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The Endocannabinoid System—Explained

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The Endocannabinoid System—Explained

If you research CBD, eventually you’re bound to come across the phrase endocannabinoid system. Don’t worry, we’re not trying to make you relive your high school anatomy days, but the endocannabinoid system does play an important role —so let’s talk about it. 

What is the endocannabinoid system?

Here’s a fun fact: every mammal has an endocannabinoid system or ECS that exists with the sole purpose of accepting cannabinoids throughout the body. We know this is already getting off on a technical foot but bear with us. Knowledge is power, after all.

Though many people only know cannabinoids through plant (phyto) cannabinoids like CBD or THC—the body makes its own internal (endo) cannabinoids too. Without the ECS, cannabinoids wouldn’t have a way to be absorbed by the body.

The power of three

Our ECS is made of three parts: endocannabinoids (to help keep the body’s internal functions running smoothly), receptors (they bind to endocannabinoids to help “activate” them), and enzymes (which are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids after they are used).

Altogether, these parts make sure both the body and mind are in balance. Can you say ohm? 🧘‍♀️ In more science speak, keeping the body aligned is officially known as homeostasis—and it helps regulate things like appetite, temperature, sleep, stress, inflammation, and mood. 

So how do CBD and the ECS work together?

The ECS is made up of a network of receptors. The two major receptors are the CB1 receptor, which is found mainly in the nervous system, and CB2 receptor, which is found mostly in the immune system. Surprisingly, CBD doesn’t have a major impact on these receptors. Instead, it’s the influence CBD has on smaller receptors that makes it such a hot commodity!

 

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