YES! Our bodies also produce cannabinoids… which are named after the cannabis plant, since that’s how we discovered them. CBD was discovered on the heels of TCH in 1964 when scientists were studying how and why marijuana makes us high. Or in more scientific terms, they were trying to understand how and why cannabinoids affect our mind and body.
Interestingly, it took another 30 years for scientists to discover that our bodies also manufacture their very own endocannabinoids – “endo” means inside our bodies. Phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, are chemically similar to our endocannabinoids but come from the cannabis plant. Phytocannabinoids – “phyto” means “from plants”.
How do cannabinoids work? Our cannabinoid receptors!
Without getting too crazy in depth, cannabinoids function like neurotransmitters, which means they communicate (transmit) different chemical messages to the cells within our nervous system. Our body receives those messages in what are called cannabinoid receptors… and they get delivered by phytocannabinoids (from the cannabis plant AKA CBD) or endocannabinoids – produced by our own body
The discovery of our body’s cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) is where things start to get really interesting.
Researchers believe that CBD works by stimulating the production of our own endocannabinoids, which interact with both our CB1 and CB2 receptors.
This network of endocannabinoids and receptors is an entire system, called our endocannabinoid system or ECS. Like our immune, digestive, and circulatory systems, our endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in our keeping us healthy… and alive. In fact, the EC system is key to our survival, yet we didn’t even know existed until the 1990s — all thanks to studying how pot gets us high. Crazy, right?
Researchers learned that the endocannabinoid system carries out a number of key tasks to maintain what’s called “homeostasis”. That means when our body reacts to some change in our environment, our ECS starts or stops certain functions to bring things back into balance.
For example, let’s say we break a bone. Our body will increase blood flow to the area to begin the healing process. It’s our ECS that determines when enough white blood cells have reached the affected area. And once it does, the CB1 receptors in the tissue near the break, as well as the CB2 receptors in our immune cells, will bind with cannabinoids in order to slowly turn off the inflammatory response.
CBD supplementation can help our ECS to regulate certain functions within our body.