HOW DOES THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM WORK?
ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM EDUCATION
We all have a biological network of receptors within our bodies known as the Endocannabinoid System. This internal network is responsible for regulating and maintaining many critical functions, including your mood, your immune system, your digestive system, inflammation in your body and many more. There is ongoing research that continues to reveal the extensive number of inner connections that the endocannabinoid system plays a part in.
There are 2 types of cannabinoids that can act as chemical messengers within the endocannabinoid system. Endogenous cannabinoids are those that occur naturally within our bodies, while Exogenous cannabinoids are external cannabinoids that we can choose to introduce into our bodies. THC, CBD, CBG, and the many other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant are examples of Exogenous cannabinoids. When we choose to ingest or intake these cannabinoids they can produce physical and psychological effects through their interactions with the cannabinoid receptors within our Endocannabinoid system.
Our Endogenous, or naturally occurring cannabinoids are transient, which means their presence is brief, and they are only produced when our bodies signal a need for them. The effects of age, environmental stresses, and/or disease on our bodies deplete our endogenous cannabinoids over time. This inhibits our Endocannabinoid system, making it less effective at regulating vital biological functions within our bodies.
When we choose to ingest external or Exogenous cannabinoids such as CBD, we are introducing an abundant supply of these chemical messengers into our Endocannabinoid system. Exogenous cannabinoids don’t deplete as quickly as our own Endogenous cannabinoids, and can supercharge our Endocannabinoid system for a longer period of time.
The recent focus of many researchers has been understanding how CBD specifically interacts with our Endocannabinoid system. CBD is a very unique Exogenous cannabinoid due to the fact that it doesn’t directly bind to our cannabinoid receptors. CBD instead inhibits an enzyme known as FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase). This enzyme targets and breaks down important cannabinoids, including anandamide, which is considered the most vital of all the naturally occurring cannabinoids in our bodies.
Anandamide holds the honor of being the very first endogenous cannabinoid to be identified by scientists in 1992. Its name is derived from the Sanskrit word for bliss: ananda. It was given this name due to its unique positive effects on the mind and body. It has now become widely known as simply ‘The Bliss Molecule’. When we introduce CBD into our endocannabinoid system, it goes to work inhibiting the great nemesis of anandamide: FAAH. This can in turn greatly diminish the rate at which our Bliss Molecules are broken down, making for a much more blissful existence!