What Is CBD?

In the UK Cannabidiol (CBD), usually in a carrier oil e.g. seed rape, are low controlled cannabinoid (drug) products e.g. tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) derived from the Cannabis sativa (aka hemp) a EU recognised cultivar database which has become increasingly popular over recent years. Consumers report unsubstantiated claims for a variety of conditions using CBD in a number of matrices, particularly pain, without the intoxicating adverse effects experienced by recreational Cannabis users.

How Does CBD Effect The Body?

Our bodies have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is an amazing recently discovered biological system that expands our full body, much like our nervous system.

Scientific experts are still trying to fully understand our ECS. However, to date we do know this system plays an important role in managing a range of bodily functions and critical processes, including:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Brain function
  • Appetite
  • Fertility

Our ECS involves three core biological parts: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by the human body. They’re similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by your body.

Scientific researchers have identified two key endocannabinoids so far:

  • anandamide (AEA)
  • 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

These help keep our internal bodily functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as and when needed, making it difficult to know what typical levels are for each.

Endocannabinoid receptors

Receptors are located throughout the human body which allow endocannabinoids to bind signalling that the ECS needs to take action!

There are two main endocannabinoid receptors, which are:

  • CB1 receptors – located mainly in the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors – mostly in your peripheral nervous system i.e. the nervous system outside the brain and spinal cord

Endocannabinoids can bind to either of these receptors. The effects that result depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.

For example, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. Others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders.

Enzymes

Our body manufactures enzymes which are responsible for the breakdown of the endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their job.

So far, there have been two enzymes identified for this:

  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA
    • N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA), also known as Anandamide (ANA), is a fatty acid neurotransmitter
  • Monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which typically breaks down 2-AG
    • 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is a signaling lipid in the central nervous system that is a key regulator of neurotransmitter release

What Are The ECS Functions?

As you’ve no doubt gathered the ECS is somewhat complicated, and still unknown in terms of how it works or all of its potential functions.

ResearchTrusted Source has linked the ECS to the following processes:

  • appetite and digestion
  • metabolism
  • chronic pain
  • inflammation and other immune system responses
  • mood
  • learning and memory
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • cardiovascular system function
  • muscle formation
  • bone remodeling and growth
  • liver function
  • reproductive system function
  • stress
  • skin and nerve function

These functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to a state of balance among all the body systems needed for our body to survive and function correctly. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation.

Today, experts believe that maintaining homeostasis is the key role of the ECS.