Cannabidiol (CBD) has been getting a lot of attention lately; and with it is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the targeted area of CBD. It’s time that we know about the roles that it plays in the human body.

The Functions of the Endocannabinoid System

It is a molecular system that is tasked to regulate and balance several processes in the body which can include sleep, memory, appetite, metabolism, immune response, communication between cells, reproduction and fertility, and many others. Through this system made up of metabolic enzymes and receptors cannabinoids interact to produce beneficial effects. This system has been discovered only recently, and the significance of the system has just been studied.

This complex cell-signaling system was discovered in 1998 by Vincenzo Di Marzo, one of the world’s most reputable cannabinoid scientists. Today experts continue to understand more about the ECS.

How the ECS Functions

Even without taking cannabis, the ECS functions in the body. It is made up of three components: enzymes, endocannabinoids, and receptors. All these functions contribute to homeostasis, which is the stability of one’s internal environment. An example of how the ECS works is when an external force like fever or pain caused by an injury unsettles your body’s homeostasis, the ECS starts working to let the body get back to its normal operation. Experts believe that the primary role of the system is to maintain the homeostasis of the human body.

The Discovery of the ECS

We already know that the ECS was discovered only in the ‘90s. During the ‘80s, then-President Ronald Reagan invested millions in studies to prove that cannabis can lead to brain damage as well as cognitive impairment. Instead of confirming this biased perspective, the researchers came across the endocannabinoid system. The system is named after the cannabis plant. This is so because the cannabinoids that compose the endocannabinoid system are similar to those that are found in cannabis, hemp, and other subspecies of the plant.

The Effects of CBD on the Endocannabinoid System

Cannabinoids that are naturally found in cannabis like THC and CBD can help bind to cannabinoid receptors and help to modulate physiological functions just like the endocannabinoids.

Same as the endocannabinoid anandamide, THC binds to the brain’s CB1 receptors. The only difference is that anandamide calms the brain while THC is psychoactive. On the other hand, CBD binds to both the CB1 receptors found in the brain and CB2 receptors all over the body. As a result, CBD alleviates mental conditions such as anxiety and physical ailments like swelling, pain, and muscle spasms.

Cannabidiol lessens the functions of the enzyme which is responsible for degrading anandamide; this causes a higher concentration of endocannabinoid in the human body. Through blocking the FAAH enzyme, CBD is now capable of treating anxiety disorders.