If you’re a CBD skeptic, you may ask questions along the lines of:

  • How do we trust that CBD will do what everyone claims it will?
  • How could one plant possibly provide such powerful results?

If you have asked these questions or have even refrained from purchasing CBD products because of your doubts, we completely understand. It is always wise to be wary of “cure-alls” and expensive trends.

But, we also have the answers to your questions.

Surprisingly, the answers don’t start with CBD – they begin with the endocannabinoid system.

Before we get into it, let’s go over some cannabis vocabulary used in this post.

Vocabulary:

Endocannabinoid System (ECS): Also known as the “Endogenous Cannabinoid System,” this system’s job is to establish and maintain health and homeostasis. “Endogenous” means produced inside an organism or cell.

Homeostasis: Maintaining balance within a system, despite changes outside of the system. 

Cannabinoid Receptors: Sensors that control where and what a cannabinoid will accomplish within the body. These receptors live throughout the body, typically embedded into cell membranes.

Currently, the two known types of cannabinoid receptors are called CB1 and CB2.

  • CB1 is primarily involved with balancing the nervous system and is found in the brain, the spinal cord, connective tissues, reproductive system, glands, and organs.
  • CB2 helps out the immune system, which protects the body against infection. CB2 are in white blood cells, tonsils, and the spleen. 

Endocannabinoids: The various balancing molecules that our bodies naturally make, which stimulate the cannabinoid receptors and provide many benefits to the body. 

Phytocannabinoids: The plant cannabinoids that stimulate the cannabinoid receptors, like endocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are not limited to cannabis but are found in various plants, like cacao, hops, black pepper, and cinnamon!

Cannabinoids: This is a general term for both endocannabinoids & phytocannabinoids. Inside of a body, both kinds of cannabinoids work together to optimize the quality of life for the user. 

Full-spectrum CBD: Containing all the beneficial phytonutrients and terpenes in the entire cannabis plant, not just CBD. 

What’s so important about the ECS?

People have made claims that the endocannabinoid system is the most crucial in the body. 

But why do they think that? 

The main goal of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis.

The ECS fights to maintain homeostasis in all of the body’s systems. Therefore, it is linked to most processes in the human body, such as: 

  • appetite & digestion 
  • metabolism
  • chronic & acute pain
  • nerve function 
  • inflammation & immune responses
  • mood & behavior 
  • learning & memory
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • reproductive system
  • stress & mental health
  • skin health

It is a significant and challenging task to maintain homeostasis for the whole body. Yet, every animal that walks, swims, crawls, or flies has an ECS. 

This complex system is said to have evolved over 600 million years ago, and human knowledge of it can be traced back to early Chinese medicine in 2000 BC. 

How does the ECS work?

A person who has never ingested cannabis in their life still benefits significantly from the ECS because of their naturally occurring endocannabinoids.

Therefore, whether or not a person ingests or applies a phytocannabinoid-rich product, their ECS is constantly working to maintain homeostasis within their body. 

Depending on the CBD product, phytocannabinoids can enter your bloodstream through your digestive system or respiratory system.

Phytocannabinoids can also be absorbed through the skin to interact with the cannabinoid receptors near the surface of your skin. This is why we suggest using topically for targeted relief on sore muscles. 

Phytocannabinoids can only enter your bloodstream through your skin if you apply them in large quantities. So if you are looking for whole-body relief, maybe a tincture would work better to deliver the cannabinoids further. 

From there, the cannabinoids connect with your trusty cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2, who direct the beneficial phytocannabinoids to where your body requires maintenance. 

Because endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids can move freely throughout the various systems, they must perform multiple tasks that align with the system they maintain. 

Cannabinoids are also excellent at communicating and coordinating between systems, just like a stagehand. 

An excellent example of this occurs during an infection:

Cannabinoids can calm the injured tissue, stabilizing the surrounding nerve cells that would otherwise raise the alarm, and stop the nearby immune cells from releasing inflammatory matter. Pretty cool, right?

Knowledge about the ECS has answered many uncertainties about the importance of connecting our separate systems and has increased our understanding of the whole body tenfold. 

For instance, we now know why stress and anxiety can affect gut health and digestion. 

Why should I use phytocannabinoids if endocannabinoids occur naturally?

Maybe you’re wondering if an individual can boost their ECS by supplementing with cannabis products. 

Or, if it’s even necessary to supplement with CBD to feel results. 

It has been shown that small doses of phytocannabinoids, like CBD and THC can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors.

The more cannabinoid receptors you have, the more it increases both receptor sensitivity and results provided by the cannabinoids. 

This might explain why first-time cannabis users sometimes feel little to no effect after ingesting or applying a cannabis product. It is because they have not yet bulked up their cannabinoid receptors, as a regular user of cannabis products may have. 

What else?

Some people have fewer endocannabinoids than others. This is known as Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD)

It is hypothesized that people with a lower count of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors are more prone to conditions that don’t seem to have an underlying cause, such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS. 

Even if you don’t have a low endocannabinoid count, we know now that it is still in everyone’s best interest to increase their phytocannabinoid intake. 

Luckily, there is an easy way to bulk up your ECS – that is, by incorporating phytocannabinoid-rich products into your routine.

Here are some ways to do that:  

  • Add full-spectrum CBD tincture to your favorite drinks.
  • Incorporating targeted CBD topicals into your skincare routine,
  • Soak in a CBD-infused bath once or twice a week. 

For more (potentially delicious) ways to increase your cannabinoids, follow us on Instagram!

 

Sources: 
Barrie, Nicola, and Nicholas Manolios. “The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease.” European journal of rheumatology vol. 4,3 (2017): 210-218. doi:10.5152/eurjrheum.2017.17025
Bruni, Natascia et al. “Cannabinoid Delivery Systems for Pain and Inflammation Treatment.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 23,10 2478. 27 Sep. 2018, doi:10.3390/molecules23102478
Louis, Betty Wedman-St, ed. Cannabis: A Clinician’s Guide. CRC Press, 2018.
Mandal, Ananya, MD. “https://www.news-medical.net/health/Cannabinoid-Receptors.aspx#:~:text=The%20CB2%20receptors%20are%20mainly,the%20regulation%20of%20cytokine%20release. (2019)
Raypole, Crystal. “Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works” https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system (2019)
Sulak, Dustin. “Introduction to the endocannabinoid system.” Arvutivõrgus kättesaadav: http://norml. org/library/item/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system.(29.04. 2017) (2015).