CBD and the Endocannabinoid System

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System are directly linked. The ECS is an incredibly complex system that has wide-reaching benefits to regulating pain, sleep, and stress.

CBD and the Endocannabinoid System Frequently Asked Questions

What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is known as the “Ur-regulator,” or “master modulator” in the body. The main ECS functions have been described as: “eat, sleep, relax, protect, and forget.” It has been implicated in virtually all of the important functions in the body, including glucose and lipid metabolism, food intake regulation, immune homeostasis, respiratory health, inflammation, cancer, and other physiological and pathological states.

The classical ECS comprises the endocannabinoids AEA and 2-AG, their receptors, and the enzymes involved in their synthesis and degradation. A related system is the “endocannabinoidome,” which can be thought of as the extended ECS. The endocannabinoidome includes the classical ECS as well as additional endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that are biochemically related to the ECS. The ECS and endocannabinoidome are very complex, and we have only scratched the surface of our understanding of how they work.

What are endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids, or endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules that are made in the body and interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The two main endogenous cannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), although additional endocannabinoids have been identified.

Both AEA and 2-AG are derived from arachidonic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid, while other endocannabinoids are derived from fatty acids including omega-3 and omega-9. The endocannabinoids are found throughout the body and help to regulate activity in multiple systems.

What are phytocannabinoids?

Phytocannabinoids are molecules that interact with the ECS that are derived from cannabis sativa. The two major phytocannabinoids are cannabidiol (CBD) and D9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In addition, there are over 100 minor phytocannabinoids.

The most well-known include cannabigerol (CBG), cannabidivarin (CBDV), cannabinol (CBN), cannabichromene (CBC), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Phytocannabinoids are found in a variety of chemical forms, including acidic and varinic, and they vary in their affinity and binding modes for cannabinoid receptors. Very little is known about most of the phytocannabinoids, except for CBD and THC, although this is an increasing focus of research investigation.

Does our body create endocannabinoids without supplementation?

Yes, endocannabinoids are the most abundant neurotransmitters in our body.

If we have endocannabinoids naturally in our body, does taking CBD create a negative feedback and shut off our normal production and secretion of these compounds?

 ie. similar to melatonin: our body produces melatonin naturally and if you supplement it creates a negative feedback and shuts off that natural production of melatonin)

Our body is what actually makes both endocannabinoids (AEA and A-AG), the coolest part of the ECS system is that it is self regulating. We make what we need and when we have too much, we have enzymes to break down compounds. CBD is simply and magically a ‘conduit’ to aid ECS function - so it is VERY different than taking melatonin. 

We take CBD to aid ECS function, our ECS is what makes AEA and 2- AG - as we need them.