What is The Endocannabinoid system?
The Endocannabinoid system
The ECS is a cell signaling system which has been around for roughly 500 million years as well as being present in every single vertebrate (animals with spines) today, and it plays a crucial role in regulating a large number of functions and processes in the body that include:
It was named the Endocannabinoid system due to the fact it was discovered while investigating the effects of cannabis.
What does the Endocannabinoid system do?
The primary role of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis. This simply means to maintain a balanced internal environment.
The main mind and bodily functions influenced by the ECS are mood, sleep, and pain perception, although it also plays a role in immunity, reproductive health, and appetite, among other things.
The ECS also plays a significant role in memory formation. In the Hippocampus, there is a large volume of Endocannabinoids as well as receptors.
What is the Endocannabinoid system made up of?
The ECS is made up of three parts:
These are naturally occurring molecules produced in our bodies, which are similar to cannabinoids (found in the plant). There are two key endocannabinoids.
These help to keep functions running smoothly, and your body produces them when needed.
These are spread throughout the body, and there are two kinds:
CB1 – This receptor is predominantly found in the Central nervous system
CB2 – This receptor is predominantly found in the Peripheral nervous system (especially the immune system)
The location of the receptors in the body will dictate the outcome that occurs when endocannabinoids bind with them. For example, CB1 receptors in your spinal nerve may relieve pain, whereas CB2 receptors in the immune system may work to tell the body it is producing inflammation.
There are two main enzymes:
Fatty acid amide hydrolase (responsible for the breakdown of Anandamide)
Monoacylglycerol acid lipase (breaks down 2AG)
How does the Endocannabinoid System Work?
We produce endocannabinoids in response to different environmental stimuli. For example, if we are hungry, our body increases the production of endocannabinoids in the hypothalamus.
If we are experiencing pain, the ECS increases endocannabinoid production in the area of the body that pain is coming from.
The ECS is always looking to maintain balance. It is also ingenious, meaning it can change the way it works in certain situations.
For example, if we are stressed, we produce more endocannabinoids. When we feel better, we provide less; however, if we are going through continuous periods of stress, the amount of endocannabinoid production remains high even during the periods of no stress.
What does THC do to the Endocannabinoid System?
When it comes to THC, the best way to describe it is that THC works as an alternate ‘key’ in the ‘lock and key’ model. i.e., THC can bind to the same receptors like the ones our naturally produced endocannabinoids do.
It will then either mimic or disrupt the ECS and activate multiple things at once. It can relieve stress, make you sleepy, affect your motivation, and influence your appetite and happiness, aka make you ‘high.’
However, the ECS is designed not to be over-activated. It will downregulate if it is being used too much, which may lead to people taking more and more THC and developing a dependence.
What does CBD do to the Endocannabinoid system?
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system indirectly, unlike THC. CBD activates certain receptors in our body and helps to prevent the break down of endocannabinoids by inhibiting enzymes involved in the process.
Is CBD Oil Legal In The UK?
CBD Oil is entirely legal in the UK. The FSA approved the sale of CBD Oil years ago. Because CBD is non-intoxicating, it means you can consume CBD Oil and experience its benefits to your ECS, such as reduced pain, lowered inflammation, better sleep, and reduced stress and anxiety levels, to name a few.
The only guidelines you need to be aware of are these:
1. CBD is legal in the UK as long as it does not contain more than 0.2% THC, which is a controlled substance under the Misuse Of Drugs Act 1971.
2. CBD is Legal in the UK provided that it is derived from an industrialised Hemp strain that is approved by the EU or comes from outside the EU.
To learn more about the legal status of CBD, read our article that covers everything you need to know about the legality of CBD in the UK.
Suggested Read: Will CBD Fail A Drugs Test?
Where Can I Buy High-Quality CBD Oil In The UK?
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