Understanding the Endocannabinoid System
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?The endocannabinoid system is a system of receptors within the human body that was first discovered in the 1990s when scientists first began to examine the potential positive effects of marijuana and its components. Since then, experts have partially mapped the endocannabinoid system and have figured out some of its functions. Researchers are working to figure out all of the various possible applications for the endocannabinoid system and are trying to gain more information about it. Because this system has only been discovered recently, it will take some time before the effects of the endocannabinoid system are fully understood.
Why Did It Take So Long to Discover the Endocannabinoid System?The endocannabinoid system was discovered only a few decades ago and is only beginning to be taught in schools. So, what took so long? There are several potential reasons. The first reason is that marijuana had a reputation during the 1800s as being a ‘bad drug.’ While marijuana had been used as an herbal remedy worldwide for centuries, marijuana and the hemp plant both gained a negative reputation when they began to compete with cotton. It was said that marijuana was only smoked by people who were lazy and criminals. This led to several local and federal marijuana restrictions until it was officially classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA in the 1970s. Another potential reason for the recent discovery of the endocannabinoid system is that, while we know a lot about the human body, there is always more to learn.
What Does the Endocannabinoid System Control?While scientists are still exploring the endocannabinoid system, a few of its functions have been identified. When stimulated or suppressed, the endocannabinoid receptors play a role in mood, memory, appetite, and even sleep.
What Are the Components of the Endocannabinoid System?The endocannabinoid system comprises three main parts: the receptors, the enzymes, and the endocannabinoids. The receptors are located in different areas throughout our body and serve as a binding site for the endocannabinoids. Thus far, two significant receptors have been identified- CB1 and CB2. While CB1 primarily acts on the nervous system, controlling coordination, appetite, mood, memory, and other functions, CB2 receptors act on the peripheral nervous system, which influences the sensation of pain and inflammation. The enzymes serve to break down cannabinoids to help ensure that they can interact with the receptors. Meanwhile, endocannabinoids are natural substances found in the body that are part of homeostasis, meaning that they keep the body running well and efficiently. For instance, the endocannabinoids NADA and 2-AG help in regulating various physiological functions of the body. It’s worth noting that the body makes these chemicals regardless of whether or not one ingests CBD or marijuana.
What Happens When There Is Not Enough Endocannabinoids?Lack of endocannabinoids has been linked to various conditions, including chronic pain, psoriasis, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s, chronic anxiety, depression, and even PTSD. A natural deficiency of endocannabinoids has been named Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CECD). The discovery of CECD has opened up new potential for treatments for these disorders and other conditions that are currently being researched.
What is CBD?CBD is one of the two major components that has been isolated from marijuana, while THC is the other. While THC has been found to cause the “high’ effect that is often associated with marijuana use, CBD has been found to activate the endocannabinoid system because it is similar to the endocannabinoids naturally produced within the body.
What Are the Benefits of CBD?Because CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system, it can have several potential positive implications. Research is ongoing about CBD’s applications for pain, anxiety, depression, and other disorders. If you are considering CBD for a health condition, we encourage you to speak to your doctor first to ensure that CBD is a safe option in your specific case because, like other natural substances, it can interact with medications.
Is CBD Legal Everywhere?Unfortunately, due to the longstanding bias against marijuana, some states have anti-CBD and anti-marijuana laws on the books. Likewise, CBD is also technically illegal on a federal level because there is no CBD product that is currently FDA approved for use. Before you explore CBD and marijuana use, you should ensure that it is a legal option in your state.
Where Can One Get CBD?There are several places that one can get CBD, including online. Whether you’re shopping in-store or online, it is important to ensure that you are shopping from a reliable source like Pure Relief to ensure that your CBD is sourced safely and ethically. However, keep in mind that if CBD is restricted in your state, online retailers will likely want you to present a medical card and ID. Likewise, if CBD is illegal in your state, online retailers may not be able to ship CBD to you at all.
The Future of the Endocannabinoid System and CBDScientists continue to explore the endocannabinoids system and, with that, continue to gain proof of the potential benefits of CBD. Meanwhile, pro-CBD and pro-marijuana groups continue to work towards the legalization of both CBD and marijuana. With time, CBD may become a treatment option for various health conditions.
- The endocannabinoid system is a system that exists within our bodies that was discovered in the 1970s.
- The system is composed of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids.
- Endocannabinoids can bind receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems regulating sleep, mood, and other things.
- Lack of endocannabinoids or CECD is linked to several disorders, including PTSD and depression.
- Endocannabinoids are produced naturally in the body but can also be found in CBD.
- CBD is a non-psychoactive component of marijuana.