Discovered in the late 1980s, the endocannabinoid system is the system in our body that has an important role in keeping our body running perfectly. Our body staying in homeostasis is the most important job of the endocannabinoid system, so it regulates mood, appetite, memory, and even stress responses. Homeostasis is the goldilocks zone of our body, meaning everything is working properly. When there’s an issue that crops up in the body, the endocannabinoid system signals the appropriate system to fix the problem.
Researchers have recently been looking into our natural cannabinoid receptors and the cannabinoids our body makes, trying to see how this system maintains homeostasis. Inflammation in the body is a common problem caused by an imbalance in various body systems, and this new research points to cannabinoid supplements such as CBD hemp oil to help reduce the damage caused by inflammation.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Before we get into the nitty gritty of how cannabinoids reduce inflammation, let’s get back to the basics and look at what comprises this system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is made up of three main parts: the endocannabinoids, the cannabinoid receptors, and the metabolic enzymes. The endocannabinoids act as the body’s natural pleasure-providing chemicals, and they connect to the cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and other neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. Our bodies also have cannabinoid receptors called CB2 receptors, which are found all over the body, in the immune cells, the gastrointestinal tract, and the peripheral nervous system. The third key component of the ECS is the metabolic enzymes, which take care of the leftover endocannabinoids by recycling them for later use.
Scientists have discovered that the ECS helps regulate almost everything, including sleep, appetite, mood, immune function, reproduction, pleasure, pain, memory, and body temperature. Our bodies create endocannabinoids with omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, researchers have found out that diets low in fatty acids contribute to mood changes due to weak endocannabinoid regulation. The best way to get these omega-3 fatty acids is by eating natural sources like fish and hemp seeds.
Inflammation and Endocannabinoids
New research has taught scientists that the Endocannabinoid System regulates inflammation in our bodies because it works so hard to keep our body in homeostasis. Inflammation is a natural response to stress or injury to any part of the body, and even if it happens inside the body, it’s often caused by external force like toxins in what we eat or in our body care products. The health problems caused by inflammation can present as eczema, digestive issues, migraines, and even arthritis. This inflammation can go on for years until it’s sufficient enough to be considered a disease.
What is the inflammatory response?
When the body’s inflammatory response is triggered, blood circulation increases around the impact area. The blood vessels dilate and the cell wall gaps to allow immune cells to get to the potentially infected area. All of the different types of cells in the immune system and a large amount of proteins go to the inflammation site. The four main marks of an inflammatory response are: the surrounding tissue becoming red, warm, swollen, and painful.
Once this response has started, it continues until all of the infection has been removed. Our body’s defense system, made up of phagocytes, fights and destroys bacteria, resulting in pus. Pus is what’s left over from the fight between our immune system and the invading bacteria. Normally, this inflammatory response only lasts for the duration of the infection and once the infection is gone, everything goes back to normal — the swelling goes down and the pain goes away.
How CBD and the ECS Can Help with Inflammation
Just like we take supplements when we’re low on vitamins and minerals, we can take supplements when our Endocannabinoid System needs a boost. Cannabidiol Hemp Oil is the supplement for the ECS because it’s similar to the cannabinoids our body naturally makes, and new studies have shown that CBD hemp oil has anti-inflammation properties. CBD is present in both marijuana and hemp plants just like THC, but CBD lacks the psychoactive qualities of THC. CBD responds to the metabolic enzymes that help regulate hormone circulation in the body, and it also increases the amount of endocannabinoids in the body.
How does this help an inflammatory response?
Remember the part about how inflammation goes away when the infection is gone? That doesn’t always happen. When we get a bump, bruise, or cut, our body flies into action. Signals are sent by our endocannabinoid system that trigger an immune response directly to ground zero. When the battle against the infection is over, some immune cells naturally destroy themselves. Other immune cells, called Helper T cells, will stay alive as long as they detect foreign matter in our bodies, in theory. But our bodies aren’t perfect. If our immune system never fully destroys the foreign matter, if the helper T cells never recognize that the foreign matter is gone, or if they receive signals from somewhere else, we can develop a case of chronic inflammation.
When we have a case of chronic inflammation, it takes a lot out of our bodies to keep fighting foreign matter, especially if that matter doesn’t actually exist. On top of that, our bodies are constantly being exposed to other toxins, causing more of an inflammatory response. This constant war takes a major toll on our bodies, especially our immune system and the endocannabinoid system that supports it. One way to combat the damage of inflammation to these systems is by boosting our ECS with a supplement of CBD hemp oil.
Of course CBD oil can’t completely cure inflammation, but it can give our bodies the necessary boost to keep fighting. Adding CBD oil to our daily regimen can give our CB2 immune receptors and the whole endocannabinoid system the boost they need to fight inflammation. As with any new herbal supplement, always consult your doctor before starting any new anti-inflammatory treatments.