Balancing Your Endocannabinoid System
What is the Endocannabinoid System? How Can CBD Help With Balancing Your Endocannabinoid System?
If you’re looking into CBD, then you will come across the word “Endocannabinoid System”, and with further reading, you might start to wonder “How can CBD help with balancing your endocannabinoid system?
Let’s dive deeper into the subject: What is it? And why is it important?
The body’s endocannabinoid system is comprised of 2 main components: endocannabinoids and receptors.
Endocannabinoids are lipid-based neurotransmitters produced by the body to help keep internal functions running smoothly. Researchers have so far discovered at least 5 main types of endocannabinoids; anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, 2-Arachidonyl glyceryl ether, N-Arachidonoyl dopamine, and Virodhamine.
- The endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonoylglycerol, binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors with similar affinity, acting as a full agonist at both
- Anandamide binds to the central (CB1) and, to a lesser extent, peripheral (CB2) endocannabinoid receptors, where it acts as a partial agonist.
- An ether-type endocannabinoid, 2-arachidonyl glyceryl ether binds primarily to the CB1 receptor and weakly to the CB2 receptor.
- Discovered in 2000, NADA preferentially binds to the CB1 receptor.
- Virodhamine, or O-arachidonoyl-ethanolamine (OAE), was discovered in 2002. Although it is a full agonist at CB2 and a partial agonist at CB1, it behaves as a CB1 antagonist in vivo.
- Lysophosphatidylinositol is the endogenous ligand to the novel endocannabinoid receptor GPR55, making it a strong contender as the sixth endocannabinoid.
Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors, with the two primary types being CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are generally found in the brain stem and to a lesser extent the central nervous system. CB1 receptors, within the endocannabinoid system, are responsible for coordination, movement, pain, appetite, memory, and mood, to name just a few functions.
CB2 receptors, also within the endocannabinoid system, are found in the body’s immune cells, with the peripheral nervous system directly influencing pain and inflammation.
Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they have done their job, with the 2 main ones being fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol acid lipase.
Why is balancing the Endocannabinoid System Important
Having a balanced and functioning endocannabinoid system is important for a healthy body. The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signalling system that regulates several physiological processes in the body. It works by influencing a number of parts of the brain and body, including the digestive system, reproductive hormones, and eyesight. It helps maintain the body’s balance and sense of homeostasis. If it is not functioning properly, it may lead to various problems.
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of three main components: endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and receptor-ligand interactions. Each of these components plays a different role in the system. In the brain, cannabinoid receptors are located in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Endocannabinoids are lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. The cannabinoid receptors are transmembrane G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).
Endocannabinoids are made by the body. They interact with receptors throughout the body, including the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system. They are responsible for the regulation of various functions within the body, including digestion, stress management, and reproductive hormones. They also work as neurotransmitters in the brain. They can target CB2 receptors in immune cells and are thought to play a role in inflammation. However, researchers have not yet identified all of their functions.
The endocannabinoid system is found in all vertebrate species. Research on the endocannabinoid system has begun in the 1990s when it was discovered that a cannabis chemical was able to stimulate certain areas of the brain and the immune system. It was thought that the endocannabinoid system would be able to help maintain the body’s balance and sense of homeostasis and that cannabinoids could be beneficial in treating and preventing many diseases.
The endocannabinoid system works in conjunction with the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis to regulate various physiological processes. Stress can lead to imbalances in the HPA axis, and a healthy endocannabinoid system can help reduce stress. During stress, the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) in the basolateral amygdala releases fatty acids that bind to the endocannabinoid receptors. This binding process leads to a reduction in N -arachidonoylethanolamine (NACE) concentrations, which is thought to play a role in anxiety. A 2014 study found that high levels of CB2 receptors were present in the tissues of joints, which correlated with the reduction in joint inflammation. In the brain, adenosine helps to regulate sleep patterns. When adenosine levels are low, anxiety and depression are more likely.
There are many ways to promote a healthy endocannabinoid balance. For example, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and taking supplements can help to improve the function of the endocannabinoid. In addition, stress management techniques like meditation, acupuncture, and massage are thought to affect the endocannabinoid in a positive way.
Another way to help the endocannabinoid balance is to detoxify from alcohol. Alcohol can deplete endocannabinoids and cause overactive CB1 receptors. The same is true of medications. Stress can also affect the endocannabinoid, which can lead to depression, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.
How Could CBD Possibly Help with Balancing Your Endocannabinoid System?
CBD, a phytocannabinoid, binds to the receptors of the endocannabinoid system, supplementing the endocannabinoids produced within you. In addition, medical experts believe that CBD inhibits the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase, the primarily responsible for breaking down and recycling endocannabinoids.
If your body is imbalanced and not producing sufficient endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids may be able to step in and help restore balance.
While science is continuously developing, more and more research indicates the importance of a balanced endocannabinoid system.
A healthy lifestyle, excellent foods, exercise, vitamins and laughter, are great ways to help balance your system, and CBD like CBD oil use may contribute to restoring and preventing an imbalance.
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