The endocannabinoid system
The Science behind The Benefits of CBD.
There is something about navigating the unknown that opens the mind to new possibilities and allows us to expand our world view and accommodate a broader perspective. With the mindset that life is always changing and we are a part of that change. The macro is our earth ecosystem, the micro our internal systems, our cells. We see the similarities, the repetition of nodes and branching rivers, clusters and tangents. As humans we can't help but make connections, it's what our bodies do, it's what our minds do. The scientist in me wants to look deeper to understand what it is that makes the world work; to trace these connections and make sense of the tangle of threads that enmesh us. The artist in me looks beyond the why to the way it feels and relates. Like a lot of farmers I know, I went to school for art!
Our farm is on a journey to understand how our ecosystem relates to our bodies and how our bodies and their needs and actions affect the ecosystem. When I first started farming, I felt this connection so viscerally - how each plant we grew and then ate was a collaboration between our bodies and the ecosystem. We provided for the needs of our plants and in turn they provided us with nourishment, medicine and a livelihood.
This past year we grew hemp for CBD and as with anything we grow here on the farm, we are caretakers in relationship with the plant and its environment. We research its needs and try to fulfill them, and we also consume the plant and explore it uses. Fall of 2019 was our first hemp harvest and the beginning of a new chapter in our farming journey, creating a line of hemp products. We love getting creative and exploring the many ways we can incorporate hemp and other medicinal plants we grow on our farm into salves, teas and oils. The more I experience hemp whether its smoking, ingesting or applying it topically the more I wonder how these feelings and sensations I feel are possible. Why is this plant so potent and effective at alleviating pain? Why do I feel a shift in my mood and a calming in my mind? These questions have led me to many articles on the endocannabinoid system, many of which are challenging to the lay person. So I reached out to Cannabis writer Katherine Saab, to inform our community about the endocannabinoid system (boy that's a mouthful) and how CBD interacts with our bodies. I've included some of my watercolor drawings and whimsical self portraits courtesy of my iphone 11 ;) to loosely illustrate the connections between our bodies and the natural world.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
by Katherine Saab
The cannabinoid CBD is known for the multitude of benefits it provides for human and animal health. Inquiring minds always ask the question, ‘how does CBD work?’ In order to answer that question, it is necessary to first define the vast biological regulatory system known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Let’s take a look at what the ECS is, what it does and what role it plays in the body, and how phytocannaboids like CBD act upon it.
The Endocannabinoid System is made up of molecules called endocannabinoids, which are lipid-based neurotransmitters, produced naturally by the human body. These endogenous( native to the body) neurotransmitters bind to cannabinoid receptors on cells found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, muscles, tissues, skeletal system and immune system.
This collection of neurotransmitters acts as a vast regulating system for various crucial physiological functions and bodily systems. Including the immune response, cardiovascular function, appetite, sleep, mood, pain, cognition, respiration, metabolism, libido and energy level.
The endocannabinoids activate the receptors on the surface of the cells throughout the ECS: this receptor activation stimulates the various unique roles of the ECS, depending on the location in the body. Although the Endocannabinoid System regulates the various functions in different ways, the over all goal of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis or balance in the body, in the face of both external and internal disturbances, attacks and interference. Maintaining homeostasis is vital to keeping the body operating at optimum health.
Phytocannabinoids and The Endocannabinoid System
Phytocannabinoids are plant-based cannabinoids, like CBD or cannabidiol, that are compounds from the cannabis sativa or hemp plants. These cannabinoids actually, in some ways, mimic the endocannabinoids produced by the body. This means that when introduced into the body, the phytocannabinoids either directly or indirectly stimulate the receptors of the Endocannabinoid System. It is in this way that the cannabinoids like CBD, THC, CBG, CBDV and other cannabinoids, provide the variety of benefits to the body when ingested. Simply put, when you take in phytocannabinoids you actually support and enhance the natural process your body is already generating within the ECS.
How Organic CBD Hemp Extract Supports The ECS
The Endocannabinoid System can benefit by being stimulated with Organic CBD Hemp
Extract By introducing a full spectrum Hemp CBD Extract to the body, the natural bodily process of production of endocannabinoids is stimulated and therefore increased. CBD, also known as Cannabidiol, is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent, acting upon the body’s endocannabinoid system and its cannabis receptors to reduce inflammation. CBD is capable of modulating your body’s immune reactions, increasing white blood cell production and strengthening your resilience to outside stresses. CBD works by attaching itself to specific receptors of the body’s own endocannabinoid system. The human body is known to produce cannabinoids of its own, which affect the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are most numerous in the brain, and work upon pain, mood, movement, appetite, among others things. THC acts upon the CB1 receptors, and since it works primarily upon the brain, it is psychoactive. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are more often found throughout the immune system, affecting inflammation and thus pain. Research suggests that CBD acts upon these CB2 receptors, by stimulating the body to produce its own cannabinoids in order to rebalance itself. How Helpful is that?!
This amazing natural symbiotic relationship of the human body with the hemp plant and its compounds has opened areas of discovery and research that are still only in their infancy.
Biological science and botany have moved into an area of research that is opening new discoveries about both plant compounds as therapeutics as well as elucidating previously unknown biological systems in the body!
We are in exciting times!
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