemp, it can also be found in marijuana. Not surprisingly, this fact has led to endless confusion with new users. Where CBD products draw the line, is the general absence of another cannabinoid, THC.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the high-inducing, bad-boy cousin of CBD. In short, when you think “weed”, think THC. 

So what’s the interaction that happens in our bodies? That’s where CBD and the endocannabinoid system comes in.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The first point we’ll address is the functional role of the Endocannabinoid System or ECS.

The ECS, which was first discovered in the 1990s, is an intricate cell-signaling system found naturally in all mammals. This system has a series of complex networks throughout our bodies, similar to our nervous or endocrine systems, and plays a key role in regulating a variety of functions, such as sleep, pain, and mood.

The body naturally produces endocannabinoids and has corresponding receptors located throughout our bodies.

The main endocannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2 receptors. Without getting too “science-y”, CB1 receptors operate mostly in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), while CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous systems (internal organs, skin, etc.).

How does the ECS help?

We’ll take a deeper look into the health benefits of CBD and the promising research in future articles. To touch on things briefly here, we’ll take a look at a recent study which ties back to CBD and the endocannabinoid system, and its key function in promoting homeostasis (bodily balance and internal stability).

A 2018 science publication titled: “Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System”, took an in-depth look at the ECS and its role in mediating a range of internal functions. These results showed a positive link to the following:

  • Discomfort
  • Occasional anxiousness
  • Stress
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • And much more

Conclusion:

Hopefully, this has provided an overview of the endocannabinoid system and CBD, and how they function together.

To build off this introduction, we’ve put together a follow-up article which tackles some of the more “nitty-gritty” details concerning the different forms of CBD, recommended serving guidelines, and what “feelings” to expect when using CBD both internally and topically. Whether you are a new or frequent user of CBD, it can be a little overwhelming with the many forms and strengths available. Our best-selling CBD Balance Drops make enjoying the benefits of CBD extremely convenient. They come in lemon and mint flavors, too!

Interested in joining the conversation? Reach out to Opulent Organics today or join our growing community of health-minded individuals on Facebook and Instagram, where we share and engage a variety of topics, all geared towards better living through better health. We’d love to have you!