How does CBD Support the Endocannabinoid System?
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is responsible for keeping all of your other bodily systems in balance with one another as you encounter stress throughout your daily life.
When your body encounters a threat, stress chemicals such as cortisol and adrenaline are released to help you stay alert, focused, and protect yourself. Muscles tense up to defend yourself, you breathe harder and faster to pump oxygen through your body, and your heart rate rises. Once the threat has been handled, your body has to rebalance itself.
This is where the endocannabinoid system comes in. Your ECS regulates how quickly neurotransmitters are being released, slowing them down or speeding them up as necessary in order to return to and maintain internal homeostasis after you’ve handled a threat.
The ECS is made up of receptors embedded all over your body, including your brain, all of your organs, connective tissues, immune cells, and more. When these receptors are stimulated by cannabinoids, our bodies can communicate more effectively with themselves.
CBD and your endocannabinoid system
Your body naturally produces its own endocannabinoids (endo meaning inside) to support this system, but just like with any other nutrient, we can sometimes become deficient and need extra support. This is where cannabis comes in. The cannabis plant produces phytocannabinoids (phyto meaning plant) that also interact with your endocannabinoid system.
CBD is a phytocannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant and is currently the only cannabinoid readily accessible in all 50 U.S. states. CBD’s role within the body is just as unique. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD does not bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Instead, it stops the breakdown of our own endocannabinoids, allowing our bodies to use more of what it’s already naturally producing.
How to Safely Use CBD
Just like with any other medication or supplement, it is always best to seek a healthcare professional’s advice before incorporating CBD into your wellness regimen.
That said, many are finding that CBD can present a viable alternative to other pharmaceuticals. In a recent survey of scientific literature, CBD was found to have a better side effect profile than other drugs when treating epilepsy and psychotic disorders, with only minimally reported side effects like tiredness, diarrhea, and changes to weight and appetite. However, CBD can interact with other medications you are already taking. These interactions are not necessarily harmful, but CBD might alter the effects of these other medications and it is important to be aware of what is happening inside your body. Visit Hempsley’s page on CBD Safety to learn more about how to safely use CBD products.