By: Martin Johnson, DHM, Owner and Natural Health Consultant
In order to understand why or how CBD oil provides so many health benefits, it is important to know what the Endocannabinoid (ECS) system is.
What is Endocannabinoid?
Endocannabinoid simply means cannabis like substance that naturally occurs inside us. The ECS itself is made up of three parts:
- Receptors in the nervous system and around the body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with to stimulate a response
- Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids so they can clear out from the receptor after it has made its impact
Not only is the ECS a natural part of our bodies, it’s a crucial one. To really understand the ECS it first helps to understand what homeostasis is.
What is Homeostasis?
Homeostasis is your body’s efforts to keep everything in the right balance. It tries to keep your internal environment stable and optimal no matter what’s going on in the environment around you. When something is operating outside of the right range, your body activates the ECS to help correct it. So when you are really hot and begin to sweat, thank your ECS for working to cool you down. Stomach growling? That’s your ECS helping to remind you to eat because you need fuel.
The ECS does this via cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues. We have (at least) two types of cannabinoid receptors.
- CB1 which is in the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord). THC from the marijuana plant mostly plugs into this receptor producing a psychoactive effect.
- CB2 which is in the nerves in your extremities, the digestive system and specialized cells in the immune system. It is associated with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. CBD from the marijuana plant mostly plugs into this receptor.
Through these receptors, the ECS helps regulates a lot of important functions such as
- Sleep memory
- Reproduction/fertility motor control
- Temperature regulation
- Immune function
Your body activates the ECS with precision so that it impacts only what it needs to. For example, if your reproductive hormones are out of whack, it will work to regulate them without altering your digestion or immune system. Then, once the endocannabinoids have done their job and brought things into balance, certain enzymes come along to break them down and prevent them from going too far and upsetting the balance in the opposite direction. It’s a precise response.
That’s different from what happens if someone smokes marijuana and floods their system with cannabinoids. Then the drug has wide-ranging impacts on physiology, some of which may be beneficial while others may be harmful.
Homeostasis is essential to our health and survival, so when the ECS isn’t working properly, it can cause a lot of problems for you. Because cannabis products can stimulate activity of the ECS, they’re obvious targets for potential treatments, and a ton of research is going on around the world.
Endocannabinoid tone or balance is influenced by multiple external factors such as physical activity, stress, and eating a well-balanced diet of macronutrients, fats, micronutrients and phytonutrients from whole unadulterated foods. When diet and lifestyle factors are less than ideal, like many people in America, supporting the ECS with direct external factors such as cannabis oil (CBD) can prove to be very beneficial.
Finding Quality CBD Oil
There are many brands and qualities of CBD oil products on the market and the most common question I get is “How do I know I’m getting a quality CBD that will be most effective?”
This is my criteria, and what we hold at Total Health Nutrition Center when selling CBD and supporting serious conditions in our clinic:
- Must be organic
- Monitored from seed to bottle through the entire manufacturing process.
- Extracted with non-toxic chemicals
- Must be free from toxins such as chemicals and heavy metals, and has been proven by independent lab analysis.
- Must be full spectrum, meaning it has all the phytonutrients, natural oils, and bioactive phytochemical metabolites that nurture the ECS as proven by independent lab analysis.
- Must contain some THC as proven by lab analysis. Legal limit is under .3% THC
- Must be medical grade meaning all the manufacturing process are followed per FDA pharmaceutical regulations.
If a retailer or online store cannot answer to these criteria or provide lab analysis you are “flying in the wind” with knowing, you are getting quality safe CBD products.
The last point I would like to touch on is the matter of sufficient dietary polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) in the human body.
PUFA’s Are Key to How Effective CBD Oil Will Be
PUFA’s are precursors and homeostatic regulators of the (ECS), molecules from these fats bind to cannabinoid receptors like CB2 (again CB2 receptors are the main receptor CBD binds too). So, PUFA’s are a key step in maintaining the health of the ECS and key to how effective a CBD oil product will be. There are two types of PUFA’s omega 3 and omega 6. The American diet tends to be very top heavy in omega 6 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega 6’s can trigger the body to produce inflammation. These fatty acids are found in oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, etc.
Omega 3 fatty acids are much more likely to be deficient in humans due to a lack of consuming the correct dietary sources. It is estimated that only 2% of the population has adequate omega 3 levels. Foods like fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts have good levels of omega 3’s.
Because of the importance of these oils and their role in supporting the ECS we suggest a simple lab test to our clients that will determine if there is sufficient omega 3 blood saturation. A $60 lab test can make the difference if your CBD product is going to give you maximum effect and ensure better ECS overall balance.
Learn more about How to Maximize the Use of CBD for Chronic Pain
Still Have Questions?
There is much more to talk about when it comes to the ECS, CBD, THC, and how they impact your everyday overall health, but hopefully I touched on some key points that will help make your next purchase of a cannabis CBD product easier and less intimidating. If you have future questions on this topic, you can sign up for one of our free seminars, email with a question, or call us to order product or the valuable home lab test I spoke of.