When we think of THC, CBD, or CBG we normally think of the health benefits that we’ve come to know and love. But, how exactly do these health benefits come about? Does CBD magically make you energized and ready to seize the day, like a can of spinach in Popeye?
We’ll be able to answer that question once we know a little more about the ECS. It’s a wonderful system that keeps us happy and healthy, and an imbalance can result in a serious disease!
When we think of CBD we think of phytocannabinoids, and these are cannabinoids that are found in cannabis and hemp. But did you know your body produces cannabinoids too?
These cannabinoids are called endocannabinoids, and they bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors (which I’ll describe below).
So far we’ve discovered anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). These are the two endocannabinoids we know about, but there may be many more we haven’t found yet.
CB1 and CB2 receptors
The endocannabinoids we produce bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors we have in our bodies. This combination will produce different results depending on where the receptor is located.
For example, most CB1 receptors are found in your central nervous system, and most CB2 receptors are found in your peripheral nervous system. If an endocannabinoid attaches to a CB1 receptor in your brain, then it will likely produce CNS-related effects, such as relaxation. If an endocannabinoid attaches to a CB2 receptor, then it will likely produce an autoimmune-related effect, such as healing excess inflammation.
When the endocannabinoid has served its purpose, no matter what its purpose is, it gets broken down by an enzyme. There are two main enzymes: fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down anandamide AEA, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-arachidonoylglyerol 2-AG.
On paper, this system works great! If everything works the way it should then your body stays healthy and you remain happy.
However, the world isn’t always a perfect place. Sometimes things are out of sync, and we’ve discovered one of these “glitches in the matrix” and named it endocannabinoid deficiency (CEDS).
CEDS can lead to a surprising number of diseases such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and migraines. In general, CEDS can leave us irritable, fatigued, and increasingly susceptible to disease.
This is where CBD can help! The phytocannabinoids that are present in these magic bottles help us make up for the deficiency. I must also note that there is such a thing as too much – that is, if you take too much CBD, especially over a short period of time, you can find yourself in “cannabinoid overload” and your symptoms may worsen. Balance is key here :).
Some have gone further in-depth than this, but what’s covered above is really all there is to it, and I want to keep this post short and sweet in the hopes of saving a headache or two :).
The ECS is simple to understand, and now you know how CBD actually works! Isn’t it all simply amazing?
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