We’ve recently discussed the role of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) within our body and very briefly touched upon how it affects the various systems and functions within. Today we will provide a synopsis,  according to CBD Oil Review, which will help explain how CBD affects the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

Recent studies have shown that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) reacts to both the natural cannabinoids produced within the body, as well as external cannabinoids introduced into the body, like the phytocannabinoid cannabidiol, or more commonly referred to as CBD. Studies have claimed that the introduction of CBD to the body can aid with a myriad of ailments and illnesses, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Psoriasis
  • Substance Abuse/Withdrawal

According to recent studies, CBD has the potential to increase the amount of anandamide in the body, also known as the “bliss molecule.” Anandamide plays a role in the neural generation of pleasure and motivation. Additionally, CBD interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body. CBD does not directly bind to these receptors, rather it influences them indirectly to control important functions throughout the body.

The Cannabinoid Receptor Type 1 (CB1) and CB2 Receptors perform different functions in the body. For instance, CB1 receptors are more involved with the brain (especially the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala), central nervous system (CNS), intestines, connective tissues, gonads, and various other glands. When activated, CB1 receptors can influence:

  • Decrease intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome)
  • Increase BDNF levels
  • Increase PPARy expression
  • Increase myelin formation
  • Lower anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower intestinal inflammation
  • Lower prolactin
  • Reduce GPR55 signaling
  • Reduce fear and paranoia
  • Relieve depression

Even though the list of benefits are great, there is also a list of risks as well. Chronic consumption of CB1 receptor binders like THC can cause side effects such as:

  • Constipation
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Increased food intake
  • Increased liver fat
  • Less burning of fat for energy
  • Lowered thyroid hormones
  • Reduced ability of the circadian timekeeper (SCN)

CB2 receptors mostly occur commonly in the spleen, tonsils, thymus, and immune cells such as mast cells, monocytes, macrophages, B and T cells, and microglia. CB2 exists in the brain too, but only a small fraction in comparison to CB1.

Studies have shown that changes in CB2 receptor function are linked with various human diseases—cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, and autoimmune are but a few. CB2 receptors also influence functionality of the liver and kidney, bone and skin health and even pain-related illnesses.

When activated, the CB2 receptor induces macrophages to destroy the beta-amyloid protein, the main component of the plaque found in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Earlier, we mentioned that the human body does produce cannabinoids. These are known endogenous cannabinoids, neurotransmitters produced within our bodies that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain, immune system, and elsewhere. Examples include anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), n-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA), and virodhamine (OAE).

Endocannabinoids perform differently to the more well-known neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. They are key components of cellular membranes that we manufacture on demand. Since endocannabinoids are hydrophobic, they cannot travel very far in the body and so their effects are localized. However, they can travel in the opposite direction to other neurotransmitters. They first leave the postsynaptic cell and end at the presynaptic cell where there are high concentrations of axons, the nerve fibers responsible for the release of traditional neurotransmitters. This allows the postsynaptic cell to control the flow of neurotransmitters from the presynaptic cell.

Even though CBD can’t directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors directly like THC, there are many therapeutic benefits through indirect actions, such as activating TRPV1 receptors. The TRPV1 receptors work to control important functions like pain perception, body temperature, and inflammation. CBD also works to inhibit Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH), thereby creating higher levels of endocannabinoids like anandamide, known as the bliss molecule. Anandamide plays a role in the neural generation of pleasure and motivation as well as performing other important functions like regulating feeding behaviors and assisting with embryo implantation during the early stages of pregnancy.

Due to the many positive health benefits CBD has on the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), studies suggest that it may be useful in treating a multitude of medical conditions. However, since CBD has the ability to negate the effects of THC, there is a possibility that administering the two together could be more beneficial than using THC alone. Scientists, researchers and Plantium International are dedicated to discovering the possible uses of CBD for healing purposes.