CBD and Endocannabinoid System

CBD & Endocannabinoid System: Understand the Relation

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Cannabidiol or CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. The phytocannabinoid has a wide range of health benefits. It’s effective in supporting both mental and physical health. However, the effectiveness of CBD in the body relies on the endocannabinoid system. In this article review, we are going to discuss this system and its function in the body. Besides that, you will also be able to understand the relationship between CBD and ECS.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

This is a biological system that consists of endocannabinoids that help to regulate homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a molecular system that helps to ensure that the body functions optimally. So, it’s responsible for regulating and balancing most of the processes in the body. This includes appetite and metabolism, immune response, cell communication, and memory function among others.

The Endocannabinoid System and Evolving Science of Medical Cannabis

The medical use of cannabis plants is more than a century old. In fact, it spans thousands of years. The evolving use of medical cannabis can be traced back to the Asian content, before even the Christian area. However, the introduction of cannabis to western medicine started around the 19th century. However, it only started to peak in this decade.

The relationship between cannabis and the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered in the early 1970s. This is when scientists were researching the relationship between opiates and brain receptors.

Key Component of the Endocannabinoid System

There are three main components of the endocannabinoid system:


They are also known as endogenous cannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are molecules that are naturally made by the body. They bear resemblance to cannabinoids and exist in two main types:

  • Anandamide (AEA) and
  • 2-Arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

These cannabinoids ensure that the internal functions of the body run smoothly. In case there is a need, the body usually produces them naturally.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

They are normally found throughout the body. Normally, the endocannabinoids usually bind to them in order to signify that the ECS needs to take a certain action. The body has two types of endocannabinoid receptors and they include:

CB1 receptors: they are found in the peripheral of the nervous system, especially close to the immune system.

It should be noted that endocannabinoids have the potential to bid to either of these receptors. However, the effects that result usually depends on the location of the receptor and the type of endocannabinoid it binds to.

For Example: if the endocannabinoids work with CB1 receptors in the spinal nerve, they might help to relieve the spinal pain. In case the endocannabinoids work with the CB2 receptors in the immune system, they might induce a signal that you have an immune inflammation.


They are responsible for the breakdown of the endocannabinoids. The ECS contains two types of enzymes:

  • Fatty acid amide hydrolase: This enzyme is responsible for the hydrolyzation of the endocannabinoid anandamide and related amidated signaling lipids.
  • Monoacylglycerol acid lipase: it’s responsible for the final step of hydrolysis. It normally hydrolyzes intracellular triglyceride stores in adipocytes and other cells to glycerol and fatty acids.

How Does CBD Interact with the ECS?

There are numerous research study reports that try to highlight how CBD interacts with the ECS. Until now, experts aren’t so sure about how this cannabis compound interacts with the cannabinoid receptors in the body.

Generally, experts can agree that CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system. However, it’s still unclear if it binds itself with the CB1 and CB2 receptors like the way THC does. What experts believe is that CBD usually works by preventing the endocannabinoid receptors from being broken down.

This means that the receptors have more time and a high level of efficiency to create certain effects in the body. That’s why it’s effective in easing pain and inflammation because it simply enhances the body’s natural responses.

Note: details about how CBD interacts with the ECS are still debatable. Its, therefore, important that more research is done to establish how CBD works when it gets into the human body

Benefits of CBD

CBD has many health benefits and that’s why the FDA-approved its use for the management of epilepsy disorders. When CBD interacts with the ECS, it enhances its effectiveness in the body. As a result, it can provide the body with benefits such as:

Neuroprotective Benefits

CBD is rich in antioxidants, a substance that helps to enhance natural oxidation. This means that the organic chemical compound can help to oxidize damaged cells that lead to illnesses and chronic diseases.

With such functionality, CBD is an effective neuroprotectant. It can help to effectively reduce damage to the brain and the nervous system. Besides that, it can help to encourage the growth and development of new neurons that the body needs.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that if you consume a product that contains the cannabis compound, it can help to ease inflammation. Research studies indicate that CBD helps to reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines that affect the immune cells. It can, therefore, be an effective remedy for:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases
  • Reperfusion injury

Stress and Anxiety Regulation

The calming and relaxing effects of CBD makes it effective in treating mental/ emotional health issues. CBD has anti-depressant and anti-anxiety properties. When it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, the compound can help to regulate stress and mood balance.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) is an umbrella phrase. It describes several health conditions that occur as a result of a deficiency in the endocannabinoid levels. This is usually in relation to how neurotransmitter deficiencies normally trigger the development of many other illnesses. For instance, CED can lead to serotonin deficiency that usually causes depression.

Theoretically, we can say CED occurs as a result of low amounts of endocannabinoids found in the ECS. This condition can occur in the following four ways:

  • Insufficient cannabinoid receptors: this simply means that the body lacks sufficient connectors for the endocannabinoids to attach themselves.
  • Synthesizing insufficient endocannabinoids: these create a deficiency and it means that they can’t make it to the receptors.
  • An overabundance of metabolic enzymes: the body produces excess amounts of enzymes that normally break down the endocannabinoid compounds.
  • Poor action between the cannabinoid and endocannabinoid receptors: it means that there is poor communication between these connectors and the compounds. This will certainly lead to weak signaling.

Signs of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency

How can you tell if you are suffering from CED? Well, some of the potential symptoms that you need to watch out for include:

  • Poor sleep patterns due to the lack of stimulation of CB1 receptors.
  • Stress due to low levels of anandamide in the ECS
  • Depression
  • Anger management issues
  • Bone loss
  • Conditions that related to heightened inflammation throughout the body such as arthritis

How Can You Support a Healthy Endocannabinoid System?

For you to lead a healthy life, you have to commit to maintaining the ECS. You have to ensure that you effectively balance the production of certain hormones/receptors in the body. Some of the management techniques you can employ:

Eating Endocannabinoid-Enhancing Foods

You need to eat foods that contain lots of fatty acids. Your body needs lots of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. This is crucial in enhancing the level of activity of ECS. Some of these food sources include:

  • Walnuts
  • Eggs
  • Chia seeds
  • Hemp seeds and hemp oil
  • Flax seeds
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Consider herbal tea made with turmeric, lemon balm, and black pepper

Heal Your Gut

Research studies indicate that there is a direct link between the gut microbiome and the ECS.  Data shows that the level of gut bacteria is important in regulating how the ECS functions. It’s, therefore, important for people to regulate the antibiotics they use.

If you can, avoid any unnecessary use of antibiotics because such drugs have compounds that damage the natural microbe. Alternatively, ensure that you consume lots of pre- and probiotic foods to get the gut microbiome in shape.

Engage in Endocannabinoid-Enhancing Activities

There are certain activities that can help to enhance the ECS function. Besides that, they can help improve your overall health. As a result, they help to minimize the chances of stress, leaving you feeling great. Such activities include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Social interaction
  • Massages
  • Unstructured playtime
  • Breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Osteopathic manipulation

Get Adequate Sleep

The body needs enough rest for it to recover from the effects of daily stress. Even though you can try to reduce your stress levels, it’s still important for you to get adequate sleep. Make sure that you get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. In case you are struggling with insomnia, there are CBD treatment options you can apply. This includes CBD bath bombs and CBD oil with melatonin.

Consider Your Family Health

Even though the characteristics of CED doesn’t resemble most genetic disorders, it’s still important to consider your family’s health. Research studies indicate that this condition has some form of genetic tendencies. So, if there are people in your family with it, there is a possibility that you might also get it.

Note: from the management tips above, it’s clear that there is no specific cure for this condition. The health of your endocannabinoid depends on your lifestyle. So, if you are incorporating poor eating habits, you are stressed and don’t even work out, chances are that your CED might get worse.

Final Thoughts

ECS is an important molecular system in the body.  It helps to regulate most of the functions in the body including immune response, bone remodeling and growth, the nerve function, and liver function among others.

Research studies indicate that CBD can actually enhance the effectiveness of the ECS. CBD has cannabinoids that can help to enhance the effectiveness of the ECS function. Even though the use of CBD for professional medical purposes hasn’t been legitimized, research can help get us there.


  • https://www.cbdmd.com/blog/post/signs-of-endocannabinoid-deficiency
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/#:~:text=Therefore%2C%20it%20has%20been%20suggested,of%20immune%20cells%20%5B66%5D.
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476#:~:text=A%20study%20from%20the%20European,of%20chronic%20pain%20to%20treat.
  • https://norml.org/marijuana/library/recent-medical-marijuana-research/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system/
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