Discovering the Endocannabinoid System: A Journey Towards Balanced Wellness
Understanding The Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System is akin to other crucial systems within our bodies, like the nervous and endocrine systems. Comprising a series of receptors and endocannabinoids, its core aim is to achieve homeostasis, ensuring balance amidst internal and external stimuli (Episode 5: Your Endocannabinoid System – The Basics Part 1).
Comparing ECS to Other Bodily Systems
The ‘fight or flight’ response mechanism is a comparable system that reacts to environmental triggers, yet the ECS operates in a unique and crucial way, especially when it comes to interacting with cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant.
The Historical Journey Towards Discovering ECS
The quest for understanding ECS began in the 1940s with the isolation of cannabinoids, but the real breakthrough came in the 1990s with the discovery of endogenous cannabinoids—compounds produced by our bodies resembling cannabinoids in the cannabis plant.
Realizing ECS’s Significance
Though a recent discovery, the ECS is now deemed essential for human health, with its importance often compared to the discovery of the central nervous system. The potential implications of a balanced ECS are enormous and continually being explored.
Why is the ECS Crucial for Our Health?
The well-being of the ECS could be key to managing conditions like fibromyalgia, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome. The health of the ECS seems to be intertwined with many modern-day ailments (Endocannabinoid Deficiency).
External Cannabinoids and ECS
Supplementing with external cannabinoids like CBD can potentially restore balance to the ECS, promoting better health (What is CBD?).
1. How did the name ‘Endocannabinoid System’ come about?
The name ‘Endocannabinoid System’ was derived from cannabis because the system was discovered through cannabis research, not because it requires cannabis to function.
2. Where can I find more information on the ECS?
3. How does CBD interact with the ECS?
CBD interacts with the receptors of the ECS, potentially aiding in maintaining balance and promoting better health.
The exploration of the Endocannabinoid System is akin to venturing into a new frontier of human physiology. With ongoing research and growing understanding, the significance of a balanced ECS continues to unfold. Here at Full Spectrum Living with CBD, we are thrilled to share this enlightening journey with our listeners and readers, fostering a deeper understanding of how CBD interacts with our bodies for improved health and wellness.
For a more in-depth discussion, tune into Episode 5: Your Endocannabinoid System – The Basics Part 1 or explore our blog for more insights on CBD and the Endocannabinoid System.
*DISCLAIMER: This is a transcript of episode 5 – Your Endocannabinoid System – The Basics Part 1 from our Full Spectrum Living with CBD podcast. Click here to listen to the podcast episode or click here to watch the video.
Ep5_YOUR ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM – THE BASICS PART 1
Meredith [00:00:06] Welcome back to Full Spectrum Living with CBD. My name is Meredith and I am your co-host here with Jessica and Adriane. And today we’re gonna take the mystery out of the Endocannabinoid System. I am super excited for this topic because I couldn’t even spell Endocannabinoid when we started the conversation. And now I know I’m just going to learn so much. So today we’re gonna talk about really what is the Endocannabinoid System to start with? So who wants to tell more about that?
Adriane [00:00:34] Oh, my gosh. So this is a big topic. This is a big topic. We are definitely not research scientists or doctors. So we just want to put that out there. But we are passionate about this topic. So we do a lot of research. We have some really credible sources just throwing that out there that will link to you later. But just to start off to your point, Meredith, the Endocannabinoid System, like, what is it? Well, it’s it’s a physiological system that’s like the other ones that we have in our body. Right. So you have just like your endocrine system and your nervous system, it is found within the body. It has a series of receptors and endocannabinoids within the body. And its sole purpose is to bring balance to the body, whether it’s from external stimuli or internal stimuli. It wants homeostasis.
Meredith [00:01:20] Perfect. OK. So can you give me an example of like another system in the body that functions similar to this that people may have heard of? So they have a point of reference or a way to relate that?
Adriane [00:01:31] Yeah. So, Jessica I don’t know if you had one off the top of your head.
Jessica [00:01:34] Yeah, I was going to say like fight or flight response, just reacting to something that’s happening in your environment and just the cascade of events that happens internally to help you prepare for that. I think that would be a good comparison. But the Endocannabinoid System is it is it’s really significant and it’s really different. And it’s newly discovered. So it’s very exciting.
Meredith [00:01:58] And that’s what you’re saying. I mean, this is you’re kind of on the forefront of something new, right? I mean, this is a new system of the body that was just discovered pretty recently, right?
Jessica [00:02:08] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So basically, kind of just like a brief history of how we found this. So starting back in like the 40’s, we able to kind of locate and find and then isolate some cannabinoids. And up through the 60s and 80s, that was really the the peak of research that was happening. So a cannabinoid, a phytocannabinoid is an element, a chemical structure or a compound found in a cannabis plant. If it’s phytocannabinoid and they’ve found at, to date, I think there’s like a hundred and eighteen phytocannabinoids, something like that, which most of we don’t know a ton about. But the most abundant ones, CBD and THC, we know quite a bit about and are studying more. So, you know, just up until like the 60’s or 80’s, that was the focus of research. And then we started to discover that was acting in the body in certain ways and it peaked curiosities. And then in the mid 90s it was well, early 90s. So nineteen ninety two we found that we have endogenous cannabinoids. So things that our body are producing that the the structures of cannabis plants mimic internally. So when we found that we have endogenous cannabinoids, we had to explain like why and how they work and what they stimulate and what they do. And so we kind of just from their work backwards to discover a series of receptors and enzymes that are all connected in how they communicate and function. And it was named the Endocannabinoid System, where Endocannabinoid system, depending on what region you’re from. And so basically from there, it just kind of spiraled into what it is today which is just massive amounts of research. Peer reviewed studies being done in multiple nations and just really accumulating a lot of very impressive research that it has a lot of implications in human health.
Meredith [00:04:26] So if I understand what you’re saying is that there are actually elements in my body right now that my body has produced naturally. Right, that that my body has made just like my body makes bone marrow or my body makes blood cells or, you know, my body makes all sorts of things in order for my body to function. Right. So you’re saying that there is an element that my body creates on its own naturally that is identical or nearly identical to elements that are found in cannabis?
Jessica [00:04:58] Yeah. So that the endogenous cannabinoids, the elements that your body produce, the most well-known are 2-AG and Anandamide, and so I like to point out with this Anandamide, Ananda is Sanskrit, for the, for bliss so its referred to as the bliss molecule by some. But basically, yeah, you produce those and you produce them at need and we’ll grow into that more I think in our next episode. But just responding to stimulus in your body. Fun fact: you produce them in breast milk and its thought that is associated with forming bond between mother and child and stimulating appetite and satiation.
Meredith [00:05:46] So it’s just so incredible to me that what you’re saying is that I have this system that creates this element that can be identically matched to the cannabinoid. And so that must mean then that my body can have different levels of this and different levels of function of my endocannabinoid system. It can be functioning well, it can be functioning poorly. And then when I supplement with an external cannabinoid, it can bring that system into balance. Does that. But that’s a fair statement that?
Adriane [00:06:20] That is a fair statement. Absolutely. And we can definitely dig into that further. But it really does come down to. So if you think about it. You asked about a system that was kind of similar to that. Well, similar to our endocannabinoid receptors that we have in our body. We also have opioid receptors. Right. So, opium from poppy, also from plant. But also meant to accept and to bring those things in our body that helped bring and that are largely therapeutic or our body needs in order to maintain. Right. So same thing with nicotine. We have nicotine receptors within our body. So our bodies are made to consume these plant materials and to, you know, bring bring us in balance when it comes is specifically for the endo cannabinoid system or actually maybe bring pain relief or other things that kind of come with those other plant materials.
Meredith [00:07:09] OK. So when it comes to like, the significance of the endocannabinoid system. Right. So we’ve talked about like, what is it? When did we discover it? How did how did that happen? Kind of the history. Why is this system so significant in my body? Maybe compared to other systems or, you know, why should I care if my endocannabinoid system is in balance or not?
Adriane [00:07:34] Well, so there’s there’s been a lot of studies into it. And again, while it is fairly new, it is yesterday in the science and medical world. Right. So the early 1990s, it wasn’t that long ago, although cannabis has been used in therapies for, you know, five thousand plus years. Again, the fact that we just found this system is it’s so new. So there’s a lot of more studies that still need to be done. But there’s been a lot of really good studies that focus on the health of the endocannabinoid system and how it relates to a lot of the conditions that are plaguing us today. Things like fibromyalgia, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome are largely rooted in the health of the endocannabinoid system.
Meredith [00:08:18] And so if someone’s how how can someone’s endocannabinoid system have gotten out of whack in the first place?
Jessica [00:08:26] I think like many other things, it’s kind of a combination of an assault from your external environment. So what we’re experiencing through our diets and through pollution or whatever, but also just natural predispositions to genetically, maybe someone is more likely to have fewer receptors or enzymes that break down the endogenous cannabinoids. And so a lot of different variables. And I don’t think we quite know exactly why, because I think it’s different often from person to person. Right.
Meredith [00:09:04] And so you guys were, we were talking and you were sharing with me that you’ve even had someone challenge you as to whether or not this endocannabinoid system was real or if you if you had made it up.
Adriane [00:09:16] So it’s a funny story and I don’t blame the woman at all. So it was a probably I think in twenty seventeen we were in store and trying to explain to a consumer who had walked in and she was curious as to why it worked and how quickly she was going to see results. And I mentioned the Endocannabinoid system and she literally like, quote unquote said, you’re making that up. You have just you’ve made this up, which I thought was flattering because that’s amazing. Right. So I was like I wish I had and I wish this this was my discovery or I wish I was so creative to come up with something like this. But because of the fact that it’s so new and people hadn’t heard about it, people were still learning about CBD. People today are still learning about CBD and hearing about cannabidiol for the first time. So it makes sense that when hearing about the endocannabinoid system where, to be perfectly honest, there’s some doctors out there that a couple of years ago hadn’t heard about the Endocannabinoid system. It’s not part of what they teach in medical school. I think that that’s probably changing. And, you know, and that’s I’ve never gone to medical school, so I can’t I’m not speaking from personal experience, but I’m taking that from conversations that we’ve had with physicians that sort of said we don’t study the endocannabinoid system in college.
Jessica [00:10:31] I think it’s changed from just being almost kind of shunned or mocked like it was, you know, pseudoscience or something, to it’s progressed and people are acknowledging that it is real. I have heard a few physicians who said recently, you know, they’ll have a day devoted to this system in like a nursing or medical school. But I think that that’s that’s really accelerating, too. I’ve seen a lot of movement in from what we’ve heard in pharmacy schools and schools for physicians where that’s going to be not, not mentioned and not just a day, but an entire course, hopefully soon as as it should be. I mean, it’s there’s a lot of really powerful quotes from physicians and one that I like to share, which I’ll probably butcher the quote, quote, because I don’t have it written down right now. But Dr. David Allen just recently retired as a heart surgeon to become a full time researcher with the International Cannabinoid Research Society, I think is what its called. And he’s quoted as saying that the discovery of the endo cannabinoid system is singlehandedly one of the most important medical discoveries of our lifetime. And in his opinion, will save more lives than the discovery of the sterile surgical technique. And I’m a heart physician saying this. He says soon his quote, you know, so I mean, that he’s not the only one saying something so strong. But it’s like it’s like we just discovered discovered the central nervous system or something. You know, I mean, it’s that important. And yet we’re just scratching the surface on what’s happening, like what the elements that we do know that are involved. There’s a lot of things that are still unexplained as to what’s happening. So we know that there’s more receptors and endogenous cannabinoids than we’re familiar with at the moment. So lots to learn.
Meredith [00:12:27] So do you feel like this is a time period that we will look back on as kind of like the pioneering days of really understanding the endocannabinoid system, really the role it plays in our body, even even how we use CBD to bring that system back into play? Do you feel like these are the days that we’ll look back on and say, like, wow, you know, those were those were, the people that were involved in this industry, the people that were doing the research are the real pioneers around helping people to find find relief and find healing.
Jessica [00:13:01] I honestly, I think that was maybe 20 years ago as far as the research is. But for the common layperson or whatever, like us, it gets it’s just now taking hold in and how important that is for general health. And so like as a whole for a population, I think. Yeah, right now is when we’re discovering that. It’s being recognized. But I think research wise, the pioneer days were 20 and 30 years ago, if not more.
Adriane [00:13:31] Now, I would say pioneer days from the forward thinkers for sure. I think when it comes to what Jessica talks about from the from the overall public. Yes. And I think that also includes the medical community. And I think anytime that you put the medical community and their seal of approval on it, it automatically restarts the clock. In my opinion. So to your point, I do think that this would be the time that people will look back to as like it started today, like this is the day that it started similar to I mean, kind of like with the federal farm bill of 2018, “oh hemp is legal in 2018”, well hemp was legal in 2014. How could we forget the last four years? So I think differently that, like it restarts the clock. So I think. People will start looking back to and we’ll mention some other studies that did happen. Thirty five years ago that were you sat there and I think I’d like one to stab a knife through my heart thinking about how we, how much further we could have been in this whole process. And we can talk about that later.
Meredith [00:14:29] Sure. Sure. All right. Well, any other thoughts that you want to add or share about the endocannabinoid system?
Jessica [00:14:36] Millions.
Adriane [00:14:39] It’s complex.
Meredith [00:14:40] So we’re going to have some additional episodes that are going to dove into more of the complexity of it. But when it comes to the history, the significance and really the reason that you wanted to share this piece, it was so that people would know that they have this system and know that ultimately it’s because of the system that CBD has an impact on us. Right?
Adriane [00:15:03] Exactly right. Exactly right. I don’t think that you can truly understand or have the belief in the quality CBD product if you don’t actually understand at least a little bit as to why it’s working. And especially if you’re going out there and you’re going to have a conversation with your doctor and you’re nervous about having this conversation with your doctor, about wanting to try a quality CBD product going in there with, but then, “Doctor, tell me about the endocannabinoid system”. Because while a lot of doctors are yes, there they are opening up to it and they’re supportive of it. There are still some physicians that aren’t. So being able to respectfully challenge your physician and say, but what if. If we have this, then why is this something that you’re not for? I think it’s a healthy conversation and something that every everybody should be willing to have a conversation with their doctor about.
Meredith [00:15:57] Awesome. Awesome. Did you have another thought there, Jessica?
Jessica [00:15:59] Oh, no, it’s probably off subject. I would just wanted to point out that this system was named after cannabis, not because, like, it requires cannabis to work, but because we found it through research in cannabis. I wanted to kind of specify that, because there seems to be confusion around that. But you don’t have to take cannabis to have this system. It exists whether you have no experience with it or not. But as it turns out, the cannabinoids produced in the plant are a great match to help improve the health of this system when used correctly. And it’s exciting that we’re in a time where we’re learning how to do that.
Adriane [00:16:34] And have access to it.
Meredith [00:16:35] Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, for this episode of Full Spectrum Living with CBD, I want to make sure that we’ve shared with people if they want to know more about this or about the broader topics of CBD, where can they go to find that information?
Adriane [00:16:49] So we’ll definitely have a blog post on this specific podcast. We’ll definitely link you to some of our sources that we use for research so you can actually have access to the information that we’ve used to get this in to get this to you. In addition to some of the studies that talk about some of the deficiency syndromes and so forth.
Meredith [00:17:08] Awesome. Awesome. That’s gonna be great to have that as a resource. So for this episode of Full Spectrum Living with CBD, I am your co-host, Meredith, here with your hosts, Jessica and Adriane. And we will see you all the next time. Bye.