How does CBD work in your body?

The human body is a complex machine, and the way it interacts with any compound, including Cannabidiol (CBD) can be even more so. We’ve only known about the system in our body that cannabinoids are part of since the 1990’s so there is definitely so much more to learn! Nonetheless, we’ve compiled and broken down some of the basic science we do know below.

What is CBD?

CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of over 100 compounds found in hemp and marijuana. It’s the second most prevalent compound (second only to THC) in cannabis. CBD belongs to a class of molecules called phytocannabinoids and is not intoxicating. This is the part of the plant that keeps you healthy, not high.

CBD is extracted as an oil from cannabis through a number of different extraction processes. CBD oil is then utilized in a variety of different products ranging from capsules to tinctures, edible gummies, and more. All cannabinoids, including CBD, produce effects in the body by attaching to certain receptors belonging to the endocannabinoid system.

How Does CBD Work in the Endocannabinoid System?

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Named after the plant that sparked its discovery, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is fundamental in establishing and maintaining human health.

Versatility of Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids are versatile and widespread molecules, crucial for balancing numerous vital functions in the body.

Ubiquity of ECS in Animals

The ECS is not exclusive to humans but exists in any vertebrate, including fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Discovery and Composition

Discovered in the 1990s, the ECS was identified during research on plant-like molecules produced within the human body. These endogenous cannabinoids include N-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), anandamide, and virodhamine (OAE).

Unique Characteristics of Endocannabinoids

Unlike other neurotransmitters such as serotonin or dopamine, endocannabinoids are produced on demand and are hydrophobic, resulting in localized effects.

Distribution of Cannabinoid Receptors

Initially thought to exist primarily in the brain and nerves, cannabinoid receptors have been found throughout the human body, including the skin.

Role of ECS in Body Balance

The ECS is a vast network of cannabinoid receptors spread throughout the body. It releases cannabinoids that interact with receptors in various tissues, including the heart, digestive, endocrine, immune, nervous, and reproductive systems.

Achieving Balance

The ECS aims to maintain homeostasis, or balance, in the body’s tissues. This balance varies across different areas, with cannabinoids influencing different receptors accordingly.

Boosting the ECS with Phyto-cannabinoids

In addition to endogenous cannabinoids, phyto-cannabinoids like CBD can supplement the ECS, aiding in its regulatory functions.


The Endocannabinoid System plays a multifaceted role in the body’s functioning, influencing a wide array of physiological processes. For a deeper understanding of how CBD interacts with the ECS, explore our foundational article on the subject.

CBD & Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors, embedded in cell membranes throughout the human body, regulate various daily processes such as mood, appetite, memory, and pain sensation. Activation occurs through naturally occurring endocannabinoids and phyto-cannabinoids from hemp and cannabis.

Two major receptors, CB1 and CB2, govern these functions, while researchers actively speculate about the potential discovery of a third cannabinoid receptor.

CB1 receptors: dominate in the brain and central nervous system, with sparser distribution throughout other bodily regions. CB1 receptors deal with thinking, mood, appetite, memories, pain, emotion, movement, coordination, and several other functions. THC attaches to these receptors.

CB2 receptors: CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors affect inflammation and pain.

Scientists once believed that CBD attached to the CB2 receptors, but new studies have indicated that CBD does not attach directly to either receptor. Instead, researchers believe that CBD exerts its influence on the endocannabinoid system indirectly.

CBD’s Indirect Effect On the Endocannabinoid System:

When someone ingests CBD, the compound enters the system and interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Because cannabidiol doesn’t have a specific binding affinity, scientists hypothesize that CBD’s therapeutic benefits arise through indirect mechanisms.

CBD inhibits fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which breaks down anandamide and weakens it. CBD weakens FAAH, which leads to an increased concentration of anandamide. Anandamide is considered the “bliss molecule” and plays an important role in the generation of pleasure and motivation. The increased concentration of anandamide can have a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system.

CBD also affects the fatty acid binding protein (FABP). FABP proteins bind to anandamide and transport the enzyme outside the synapse to broken down and metabolized by the FAAH. CBD affects the transportation process of FABP so that less anandamide is metabolized, again resulting in a higher concentration of anandamide.

Finally, CBD binds itself to the G-protein receptors known as TRPV-1. TRVP-1 receptors are involved in regulating pain, body temperature, and inflammation. It is through this bind that scientists believe CBD helps with inflammation and pain relief.

CBD in Medicine & Health

There is still so much to study when it comes to the endocannabinoid system and CBD’s role. However, it’s clear that CBD has a positive effect on the endocannabinoid system and can be useful in addressing a multitude of different medical conditions. Research into the possible applications of CBD is growing and the compound is bound to make an even larger impact on medicine and health than it already is.

At Green Wellness Life, we are not doctors. We can’t diagnose, treat, or prescribe any ailments. Still, we conduct diligent research into the latest studies, user testimonials, and trend to be able to provide you with most accurate and up-to-date information possible on CBD. We want you to be informed so that you can make the best possible decisions for your health. If you have questions about CBD in general or you’d like to know which CBD products may be best for you, feel free to contact us by calling (866) 244-4223 or filling out a contact form. We’re here to help!


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