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CBD and The Endocannabinoid System: What It Is and Why It Matters!

CBD has taken the natural health and wellness industry by storm. CBD products in Australia and around the world are becoming a natural alternative therapy for a myriad of physical, mental and emotional challenges. CBD is one of the primary cannabinoids, of over 113 cannabinoids, found in abundance in the sativa hemp plant. CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive, non-toxic compound, provides its powerful therapeutic properties due to its interaction with the Endocannabinoid System throughout the human (and mammal) body. In order to understand how and why CBD works in the body, it is imperative to understand the basics of the Endocannabinoid System. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) contains endocannabinoids produced from within the body. These endocannabinoid compounds activate a network of receptors on the surface of cells throughout the body, in the brain, organs, tissues, glands and the immune system. Although the ECS performs a unique role in each location of the body, the overall, ultimate goal of the ECS is to bring the body to homeostasis (balance) despite external or environmental disturbances.

The receptors on the cells throughout the Endocannabinoid System, when stimulated by cannabinoids, produce varying reactions, depending on the location of the cells and receptors. Cannabinoids come from two places; either naturally produced from within the body (endocannabinoids) or from the hemp and cannabis plants that produce phytocannabinoids. The many benefits of CBD are a direct result of the receptor stimulation and interactions throughout the Endocannabinoid System.

How CBD Provides Benefits to the Body

When an external, plant based cannabinoid, like CBD, is introduced to the body, either internally or topically on the skin, it interacts and stimulates one or both of the two primary receptors known as CB1 and CB2 as well as other receptors. In order to understand this activity let’s take the example of using CBD for chronic pain.  

Endocannabinoid System (ECS) CB1 and CB2 Receptors

When you take a high concentration CBD Oil for chronic pain, the CBD acts on the 5-HT1A receptors in the Serotonin, Dopamine and Opioid Systems of the brain. CBD acts as a modulator on your opioid receptors to reduce pain and chronic inflammation. Also, because the 5-HT1A receptors are located in many and diverse areas of the brain, CBD will stimulate a broad range of effects. This is important to people living with chronic pain because so many areas of their health and basic functions are affected. CBD also helps with mood, sleep, appetite and memory, which can often become issues, over time, for those dealing with daily pain.

In addition, you can apply a CBD topical for local pain management. The CBD penetrates to deep layers of the skin, therein interacting with the receptors that are present in the area, providing relief to local aches and pains.  CBD Edibles are also an effective mechanism for fast acting pain relief.

This powerful and diverse activity of CBD and the Endocannabinoid System has implications for the daily supplemental use of CBD. Because the ultimate goal of the ECS is to bring the physical, mental and emotional bodies to homeostasis (balance), making CBD a part of your daily health regimen can help increase your general health and well-being.

Have you tried CBD as a supplement or for a particular condition? If so, what has been your experience? Please share your insights in the comment section below! We would love to hear from you!  

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