The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a crucial role in regulating a wide range of functions including mood, appetite, sleep, immune response, and memory. It consists of three main components: endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds produced by the body. The two most important types of endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These compounds are very similar in structure to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
There are two primary types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are located in immune cells and organs responsible for immune responses.
When the body’s internal environment becomes imbalanced, endocannabinoids are naturally produced and bind to the ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors, triggering a series of responses designed to restore equilibrium and maintain homeostasis.
Certain enzymes are responsible for producing and breaking down endocannabinoids in response to particular stimuli such as stress or injury.
There are two different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that are responsible for its therapeutic benefits: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Unlike THC, which binds directly to the body’s CBD1 and CBD2 receptors (just like natural endocannabinoids) CBD acts as a reuptake inhibitor — which means it blocks the enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids, extending their effects and enhancing their therapeutic benefits.
The beneficial effects of endocannabinoids are normally short-lived as they’re rapidly broken down by enzymes. However, it’s believed that by inhibiting these enzymes, CBD allows endocannabinoids to accumulate in the body, intensifying and prolonging positive effects like pain relief, mood regulation, and inflammation reduction. Learn more about CBD: Health Benefits, Risks, Dosage.
More research is needed to fully understand the way the ECS works and how it interacts with CBD. Scientists currently have a relatively basic understanding of the endocannabinoid system and hope to make more breakthroughs in the near future.
Under Florida State law, you need a medical marijuana card to be able to utilize CBD as a treatment option. You should consult with a licensed physician at a medical marijuana clinic like Green Balance Health and Wellness in Naples, Florida to start the process of getting your card. Once you’ve received a recommendation from a doctor and registered as a medical cannabis patient in Florida, you can begin using CBD oils, lotions, and other CBD products for symptom relief.