The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is possibly the most important physiological system in the human body (and in most other animals). This system is composed of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid 1 and cannabinoid 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors, and enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids. It is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or balance of all other physiological systems in the body. A good way to remember what the ECS regulates is “relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect” (Di Marzo, 1998).
Endocannabinoids (endo= internal, vs phytocannabinoids, phyto = plant) stimulate the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The most well known endocannabinoids are anandamide (the “bliss molecule,” named for the Sanskrit word “ananda”) and 2-arachidonylglycerol (2-AG).
The ECS regulates pain signaling, psychomotor behavior, memory, heat regulation, and appetite in the CNS. Peripherally it regulates immunity, the cardiovascular system, the reproductive system, energy balance, and it also processes the endo- and phytocannabinoids (like THC, CBD, CBG, etc).
Imbalance of our endocannabinoids is thought to contribute to chronic illness, migraines, and auto-immune disorders. Phytocannabinoids can assist in balancing the ECS, as well as other wellness activities such as engaging in exercise that you love, yoga, acupuncture, omega 3 fatty acids, and more!
Di Marzo, V. 1998. “‘Endocannabinoids’ and other fatty acid derivatives with cannabimimetic properties: biochemistry and possible physiopathological relevance.” Biochim Biophys Acta 1392 (2-3):153- 75.
Russo E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 1(1), 154–165. https://doi.org/10.1089/can.2016.0009
CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is one of the most prevalent phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids, of which over 100 have been identified). This substance is found in the resin of the flowers of the Cannabis sativa plant, both in medical-grade cannabis and in low-THC hemp.
One of the main ways that CBD works is by stimulating receptors in the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is a system of receptors and neurotransmitters (called endogenous cannabinoids or “endocannabinoids”) in the human body (as well as that of many animals). The ECS is helps regulate many aspects of functioning, including hunger, rest, mood, anxiety, pain and stress response, immune function, energy levels, digestion and metabolism, blood pressure and heart activity, and bone density, among others. Imbalances in ECS are linked to various diseases and health conditions, and CBD and other cannabinoids can be used to help restore healthy functioning of this system.
Although CBD is extracted from the same plant as THC it will not make you “high” and is considered to be non-euphoric. That said, very high doses (over 400 mg) have been found to cause some sedation, and lower doses (10-50 mg) are more associated with wakefulness.
THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is one of the main cannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa and is known for its euphoric, anti-nausea, pain-relieving, anti-spasmodic, and sedating effects (among others). Currently THC is federally illegal in the US, but many states have implemented medical and recreational Cannabis programs to regulate the safe use of cannabis containing THC.
Full Spectrum CBD contains all of the phytochemicals found in the plant: terpenes, minor cannabinoids, flavonoids, etc. In all states, full spectrum CBD can legally contain 0.3% or less THC. With full spectrum CBD products, one can experience more of the Entourage Effect.
Broad Spectrum CBD contains all of the phytochemicals found in the plant, but all THC has been removed. One can still experience the “Entourage Effect” with broad spectrum products from the other minor cannabinoids and phytochemicals. This might be an effective product for someone who is highly sensitive to THC or who is concerned about taking a drug test.
CBD isolate is CBD that has been removed from the plant and has no traces of other phytochemicals, cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. It looks like a white powder and can be helpful when one is trying to consume very high doses of CBD or if there is concern over any amount of THC causing a failed drug test.
“The Entourage Effect” is a term used to describe how cannabis phytochemicals (cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) work together harmoniously and synergistically to enhance the medicine’s effects.
CB2 receptors are found throughout all of the layers of human skin. CBD topicals directly stimulate the CB2 receptors and can reduce pain and inflammation.
A 45-minute cannabis consultation includes an overview of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), as well as education about different types of cannabis, the components of the plant, and various methods of consumption or use. We will discuss CBD and THC as well as other cannabinoids and how they work individually and together. In addition, we will create an individualized wellness plan incorporating cannabis, wellness activities, foods, and other nourishing and medicinal herbs.