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The Silver Rain
CBD Guide Chapter 3

SR logo

The Silver Rain
CBD Guide Chapter 3

3

The Endocannabinoid System

You already know about the basics of CBD, and how it differs from THC. Now, it’s time to delve deeper into the science behind cannabinoids.

Do you ever wonder why cannabis products are known to have such successful healing properties? Discussing the reasons that the human body responds so well to cannabis brings us to talking about the endocannabinoid system.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system in the human body with numerous regulatory functions. It effects the central nervous system and a number of other aspects of the body.

Current research suggests that the ECS serves to regulate bodily functions such as:

  • Mood

  • Sleep

  • Appetite

  • Pain

  • Inflammation

  • Stress

  • Memory

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What does the Endocannabinoid Have to do with CBD?

Researching endocannabinoid molecules has led scientists to better understand why and how cannabinoids work when introduced to the body.

The ECS produces naturally occurring molecules within the human body that share striking similarities to cannabinoid molecules. In fact, the word “endocannabinoid” references these similarities. It is short for “endogenous cannabinoid”, where endogenous refers to substances of internal origin. This means that ECS molecules are in fact cannabinoids much like the ones we find in cannabis plants.

Whereas endocannabinoids are found within our own bodies, cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant (including CBD) are classified as phytocannabinoids.

The structural similarities between endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids leads us closer to understanding why our bodies respond so well to CBD.

Cannabinoid Receptors

The ECS also includes a network of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors respond to cannabinoids in order to perform regulatory functions.

 Cannabinoid receptors respond to endocannabinoids that are naturally produced by the body on a regular basis. Someone’s body might produce endocannabinoids when they are in distress, experience an imbalance, or when some other stimulus invokes regulation.

Cannabinoid receptors can also respond to phytocannabinoids when they are introduced to the body. When someone ingests CBD, THC, or any other sort of phytoannabinoid, the incurring reaction that they have is a result of the ECS and its cannabinoid receptors.

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How does CBD Interact With the Body?

Hopefully, learning about the basic aspects of the endocannabinoid system gave you a clearer idea of how CBD interacts with our bodies.

In chapter 1 of our CBD guide, we spoke about some of the main principles that set CBD apart from other phytocannabinoids, including THC. You might remember the one major difference between the two (and a major selling point for CBD): While THC has psychoactive effects, CBD is non-psychoactive.

When introduced to the body, all phytocannabinoids are processed by the ECS. While experts are still unsure on the specifics of how the ECS responds to different phytocannabinoids, it seems clear that CBD interacts uniquely with cannabinoid receptors.

It is possible that CBD binds to cannabinoid receptors differently than THC does. The introduction of CBD into the body might prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down, making these naturally occuring molecules have a greater effect.

Continuing Research on the ECS

When it comes to fully understanding the ECS, there is still a lot more room for scientific research.

Surprisingly, this amazing bodily system was discovered not so long ago. Scientists only found out about the endocannabinoid system in 1992. With less than 30 years of research under our belts about the fascinating science of the ECS, it is likely that we will be finding out more about its inner workings as time continues.

As our knowledge of the endocannabinoid system deepens, we can hope that our understanding of CBD grows as well. In the future, more research might bring us closer to unlocking even more of CBD’s full healing potential!

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