The benefits of cannabis have long been proclaimed by activists and enthusiasts around the world. However, scientific research has always lagged behind in putting these touted benefits to a thorough test.
However, this snail's pace of research has been shocked into life in recent years by the rapid legalization and de-stigmatization of cannabis around the world. Specifically, the list of benefits to our body from the use of cannabis has grown significantly.
Scientists discovered that we have an entire system within our bodies designed to utilize and process the molecules from a cannabis plant. That system is the slightly mysterious, yet fascinating, made-for-cannabis, Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
ECS is a complex, cell-signaling system connected to our brain, organs, glands, immune cells, and connective tissues. Scientists are still working to understand the full extent of what these endocannabinoid cells and receptors operate in our body, but have noted ECS helps regulate sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and fertility.
The ECS can be broken down into three separate parts — endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are molecules created by the body naturally. These molecules ensure the body’s internal operations run smoothly, and the body processes them as needed.
The cannabis plant contains molecules known as cannabinoids, which can be divided into two main molecules, THC and CBD. The cannabinoids from the plant operate in a similar fashion to the endocannabinoids produced naturally by the body.
Since endocannabinoids and cannabinoids operate in the same way, the receptors (CB1 & CB2) that process the molecules are able to process the molecules as normal.
Both molecules provided to us by ingesting the cannabis plant (THC and CBD) interact differently with the Endocannabinoid System, which is why they produce different effects for consumers.
Once in your body, THC mimics the natural endocannabinoids and bonds the CB1 & CB2 receptors. This produces the “high” effects most often associated with cannabis, such as an increase in appetite. However, too much bonding activity can lead to paranoia and anxiety, which are also commonly associated with THC.
CBD is different. Although scientists are still debating the exact function of CBD in ECS, they are sure the CBD does not bind receptors in the same way THC does.
From recent research, it appears that CBD prevents the naturally-produced endocannabinoid molecule from being broken down by the system’s enzymes. That creates a surplus of endocannabinoids, which are known for regulating mood, sleep, and more.
That’s why CBD makes us feel relaxed, energized, or level-headed (depending on the exact family of the cannabis plant). Extra endocannabinoids without the “high” feeling of THC!
So, whether you’re a seasoned CBD user or new to the movement, it’s been proved that CBD does help your body regulate and improve.
After all, there is a little cannabinoid inside all of us.