The Endocannabinoid System is heavily discussed in the CBD community, and for a good reason. It helps maintain balance within the body and provides a large number of benefits. It can improve not only an individual’s physical health but also their mental health. The Endocannabinoid System is one of receptors, compounds, and enzymes.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid System is a complex system within the body that sends signals to the cells. There are three major parts to the system enzymes, receptors, and endocannabinoids. The body makes these molecules. Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids, such as CBD. Researchers have isolated two critical endocannabinoids, anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The body produces them as they are needed, and they help the body run at peak conditions.

Endocannabinoids bind to endocannabinoid receptors to send a signal that the body needs help from the Endocannabinoid System. Since endocannabinoid receptors are throughout the body, the Endocannabinoid System can send help to a specific part of the body. Two receptors handle most of the work throughout the body. One of the receptors, CB1, is found in the central nervous system, and CB2 is located in the peripheral nervous system, like immune cells. Depending on which receptor the endocannabinoids bind to dictates how the body responds and how it benefits the body.

The enzymes in the body break down the endocannabinoids once they have completed their role. For example, fatty acid amide hydrolase breaks down AEA, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down 2-AG.

How the Endocannabinoid System Impacts Mental Health

The Endocannabinoid System helps regulate sleep and mood, among other functions of the body. It can improve emotion, cognition, and mental health, which are all processes of the brain. There are high levels of CB1 in several regions of the brain, such as the hippocampus,  neocortex, cerebellum, and hypothalamus. These are the areas of the brain active when you have an emotional or behavioral reaction. For example, when the CB1 receptor is blocked, it causes anxiety to increase.

Researchers also found that the endocannabinoid 2-AG is key to regulating emotions and emotional behavior. When there is a smaller amount of 2-AG, there is an increase in depression and anxiety. Conversely, an increase in 2-AG means there is a decrease in depression and anxiety. Anxiety disorders include depression, phobia, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many people live with anxiety and other mental health conditions. It is found that these conditions are often worsened by stress. When the Endocannabinoid System is working correctly, there is a reduction in stress throughout the body.

The Endocannabinoid System, CBD, and Anxiety Disorders

There is research to show that cannabidiol (CBD) impacts the Endocannabinoid System. CBD is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant. CBD is different from delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in that it does not produce the high feeling associated with marijuana. While researchers are not quite sure how CBD impacts the Endocannabinoid System, however, it is known that there is a positive interaction. It is believed that CBD prevents endocannabinoids from breaking down. This gives the endocannabinoids the ability to make an impact for an extended period of time positively. There is also a belief that CBD binds to receptors that have not yet been discovered.

CBD reduces the symptoms of anxiety. In addition to a reduction in general anxiety symptoms, it has also been shown to reduce symptoms related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, social anxiety, and PTSD. In addition, CBD can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Depression is among the most common mental health conditions. CBD has antidepressant impacts on the body because it interacts with the serotonin receptors in the brain. If you have lower levels of serotonin in your body, feelings of depression can be more prevalent. Conversely, when there are higher serotonin levels in the body, the feelings of depression are less prevalent. CBD is able to interact with the serotonin that is in the body and help the body and the brain better respond to what is already there.

Those living with mental disorders often have irregular sleep patterns or do not sleep at all. CBD has been shown to have the ability for people to feel calm. When stress is reduced, people often find it easier to sleep. Sleep is important for overall general health and mental health. When you do not get proper rest, it is difficult for your brain to function correctly. CBD can help you get a restful sleep allowing your brain to recharge and function optimally, which can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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