Or, The Endocannabinoid System
The Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam named it after the plant that led to its discovery. His team discovered the ECS in the early 1990s. They found that the endocannabinoid system:
- protects neurons
- stimulates adult stem-cell growth
- regulates the immune system, glucose metabolism, and other crucial physiological processes
“This ancient internal signal system started when the most complex life-form was sponges.”
-Dr. John McPartland
“The endocannabinoid system is the guardian angel of reproduction.”
-Dr. Mauro Maccarrone
“CBD is the Cinderella molecule, the little substance that could- nontoxic, nonpsychoactive, and multicapable.”
-Martin A. Lee, author of Smoke Signals
CBD works through multiple molecular pathways. Cannabinoid receptors respond to three types of agonists: the endogenous fatty acid cannabinoids found in all mammals (every animal except insects); phytocannabinoids found in plants, such as hemp and echinacea; and the synthetic kind. Cannabis has nearly 500 distinct compounds; At least 100 are fat soluble, known as the cannabinoids. We market the whole plant CBD-rich cannabis, not the single molecule CBD. The plant also contains many alkaloids, flavonoids, and terpenoids (essential aromatic oils). We will discuss these qualities in another blog post.
Cannabinoid receptors are in the family of G-protein-coupled receptors. Around 40% of modern pharmaceuticals, such as opiates, act on these areas since G-protein-coupled receptors are involved in many diseases.
Endocannabinoids are one of the only neurotransmitters involved in retrograde signaling. This type of signaling has a number of responsibilities, including balancing other neurotransmitters if they are firing too fast. Anandamide and 2AG are the two main endogenous cannabinoids.
Out of balance
Ethan Russo, a neurologist suggests that “clinical endocannabinoid deficiency” results in issues ranging from depression, IBS, migraines, and many other conditions.
A study at the University of British Columbia analyzed serum endocannabinoid content in depressed women and found that it was lower when the depression had persisted.
The Tao of health
Yin-Yang cell receptors
- CB-1 is the central nervous system receptor, affecting brain health.
- CB-2 receptors are found throughout the peripheral nervous system and immune system. They are also located in the “gut, spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs.”
- CBD activates several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels.
5-HT1A– CBD has been found to activate 5-HT1A, found in the peripheral and central nervous systems. It’s associated with anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea and vomiting.
TRPV1– receptors that also function as ion channels, known for mediating pain perception, inflammation and body temperature.
GPR55– CBD deactivates GPR55, affecting conditions such as osteoporosis. It modulates processes such as blood pressure and bone density.
PPARs– these receptors regulate genes involved in energy homeostasis and several metabolic functions.
CBD can change the shape of the receptor.
- GABA-A– supports the function of GABA
- THC– weakens the ability for CB1 to bind with THC
CBD gets absorbed through the cell membrane when it binds to a fatty acid binding protein. It’s an anandamide reuptake and breakdown inhibitor as well, enhancing endocannabindoid tone.
Food and Drug Admistration (FDA) Disclosure
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always check with your physician before starting a new dietary supplement program.