In the emerging field of study into the associated benefits of cannabis and CBD, while there is no conclusive medical evidence, more individuals, realising, ‘nothing will work unless you do’ are turning to alternative therapies rather than following the conventional medical model in the management of pain relief, helping with anxiety and achieving a more balanced state of mental and physical well-being.
In the early 1990s the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was identified by scientists while researching the workings of THC, a well-known phytocannabinoid, found in the cannabis plant, responsible for the euphorigenic properties associated with cannabis. Another major cannabinoid element found in the plant is cannabidiol (CBD), which does not contain the euphoric properties associated with THC, therefore has no negative effects.
“Nothing will work unless you do”…. Maya Angelou
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The ECS resides in the body of all animals except insects. This 600-million-year-old messenger and receptor system is integral to the management of body balance, known as homeostasis. From embryogenesis through immune surveillance, there is not a single function within our body that will not be influenced or controlled by the ECS. The ECS works in and across all physical processes in the body acting and reacting to both internal and external stimuli, directing, correcting and managing overall health and well-being.
While scientists are still fully evaluating the complexity of how the ECS works and all its functions, what we do know is, the ECS plays a significant role in regulating key systems of the body whether you use cannabis or not. These systems include:
The ECS comprises three core components:
- Receptors – CB (1) in the central nervous system and CB (2) in the peripheral nervous system, digestive system and specific cells in the immune system.
- Two key identified endocannabinoids: body made cannabinoids, such as Anandamide (AEA), the bliss molecule, promoting feelings such as euphoria after exercise and 2-AG.
- Enzymes – synthesising enzymes to make endocannabinoid when required and degrading enzymes to them down when used in response to neurotransmitter stimulation.
Although the exact details of how CBD interacts with the ECS is also under debate, research indicates CBD can be helpful on the body’s management and reaction to pain, inflammation, stress, environmental pollutants, ageing, prescription drugs and many other symptoms that present themselves. Importantly, once you start to understand what is going on with your body and in your mind, you can take control of your physical health, mental and emotional well-being.
In essence, endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor, signalling the ECS to take action. The ECS reacts very quickly when required to function. The effect depends on where the receptor is situated and which endocannabinoid it attaches itself to. For example, when the body experiences inflammation, a reaction of autoimmune disorders, endocannabinoids may bind to a CB (2) receptor. Once the endocannabinoids have carried out their functions, degrading enzymes break down the endocannabinoids.
As the ECS facilitates our internal bodily systems to return to its state of homeostasis, our sense of the body being centred and in balance is critical. Science in the present moment of today and the future lies in this important regulatory system. Choose to live in balance, in the words of Maya Angelou “Nothing will work unless you do”.