CBD and the Endocannabinoid System: A Guide to Understanding Cannabinoids

Time to read 5 min

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and How Does it Work?

The endocannabinoid system is a biological system that plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes in the body, such as mood, appetite, pain sensation, immune function, metabolism, memory, nervous system, and more.

The endocannabinoid system is composed of endocannabinoids and their receptors located throughout the body. The effective interaction of endocannabinoids with their receptors helps to maintain balance and promote overall well-being in the body –think of it as the body’s internal regulator.

What Are Endocannabinoids and How Are They Related to CBD?

Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds that are similar in structure to cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. These compounds are produced by the body as needed to help maintain homeostasis or balance in various physiological processes. 

They stimulate or suppress the responses of your body's receptors. The role of these receptors is to respond when they detect a negative change in your body's brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells, and to stimulate a healthy response. For example, if your receptor detects an injury, it tells your cells to create extra white blood cells. Receptors transmit information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell and initiate the appropriate cellular response.

Thus, Endocannabinoids are necessary for the proper functioning of the endocannabinoid system. Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids are necessary for your body to operate and are produced on-demand when needed.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a phytocannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Although CBD is not produced by the body, it interacts with the endocannabinoid system by influencing the activity of receptors. This can lead to an increase in endocannabinoid levels and potentially promote overall balance in the body.

What Is Anandamide?

Anandamide plays a role in the generation of our positive reward response, and so motivates us to continue repeating a pleasurable behavior. Basically keeps rewarding us to be happy. It is otherwise known as the “Bliss Molecule” and has been proven to be responsible for the intense beneficial effects of exercise —AKA Runner’s High.

What is 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)?

2-AG helps referee the immune responses within the body. It actually travels backward along the messenger pathway to tell the body to stop sending so many attack cells to an affected area. And, in doing so can help reduce inflammation, and encourage a normal immune response.

What Are The Potential Benefits of CBD for the ECS and Overall Health?

Overall, CBD has shown great promise in supporting the endocannabinoid system and promoting overall well-being —as it helps to maintain homeostasis or balance in various physiological processes.

But specifically, CBD has been shown to reduce pain, inflammation, and anxiety. It can improve sleep and mood. It can ease PMS and reduce endometriosis symptoms, and increase libido and quality of orgasms. 

*We have listed studies and the benefits in further detail here.

The body relies on endocannabinoids to regulate various functions, but sometimes it may not produce enough, which can impact overall well-being. Taking CBD can help top up the body's stores of endocannabinoids and promote a healthy balance.

What is Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

This is a theory that suggests that some medical conditions may be caused by a lack of endocannabinoid activity in the body. This occurs when the body does not produce enough endocannabinoids or fails to use them effectively, leading to various symptoms and medical conditions. Our body only produces endocannabinoids on demand and does not store them, which means people with chronic illness or injury or genetic disposition to produce fewer endocannabinoids may never have enough for a healthy life.

Dr. Ethan Russo first proposed the theory and suggested that supplementing the body with cannabinoids like CBD may help to alleviate symptoms associated with the condition.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, good sleep, stress reduction, reduced alcohol intake, and regular exercise is ideal, but not always possible in our busy lives. Taking a daily dose of CBD can be a convenient way to support your endocannabinoid system and promote overall wellness.

Is CBD Legal?

Yes, CBD is legal nationwide. In December 2018, the Farm Bill was passed, which allowed the sale of products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG, CBN, and THC), as long as the concentration of THC in each product is no more than 0.3%. All Mello products are legal.

What are the Common Cannabinoids Found in Cannabis?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), CBN (cannabinol), CBC (cannabichromene), and CBG (cannabigerol) are all examples of cannabinoids. While at least 113 different cannabinoids have been isolated from the cannabis plant, the most well-known and studied ones are THC and CBD

What is CBD?

CBD, pronounced CANNA-BIDDY-YOL, is a cannabinoid found in the dried resin glands of the female cannabis plant. It is found in the stalks, stems, and flowers, but never in the seeds.

What is THC?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is an equally known cannabinoid because it accounts for the highest concentration in the Cannabis plant, and also gets you ‘HIGH’. THC is a Schedule I controlled substance and so federally illegal. You can access THC if you live in a state where it is recreationally legal or a registered Medical Marijuana Patient. Studies have found that THC can reduce nausea and vomiting, increase appetite, provide pain relief, and improve sleep.

What is CBN?

Cannabinol (CBN) is actually THC that has been exposed to heat and light for too long. It is a fairly under-researched cannabinoid, and so we are hesitant to call out any major health benefits. But potentially —could serve as an effective sleep aid.

What is CBG?

Cannabigerol (CBG) is the chemical parent of THC and CBD, meaning that CBG turns into other cannabinoids as the plant matures. There are preliminary studies indicating CBG might be successful in slowing the growth of cancer cells, but it is yet to be demonstrated in a way the health community accepts. It is very expensive as you need many plants to produce a standard dose —it is the chemical parent so there is little to none left by the time the plant has matured. 

What is CBC?

Cannabichromene (CBC) is the third most concentrated cannabinoid in the plant after THC and CBD. It was recently discovered that CBC is very effective against inflammation —it operates differently to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, in that it actually reduces edema (swelling) rather than masking it, taking the swelling away does encourage the body to heal itself.