An Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System
Unless you’ve been self-isolating for a few years without internet, you’ve probably heard all about CBD and how it can be used as a natural alternative for treating a wide range of symptoms. It is everywhere, from high street stores to online shops, and it’s available in almost every conceivable form including coffee, face creams, gummies and even bath bombs. But what you might not have heard about is the endocannabinoid system (ECS), and how CBD interacts with your ECS…
Incredibly, the ECS was only discovered in 1992 after years of research into the effects of Cannabis Sativa on the body. Your ECS plays a fundamental role in maintaining homeostasis (or balance) in the body. Made up of a network of receptors (predominantly CB1 and CB2), and endocannabinoids which function as messengers, these biochemical pathways maintain a stable internal environment that allows us to function optimally.
Endocannabinoids are crucial for a number of mechanisms in the body, including pain perception, inflammation response, appetite and mood regulation, your metabolic rate and your stress response.
And this is where it gets interesting:
CBD or cannabidiol is a phytocannabinoid that is very similar to the endocannabinoids that are produced naturally in the body, but it’s found in high concentrations in industrial hemp. CBD helps to modulate endocannabinoid production, as well as stimulating the receptors to function optimally.
So, how does that help you?
1. Stress, Anxiety and CBD
There is an undercurrent of stress that runs through days, and finding balance isn’t as simple as hitting the gym or focusing on our diets. It’s also about regaining a sense of calm and perspective, which is often easier said than done. But enjoying deep, restorative sleep, and ensuring that our mental and emotional health is being looked after is an essential part of becoming more resilient and able to adapt to the stresses of everyday life.
It’s not the human stress response is all bad. Even acute anxiety can be lifesaving when you’re faced with a life and death situation. The problem comes in when we get stuck in that ‘survival mode’, so things that shouldn’t be stressful can trigger an anxious response. Over time, this chronic stress has profound negative implications for our physical and mental health.
But help is at hand!
CBD supports serotonin receptors which modulate your emotional response to a situation; it may also encourage neural regeneration where cells have been damaged by chronic stress and help with neural reprogramming so we can unlearn our response to anxiety triggers. This, along with the work that it does in the gut where most of our body’s serotonin is produced, means that CBD offers a one-step, yet multi-faceted approach to reducing stress and anxiety.
Studies also show that CBD promotes relaxation and sleep, and may help with REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, and everybody knows how important sleep is for your mental health.
2. Gut Health and CBD
More and more, research is uncovering the vital role of gut health both for our physical and mental wellbeing. In fact, in many circles, it’s referred to as the second brain or mini-brainbecause of the role that it plays in digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.
Your gut is home to a high concentration of endocannabinoid receptors, that have a vital role to play in fighting inflammation, promoting digestion, regulating your mood as well as maintaining homeostasis in your gut’s microbiome.Your gut is also where over 90% of the body’s serotonin (also known as ‘the happy hormone’) is produced.
CBD supports your gut health by modulating gut motility to prevent constipation (if it is too slow) or diarrhoea (if it is too fast), it reduces gut inflammation (and can help with IBS symptoms among others) and boosts your immune system to prevent leaky gut.
3. Sex and CBD
This is an essential topic as healthy intimacy, both with yourself and your partner is a vital part of being human and sexual intimacy is an important component of this. But all too often, our stress, busyness, and anxiety mean sex is one of the first things to fall by the wayside. Then there is also sexualanxiety to consider. This has serious implications such as anorgasmia, erectile dysfunction and even physical pain. Anxiety can also exacerbate pain conditions, such as vaginismus.
CBD addresses both the symptoms and the underlying conditions to help to restore healthy sexual intimacy. CBD-infused topical products, such as a lubricant, can help reduce inflammation and improve blood flow, easing some of the physical pain symptoms and improving the sexual experience.
CBD also functions as a support for our largest sex organ: the mind. Daily CBD can mitigate anxiety which allows us to address, reframe and unlearn stress triggers in order to restore a stress-free, enjoyment-focused approach to intimacy.
Thinking about trying CBD?
We get it, life is stressful – your to-do list is jammed, and the days seem to fly by in a blur. It’s not just you, so many people are struggling – anxiety and depression are on the rise in the UK, and there’s no miracle cure that’s going to come along and make everything right. But you can take steps to improve your own life with wellness-focused tools and strategies that build strength and reliance. And CBD might be one of those tools. This natural alternative isn’t just for managing physical conditions or reducing symptoms, and it could help you regain balance and a sense of inner calm to help you face the challenges of your day head-on.
If you’ve read through this list of benefits and one or two,have resonated with you, or if you feel like CBD could help you manage you own health and wellness better – we’ll can help you get started. Whether you have questions about dosage, CBD safety or even what products would be a good fit, our passionate team would love to share more about this incredible natural alternative for promoting physical and mental health so please get in touch.