Nurturing our endocannabinoid system can keep us happy, healthy and balanced.

CBD or cannabidiol is one of the main cannabinoids naturally present in the cannabis plant. Hemp consists of 1064 active ingredients, among which more than 240 are cannabinoids (new ones are still being discovered), some of which are psychoactive, and the vast majority are non-psychoactive. The most studied cannabinoids are 9-delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is psychoactive and can also be abused, and cannabidiol (CBD), which does NOT cause intoxication and addiction. Cannabinoids have a wide range of effects, among others they can alleviate inflammation, chronic pain, relieve stress, have an anxiolytic effect (reduce anxiety), support the immune system, stimulate bone growth and have a protective effect on the nervous system.

It is interesting that our body is practically created for the action of cannabis. Namely, we have an entire regulatory system with specific receptors on which cannabinoids act. It is called the endocannabinoid system and is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or the balance of practically all systems in the body. By understanding this, we can see why cannabis can help us with so many different things. The endocannabinoid system regulates, among other things:

  • the main nervous functions,
  • mood,
  • stress response,
  • the pain
  • inflammation,
  • metabolism,
  • appetite
  • sleep or circadian rhythm,
  • memory and
  • immune response.

In addition to the fact that the endocannabinoid system regulates the majority of nervous functions, mood, response to stress, metabolism, appetite, circadian rhythm (sleep), it is also activated in the event of various injuries – both physical injuries and emotional shocks. In the case of physical injuries, it regulates pain stimuli and thus informs us where in the body the injury is, thus protecting us from additional injuries to this area; in the case of emotional upheavals, it enables us to forget traumatic experiences – which is crucial for current functioning and survival, and we can then eventually face this experience in peace.
The endocannabinoid system consists of three main components:

  • Endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that are produced in your own body)
  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Enzymes and proteins that build, break down and transport endocannabinoids to receptors

Our body produces its own cannabinoids, which are therefore called endocannabinoids. The two main endocannabinoids in the body are 2-AG and anandamide. 2-AG is the most abundant endocannabinoid in our body and plays an important role in appetite regulation, immune system and pain management. Among other things, a 2017 study showed that 2-AG levels in the body increase significantly during orgasm.

Anandamide has been shown to be involved in elevating mood and reducing depression and anxiety, and has also been linked to these. runner’s high, that is, a state of euphoria and reduced sensitivity to pain after exercise.
Cannabinoids from hemp react with the same receptors as our own endocannabinoids. You can think of the receptor as a lock and the cannabinoids as the key. When a cannabinoid reacts with a receptor, a biochemical signal is triggered in the body that leads to a physiological response (eg, a reduction in pain or anxiety).
Cannabinoid receptors are distributed practically throughout the body and when the balance in one of these systems is disturbed, the endocannabinoid system is activated and endocannabinoids are formed in the body as needed to help us restore balance. Endocannabinoid levels have been shown to rise in response to:

  • stress,
  • the pain
  • anxiety and
  • inflammation
  • and thus enable us to operate even in extraordinary circumstances.

However, if we are exposed to long-term stressful stimuli, our endocannabinoid system can simply become overwhelmed, which can lead to a whole range of health problems. This is where plant cannabinoids can come to our aid.

Cannabinoids from hemp work differently on our endocannabinoid system. CBD mainly works on the endocannabinoid system by blocking the enzymes that break down our own endocannabinoids. Thus, CBD raises the levels of our own endocannabinoids, which can help alleviate a variety of health problems. CBD, on the other hand, has an even more complex mechanism of action, since in addition to affecting the endocannabinoid system, it also affects other systems and receptors, including:

  • it stimulates vanilloid receptors type 1 (TRPV1), which plays a role in sensing and regulating body temperature and nociception (the activity of nerve pathways involved in the transmission of pain stimuli) and in inhibiting epileptogenic activity in the brain. Research shows that by binding to these receptors, CBD reduces epileptic activity in the brain and can consequently reduce the number and frequency of epileptic seizures.
  • stimulates vanilloid receptors type 2 (TRPV2), which plays a role in the body’s response to cancer cells, the immune response, in glucose homeostasis, in the functioning of heart muscle cells, stimulates endogenous adenosine signaling, which according to research has a role in relieving headaches/migraines, establishing a suitable heart rhythm, has an anti-inflammatory effect, promotes hair growth and plays a role in sleep regulation
  • it stimulates the serotonin receptor 5-HT1A, which is located in the brain and plays a role, among other things, in neuromodulation, in the centrally mediated reduction of blood pressure and heart rate, in the relief of anxiety and depression, and in raising dopamine levels in certain brain areas. Research has also shown the role of 5-HT1A in reduced aggressive behavior, increased social skills, reduced impulsivity, reduced food intake, etc…
  • it inhibits GPR55, which has a role in fighting cancer, and according to the latest research (2020), it is also involved in the impact of CBD in epilepsy, it stimulates PPRARgamma and some subtypes of glycine receptors.
    Humans have different basal “endocannabinoid tone,” which refers to the abundance and state of our endocannabinoids and receptors. Diet, lifestyle and genetics all have an impact on our endocannabinoid tone – which is why no two people have exactly the same endocannabinoid system. In addition to having different basal levels of endocannabinoids, we also have enzymes that break down these endocannabinoids to varying degrees. Because of this, each person reacts differently to different application methods and doses. So with cannabis and CBD there is no universal dose, universal protocol and sometimes some experimentation is needed to find out how our endocannabinoid system best responds to cannabis/CBD.