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What is the Endocannabinoid System?

In the 1990s, a team of scientists researching marijuana discovered the endocannabinoid system. While researchers are still working hard to fully understand it, they do know that in its essence, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a communication and messaging system. Before we jump into exactly how it works, especially in terms of CBD, we’ll explain some common terms associated with the ECS. 

  • Endo- refers to the inside of our body, while exo- refers the outside (think exoskeletons on beetles and other bugs).

  • Phyto- refers to anything that comes from a plant. So, when we take CBD from a plant, it is a phytocannabinoid that mimics the endocannabinoids that our body creates. 

  • Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are over 100 cannabinoids, the most prevalent being THC and CBD. 

  • Cannabis is a plant, of which there are 3 varieties: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis.

  • Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids, but they are naturally produced in the body, hence the endo- at the beginning. Anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AD) are the two most prominent endocannabinoids discovered so far.

  • Anandamide is an essential omega-6 fatty acid.

    The ECS is composed of endocannabinoids, enzymes that build up or break them down, and their receptors. The ECS helps regulate almost every system in our body including the nervous system, skin, immune system, digestive system and the reproductive system. 

    The Three Components of the Endocannabinoid System
    To understand how the system works together, we have to grasp its three parts. 

    Endocannabinoids, produced within the body, interact or bind with receptors and communicate to regulate systems and produce what the body needs at the moment, whether it’s more relaxation, more energy, appetite and mood regulation, and more.

    Enzymes produce and break down Endocannabinoids in response to a bodily need. There are two main enzymes which work to block or activate systems so that our body is functioning at its optimal level.

    There are two Endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. 

    • CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system. They target motor activity and coordination, thinking, appetite, short term memory, pain perception, and immune cells. 

    • CB2 receptors are found in immune cells and organs. They target the gut, kidneys, pancreas, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, bone, eye, reproductive system, tumors, immune system, respiratory tract, skin, central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and liver. 

    A Communication and Messaging System
    The ECS is a complex system. As we mentioned, it helps to regulate and maintain balance in the body. If your body does not produce enough endocannabinoids, it can be supplemented with phytocannabinoids to help rebalance the body.  Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by plants) communicate with our system to find out what it needs in the moment.

    Endocannabinoid deficiency can be caused by a lack of enough cannabinoid receptors, too many metabolic enzymes, insufficient cannabinoid compounds, or a lack of communication between endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors. Stress, poor sleep, and poor diet all contribute to this phenomenon. 
    CBD works by blocking the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which is the culprit of anandamide degradation. It activates our serotonin and allows our body to maintain our anandamide longer. The longer we are able to produce our own anandamide the more relaxed and calm we feel. 

    In a nutshell, CBD does not bind to receptors, but rather it works with the endocannabinoid system to maintain bodily homeostasis as a messenger, as it sends and regulates messages. This has a positive effect on behavioral, neuroendocrine, and autonomic functions, like mood, memory, sleep, and appetite. Basically, when outside forces throw off the internal balance, the ECS steps in to correct it and phytocannibinoids support this process. 

    The ECS has been found in most animals from earthworms to mammals, which is why it’s beneficial for our pets too!

    KAMUs products work with the ECS in different ways. 

    Vitality is a broad-spectrum hemp extract that supports the endocannabinoid system. Each serving contains 10 potent botanicals and 10 mg of CBD + 9 mg of CBG to strengthen immunity from the inside out.

    Dream combines a beautiful trifecta of full-spectrum hemp extract with melatonin and lavandin – all specifically focused on enabling a restful night’s sleep. Both the melatonin and lavandin aid in a more restful sleep by calming and relaxing muscles and quieting the mind.

    Recover, relief from your discomfort, is a balm that supports recovery. Our restorative, powerhouse botanical blend delivers a foundation for our full spectrum hemp extract containing flavonoids and the active cannabinoids CBD and CBG.

    Remember - CBD is not a silver bullet, but an integral part of a foundation for healthy lifestyle. Taking a daily dose keeps you ECS functioning properly. Learn more about how KAMU helps you take charge of your health.  

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