A guide to the human endocannabinoid system

The growing hype surrounding cannabidiol is certainly intriguing, but once you delve into the science behind its success it is hard to ignore the CBD buzz. It can all be attributed to the fascinating and mysterious workings of one vital biological system – the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS is an extremely complex network, interconnected with every other biological system in the body. Yet, few understand its importance in potentially every aspect of our health. We’re still in the midst of understanding the process – even scientists themselves aren’t entirely sure but Goodrays are here to clue you up on the basics. Here is our ECS 101: a brief guide to the human endocannabinoid system. The science behind the sip.  

What is the ECS – and what does it do?

The endocannabinoid system, or the ECS, is a vast and complex network of chemical signals and receptors. Every mammal has one, and it plays a vital role in our health and wellbeing. The ECS is what’s known as a cell-signalling system; it helps to send signals throughout various networks across the brain and body in order to maintain homeostasis – a state of biological balance. For this reason, the ECS is often referred to as our “universal regulator”.

It wasn’t until 1988, when researchers found cannabinoid receptors in the brain, that knowledge of the ECS came to be. These receptors, which soon became known as CB1 and CB2, span the brain and body; CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors are found in our immune system and peripheral organs. These receptors help to control the activity of other neurotransmitters, subsequently fine-tuning countless specific biological functions.

It was then discovered that the ECS plays its biological role through the signalling of endogenous – meaning “of internal origin” – cannabinoids, which are produced naturally by the human body. We have two key so-called “endocannabinoids”, most commonly known as AEA and 2-AG. The body produces these as and when they are needed, and they help to keep the ECS and all its related processes running smoothly. 

Since the ECS only makes up a short part of the history of human biology, there is still lots yet to discover. Despite this, the cannabis plant has been used by humans for millennia, and its effects on the brain and body were being investigated long before the discovery of the ECS.

New research has shed light on the dynamic relationship between our ECS and cannabis compounds. Researchers have noted that the two major cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), can hijack our ECS, thereby having powerful knock-on effects on our mood, appetite, sleep, immune system, pain perception, movement control, memory, fertility, bone health, and many other critical bodily functions.

Where CBD comes in

THC often steals the spotlight when we hear about the power of cannabis. Famed for its characteristic, mind-altering properties, and its ability to reduce pain and stimulate our appetite, THC certainly has some impressive therapeutic credentials. But here at Goodrays, we think CBD is the unsung hero of the cannabis plant.  

This particular plant-derived cannabinoid works very differently from THC in the brain, so it won’t get you high. It can, however, have some powerful interactions with our ECS that could result in significant improvements to our health and wellbeing. 

The ECS is inextricably linked to the immune system; the health of one is largely dependent on the other. Current research suggests that modulating the ECS with CBD could have a profound effect on levels of inflammation in the body. For this reason, many people are choosing to incorporate a dose of this cannabinoid into their daily routine to help fight aches and pains.  

CBD appears to benefit the brain as well as the body, perhaps being most celebrated for its positive effects on stress and anxiety. Surveys suggest that 31% of users currently use CBD to unwind after a stressful day, and there is even accumulating clinical evidence for its use in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Though, fascinatingly, scientific experts aren’t entirely sure how CBD interacts with our ECS. They know it doesn’t directly bind to cannabinoid receptors in the same way THC does and, instead, has a more indirect mechanism of action. The prevailing theory is that CBD prevents our endocannabinoids from being broken down, making them more widely available in the body. CBD may, therefore, act as a little ECS “boost”, which could be why it appears to have such widespread benefits for the health and wellbeing of those who use it. 

Why Goodrays?

CBD is now a hugely popular supplement in the world of wellness. There are countless types of CBD products available to try, but due to their skyrocketing popularity, many products out there aren’t all they’re hyped up to be.

At Goodrays, we cannot overstate the importance of buying your CBD from brands that use trustworthy manufacturers. Each of CBD our products is third-party tested and contains all-natural, Colorado-grown CBD – and they’re all THC-free. It’s CBD that you can trust.

Our refreshing CBD drinks offer a hearty 30 milligrams (mg) of CBD per can. Plus, they contain your daily dose of Vitamin D, which helps to support our immune system and bone health. For those after CBD that packs a punch, try a pack of our mixed CBD gummies. With 30 doses of 25 mg each, taking 2 or 3 CBD gummies per day could work wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. Or, if you’re after something a little more traditional, CBD oil could be for you. Our Night drops and Zen drops each contain 1000 mg of CBD per 30ml, so you can choose exactly how much CBD you take.

If you’re keen to uncover the mysterious relationship between CBD and the ECS for yourself, visit the shop here.


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