Every cannabinoid you consume — from delta 8 to CBD — interacts with a natural network in your body known as the endocannabinoid system.
The Role of the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. When this system is in balance, you are operating at optimal performance. It runs throughout the body, connecting to muscles, organs, even parts of the skin.
Below is just a small sample of the functions the endocannabinoid system helps regulate:
As you can see, this system impacts nearly every aspect of waking life. Since its discovery, scientists have become completely fascinated by the endocannabinoid system, and it is seen as a powerful tool for unlocking and improving performance and health.
The ECS exists in three distinct parts.
- The first are the receptors located all over the system.
- The second are endocannabinoids — natural compounds the body produces. These endocannabinoids bind with receptors.
- The final part are the enzymes that break these compounds down.
Together these three independent parts work together to monitor and adjust your waking experience. But there is a crucial fourth part, and that is the presence of cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are exactly like endocannabinoids, except they are produced outside of the body. Specifically, cannabinoids come from hemp and cannabis plants, and they bind with the same receptors as endocannabinoids. The same set of enzymes also break them down. Your body effectively treats these compounds in the exact same way.
The two most important sets of receptors are known as the CB1 and CB2 receptors. All cannabinoids you consume bind with either the CB1 receptors or the CB2 — or both. And it is these connections that generate the powerful, potentially-therapeutic effects that have made cannabinoids products so appealing.
Below is a simple breakdown of the types of connections these receptors forge:
CBD — CBD forms bonds with the CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors are located mostly in the deep muscle tissue, and are thought to generate soothing properties that can be effective in a number of applications.
Delta 9 THC — Delta 9 is the active compound in cannabis. It binds tightly to the CB1 receptors, which are the set responsible for the psychoactivity.
Delta 8 THC — Delta 8 is unique in that it binds with both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The connections it forms allow it to provide some of the effects of both delta 9 and CBD, in a softer, more tolerable way. Unlike delta 9, delta 8 is federally legal.
Future of the Endocannabinoid System
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the early 1990s immediately furthered scientist’s understanding of the human body, and it marks an important step towards better understanding cannabinoids and their potential medicinal applications.
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