If it sounds like the ECS has a big job, that’s because it does. But, as with every internal system, the ECS can get thrown out of whack.
The ECS has two main parts: cannabinoids and cannabinoids receptors. The two interact like a lock-and-key system, with cannabinoids binding to receptors and triggering widespread physiological effects.
Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors1 in the ECS. But still, sometimes we develop deficiencies2. Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids that come from plants like hemp) can pick up some of the slack.*
Before you think that CBD can replace your body’s own cannabinoids, it’s important to understand that the compound has some limits. Unlike other cannabinoids, CBD does not bind directly with receptors, but it can still interact with them.
While more research is still needed to understand the role CBD plays in our ECS, there is early insight into the process. As Mignon Walker, M.D., director of SLIP Emotional Resistance Building explains, “CBD’s overall impact is to restore balance and reduce inflammation.*”
Medical cannabis expert and double-board certified doctor, Dave Gordon, M.D., agrees that CBD’s ability to influence the ECS is what makes it such a versatile tool. “CBD is an extremely valuable therapy, and we can think of its benefits in different ways,” he says.
“CBD addresses the root causes of why we get sick,” Gordon goes on to explain. “For example, too much inflammation is part of the root causes of nearly every single chronic condition, and CBD helps reduce too much inflammation, thus potentially helping so many different individuals and issues. CBD helps balance an overactive nervous system, which again is a key root cause of so many different issues, like anxiety, depression, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and trauma responses just to name a few.”*
Now that we’ve established how CBD works within our bodies, let’s dig into what the research says about the possible effects and use cases for CBD.