Have you ever wondered how cannabis works in your body? Or why so many people are touting the health benefits of CBD? The answer comes down to a biological system that plays an important role in the human body – the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for the psychological and physical effects that makes cannabis such an amazing plant.
What Is a Cannabinoid?
To understand the endocannabinoid system, we have to start by defining the term “cannabinoid.” These are the active compounds in cannabis that play an important role in terms of how cannabis affects our body. While over 80 cannabinoids have been identified, the two that are studied the most are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). These types of cannabinoids are found in plants and are called “phytocannabinoids” because phyto means “plant.”
Just like the cannabis plant, humans have naturally occurring cannabinoids called “endocannabinoids.” Endo is short for endogenous, which means it comes from inside our body.
So, why is this important?
Because humans are designed to interact with both of these cannabinoids through something all mammals have called the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?
The ECS is how our bodies are set up to use cannabinoids through a natural system of cannabinoid receptors. It isn’t an isolated system like the cardiovascular or nervous system, but a set of receptors that are distributed broadly throughout our bodies.
The two types of cannabinoid receptors that have been scientifically verified are called the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are mainly found in regions of the brain while CB2 receptors are present in neurons and immune cells. The receptors receive messages in the form of cannabinoids that bind to them.
These messages are what allow the ECS to regulate a range of functions that affect our health and wellbeing. The ECS sometimes described as the bridge between the mind and the body because it helps coordinate functions like stress response, immune system, nervous system, hormonal system, and each of our organs. It’s the master regulatory system of our biology because it maintains balance (homeostasis).
When we get sick or injured, our bodies send out a flood of endocannabinoids to try to bring us back into homeostasis. The phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant can work the same way, boosting the ability of our ECS to do its job. It’s this influence on our endocannabinoid system that is responsible for the healing and euphoric effects of cannabis that we know and love.
Our ECS can easily get thrown out of balance from things like stress, diet, exercise, and everything modern life hands us. Some believe introducing phytocannabinoids can rebalance your ECS and boost your overall health and wellbeing. If you’re curious about how phytocannabinoids can affect you, self-experimentation with strains is the best way to find out what works to make you feel good.
Ultimately, we each have a different physiognomy and how we react to particular cannabis strains and products will differ. However, there is definitely some interesting science behind cannabis’s amazing effects!
Wondering how cannabis can help you manage your medical cannabis condition? If you have a qualifying condition, stop by to learn more!