To fully understand how cannabidiol (CBD) reduces pain, easing stress, aiding sleep, and more, you need first to understand what the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is. The ECS is a vital molecular system that plays a very important role in maintaining homeostasis, which is the body’s efforts to maintain stable functionality and operate optimally regardless of any changes in its environment. For example, when we want our cells to maintain optimum performance so that our body temperature isn’t too hot or cold, our blood pressure is healthy, and our glucose levels aren’t too high or too low homeostasis comes into play.
The ECS is made up of three components: endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes. The ECS was first discovered in the late ’80s and early ’90s, although there is still much that scientists are learning about it today. 
Understanding ECS components
An endocannabinoid is a neurotransmitter that sends chemical messages between neurons, the cells that transmit nerve impulses. Endocannabinoids are produced naturally by cells within the body and located in the brain, organs, glands, immune cells, and connective tissue to help regulate sleep, appetite, mood, immune function, and pain, as well as many more functions. For example, at the site of an injury, an endocannabinoid will decrease the release of activators and sensitizers to the injured area, stabilize the nerve cells, and calm the nearby immune cells.
Endocannabinoid receptors or cannabinoid receptors reside on cell surfaces and “listen” to conditions outside the cell. They transmit information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell. The two main cannabinoid receptors are CB1 receptors, mostly localized in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), and CB2 receptors, found mostly in immune cells in peripheral organs. Cannabinoid receptors interact with endocannabinoids. When they interact with cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids trigger the release of chemicals to help maintain functional balance.
The third component of the ECS is enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids once they have carried out their function.
The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
When the body’s endocannabinoid system is depleted, phytocannabinoids, which are plant substances, activate the body’s ECS by interacting with the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors to help supplement and promote homeostasis. Both Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of over 60 Phytocannabinoids or naturally-occurring chemicals found in industrial hemp and marijuana, both of which are varieties of cannabis. Unlike THC, CBD is not mind-altering or habit-forming.
CBD interacts with the CB1 receptors in the brain and the CB2 receptors in the immune system alleviating mental conditions such as anxiety and physical ailments, including muscle spasms, pain, and swelling.
All CBD products contain CBD oil, which is added to the range of CBD offerings, from topicals to tinctures, capsules, and gummies. Before any products are made, CBD oil needs to be extracted from the hemp plant. Once ingested or absorbed into the body through the skin. The subsequent interaction of CBD oil and the endocannabinoid system provides pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and calming effects.
Lab+Blends offers a range of CBD products from topicals to tinctures for relief from pain, inflammation, and stress. Find out more about our products.