Part 1–Endocannabinoid System

by Quinton Charles Op-Ed Blogger

Most people who have watched the news regarding recent legislation (especially in Michigan) know that hemp can be legally cultivated industrially nation-wide, and they will likely also understand that there are a myriad of health benefits associated with CBD oil. While this understanding is good, it often assumes that the benefits derived from CBD are a result of introducing some substance not found in the body to your bodily system. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

What is the ECS…Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid System, hereafter referred to as “ECS,” is a system that provides the body with many similar cannabinoids to those of hemp oil. Cannabinoids are complex chemical compounds that act on receptors in cells. The hemp plant produces over 100 different cannabinoids (or phytocannabinoids); the mammalian body also naturally produces cannabinoids (or endocannabinoids). This means that your body already uses cannabinoids for many of its functions, such as regulating mood, appetite, pain-sensation, and memory. It also plays a part in dealing with Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, cancer, atherosclerosis, stroke, hypertension, obesity, glaucoma, and osteoporosis.

What do Cannabinoids do?

The function of cannabinoids in your body (regardless of whether they are from the ECS or CBD oil) is to act as receptors for cells. What these receptors do is act as conduits for messages from the brain to the cells. They are the “bridge” that enables your body to operate as it should. Because of this, they are essential for a healthy body, which includes memory, appetite, and mood.

Interestingly, your body, while it uses the endocannabinoids produced internally, also reacts to phytocannabinoids from sources like cannabis and hemp. This is where CBD oils come in.

Endocannabinoid Receptors CB1 and CB2

The ECS is comprised to two primary endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 (found predominantly in the brain, nervous system, and outlying organs and tissues) and CB2 (found predominantly in white blood cells, tonsils and spleen). Although CBD has low affinity for either of these receptors, it does interact with other nominal receptors with remarkable effects. For example, CBD activates the receptor GPR55, which has been shown to assist in treating pain and inflammation. CBD has also been shown as a partial agonist (which is a term referring to something that attaches to a cell receptor and causes an action to occur in that cell) to the 5-HT1A receptor, which may lead to cannabidiol’s anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, and neuro-protective effects.

Why take daily CBD?

Because the ECS is involved in the body’s communication with its cells and their functions (including repairs), cannabinoids are crucial for the body’s constant repair of cells and their functions. When more cannabinoids are introduced to this delicate system, they can stimulate the cells into functioning as the brain directs them to, and can facilitate healing where the body’s own ECS has failed. In this, it is clear that when the ECS is failing to do its job, phytocannabinoids from CBD oils can “pick up the slack” and act as receptors for cells that were malfunctioning due to a lack of endocannabinoids. This makes CBD crucial for maintaining (or, in many cases, restoring) a healthy balance of receptors in the body.

While you’re healthy, CBD oil is not required to ensure that your cell receptors are functioning properly, as your ECS is most likely doing its job, and if you’re beset by chronic pain, problems with memory, appetite, or mood, there is the possibility that it is due to an imbalance in your ECS that is hindering your cells from properly receiving messages from your brain. In both cases, CBD oil is useful. If you’re already healthy, the extra CBD could either maintain that health, or boost your ECS’s efficacy in an area that maybe was not apparent to you. If you’re struggling with a particular health issue, first consult a physician, but consider CBD oil as a supplement that could boost your ECS and give your cells the boost that they may need.

If you visit the physician for any maladies that were mentioned in this article, bring up the idea of CBD oil as a possible treatment, and ask if it could be your ECS.

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