We do not yet have a single answer about precisely how CBD works because it stimulates multiple biochemical pathways and because the emerging science is still so young. But recent science has discovered the primary way that CBD works in the body… through your endocannabinoid system!
Have you ever heard of your endocannabinoid system? Every human has one. In fact, every animal has one!
The endocannabinoid plays a crucial role in the regulation of our mood, physiology, and overall everyday experience. It is a complex network of neurons that has SO many effects in the body.
MY ENDOCANNABI-WHAT? WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF THIS?
You are probably wondering, Ok, if this is SO important, why wasn’t it taught in school and why don’t more people know about this?
For starters, it was just discovered in the 1990’s.
And you are right. This SHOULD be taught in school. Especially now that scientists have done so much research and are learning so much about it! It is definitely an important missing piece to what we learned about our nervous system when we were young.
HOW DOES YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM WORK?
We don’t have a complete picture of how the endocannabinoid system works, but we do know that it helps fine-tune our vital physiological functions. It works with other systems in our body to help regulate important functions, including how a person feels, moves, and reacts to their environment. To put it simply, the endocannabinoid system is the CEO; it makes stuff happen in every part of your body.
The endocannabinoid system is a biological system. It is composed of both cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids. It is expressed throughout your central nervous system (hello, brain!) and your peripheral nervous system (hello, nerves!).
This means that endocannabinoids and their cannabinoid receptors are found throughout your ENTIRE body. In your brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, immune cells. Crazy, right?
The endocannabinoid system performs different tasks in each different kind of tissue, but as we presently know, the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
This is critical!
And this is why the endocannabinoid system has been found to play a role in benefiting so many different people. It brings balance back to the body and promotes good health. Some scientists even believe that a dysfunctional or damaged endocannabinoid system might be at the root of certain conditions that are associated with hypersensitivity to pain or stimulus (for example, migraines and fibromyalgia).
So it is not just any CEO, it is a CEO with fine-tuned work-life balance.
HOW DOES CBD INTERACT WITH YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
An introduction to the endocannabinoid system would not be complete without discussing CBD interaction. The endocannabinoid system explains why natural cannabinoids in hemp and other plants have therapeutic effects.
The system is comprised of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoid receptors are like a lock.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that stimulate cannabinoid receptors. These are the chemical keys to the cannabinoid receptors–they tell your body when to get different processes started and when to stop.
CBD is a cannabinoid!
The body produces some endogenous cannabinoids on its own, but we get most of them through food and supplementation.
There are TONS of different kinds of cannabinoids, CBD is just one.
Again, to put it simply, CBD binds to receptors in the endocannabinoid system and stimulates all kinds of changes in the body. The goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
While there are many kinds of cannabinoids, CBD is so loved because it is a non-psychotropic cannabinoid. CBD does not produce psychoactive or euphoric sensations when absorbed into your body’s endocannabinoid system; it does not make you feel high, instead, it helps you to relax and soften into your mind, not get out of your mind.
Thus, the therapeutic benefits outweigh the side effects. (Which is always an important consideration when considering a supplement of any kind!)
Scientists are still learning so much about the endocannabinoid system and CBD, but there is one thing we know for sure, CBD is a powerhouse plant medicine with insane potential to bring balance to your body, mind, and soul.