The Endocannabinoid System

It has only relatively recently (1990’s) been discovered that humans (and other mammals) possess an endocannabinoid system. This is a system in which the body naturally produces cannabinoid molecules and uses them in a variety of physiological processes. The endocannabinoid system consists of the endocannabinoid molecules (cannabinoid molecules produced by the body), cannabinoid receptors, enzymes that produce (and destroy) the cannabinoid molecules, and the neurons, neural pathways and associated cells.

The endocannabinoid system has been determined to be important in biological processes associated with memory, appetite, metabolism regulation, stress function, immune function, reproduction, sleep regulation, body temperature regulation and autonomic nervous system regulation (such as digestion, urinary activity and reproductive systems). This biological system has been found to be involved in pushing the body toward homeostasis—meaning that it is involved with normalizing functions that are out of balance. An example of this is at the site of an injury, cannabinoids are present and believed to be regulating the release of “sensitizers” from the injured tissue, stabilizing the nerve cells and calming pro-inflammation releasing cells. 

Two types of endocannabinoid receptors have been found—CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor is primarily active in the brain, whereas the CB2 receptor is primarily active in the immune system. THC has been found to bind strongly to the CB1 receptor and cause the psychoactive response felt with marijuana. CBD on the other hand, does not bind to either type of receptor. Instead, it is known to block THC from binding to the CB1 receptor, thus decreasing the “high” from marijuana. The specific action of CBD is not as well understood, but it is believed to enhance the activity of the naturally produced endocannabinoids. Research has shown the ingestion of cannabinoids can signal the body to produce more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. The presence of more receptors in turn increases a person’s sensitivity to cannabinoids and therefore increases one’s endocannabinoid activity.

But while research has shown a synergistic effect when combining THC and CBD, many people don’t want the psychoactive effects of THC or the legal ramifications of that molecule (drug testing at work, for example). The best alternative, we believe, is taking the full-spectrum product from high CBD, ultra-low THC extract derived from hemp.  We believe the small levels of THC (less than .3%) and the other dozen or so cannabinoid molecules present in the full-spectrum extract enhances the activity of the CBD over a CBD isolate.

The presence of the endocannabinoid system and its positive effects on a wide variety of biological processes has helped explain how ingesting this one plant can have so many benefits. That people are trying this product—and getting results—has created a grassroots groundswell that is encouraging scientific research into better understanding the specific biological pathways of its effects.

We are encouraged by this and we look forward to understanding this important system. We want to learn how we can make the effects stronger and make ourselves both feel better and be healthier.   

Be well, friends!