What is the Human Endocannabinoid System?

CBD stands for cannabidiol, a completely natural compound that is derived from the cannabis sativa plant. However, endo-cannabinoids are the very same natural compound, but produced internally by our bodies. Historically, plants have always given us an incredible insight into the human physiology. Studying how plants interact with our bodies has allowed the discovery of the body’s native opioid receptors which help regulate pain and stress response (from poppy flowers and opium), our nicotinic receptors which influence neuronal excitement (through the study of tobacco and nicotine) and now our endo-cannabanoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system.

What is the Endo-Cannabanoid System (ECS)?

The ECS is a system of receptors in the human body that interact exclusively with cannabanoids. In 1980, a scientist at St Louis University Medical School was studying cannabinoids and where they ended up in the brain, discovering CB1 receptors, which were later found in the kidneys, lungs and liver as well. A different type of cannabinoid receptor, CB2 was then found in white blood cells, the gut, reproductive tract and the spleen; since the 1980s, it has now been confirmed that CB2 receptors can be found in every major system within the body.

endocannabinoid system

These cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and “listen” to conditions outside the cell, transmitting information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell, which in turn, kick-starts the appropriate response - basically helping the body to maintain its equilibrium, known biologically as homeostasis (the proven hypothesis that biological systems are actively regulated by hormones and molecular systems to maintain ‘just right’ conditions). This physiological system regulation is considered especially crucial to a returning a human’s body to its natural state after it has been disturbed, for example; native cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, increase after injury in order to resolve inflammation and other damage signals. They also increase after strenuous exercise (and are also considered by some scientists to be the science behind ‘runners high’ rather than the more commonly known endorphins, as well as binding with serotonin receptors (boosting the body’s “feel good” molecular system) and stimulating GABA receptors (responsible for calming the nervous system).

In short, CBD is generally considered to return your body to it’s natural, just right state. However, it is produced by the body on demand, not stored or constant - so if you supplement your body with additional CBD through oils and bitters , you may be able to ensure that your body feels it is at it’s ‘just right’ level, all the time.