Like Goldilocks from everyone’s beloved fairy tale, we are constantly seeking the right balance in every aspect of our lives – that finicky sweet spot that’s “just right”. We adjust thermostats and dress accordingly to keep our bodies at a comfortable temperature; we go to sleep at a certain time to ensure we get the perfect amount of rest to wake up refreshed and focused; we adjust the flavors in our food so that it’s not too bland or too over-seasoned. While you may not notice it, our bodies are always hard at work to maintain equilibrium as well. This process is known as homeostasis, which is achieved when the separate but interdependent components in your body maintains a stable, harmonious environment. But why is this balance so important? How does this equilibrium affect our bodies and our well-being?
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS)
One of the critical players in achieving and maintaining homeostasis in your body is your endocannabinoid system (ECS). It is a complex biological system with three key components: endocannabinoids (neurotransmitters that are naturally produced by our body), cannabinoid receptors, and metabolic enzymes (responsible for producing and breaking down cannabinoids).
Cannabinoid receptors can be found throughout our bodies. Of the most well-known are CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are most abundant in the brain, though they are also present in some other parts of the body such as the digestive system. They can influence our mood, appetite, and motor activity, among other things. CB2 receptors are predominantly found in the immune system, but are also present in other parts of the body such as the nervous system. They have an impact on our bodies’ responses to things such as pain and inflammation.
Endocannabinoids play a role in regulating and modulating a number of physiological systems within your body, including your immune system, digestive system, mental health, pain and inflammation management, appetite, memory, energy balance, sleep, stress responses, reward circuits, and much more. Given its widespread influence on your body’s functions, you can see why it’s important to keep your ECS balanced and happy to maintain long-term wellness. But what happens when your ECS is thrown out of balance? How does that affect our bodies?
BALANCING YOUR ENDOCANANBINOID SYSTEM
Your endocannabinoid system can be out of balance from time to time. Your serotonin, dopamine, and endocannabinoid levels can sometimes be too high or too low, causing your body to accommodate by adjusting your receptor count. Common causes of ECS imbalance are attributed to stress, poor diet, disease and illness, drugs and medication, as well as genetics. While some of these contributing factors are out of your control (like your genetics or certain medications that you are required to take), lifestyle changes can help combat some of the imbalances. For example, finding healthy ways to manage stress and anxiousness, choosing better food options, and exercising can all help with your overall wellness.
When our endocannabinoid levels are low, it can cause your body to adjust by reducing its cannabinoid receptors. This can lead to endocannabinoid deficiency, which can result in many symptoms including migraines, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other maladies.
WHAT CBD CAN DO FOR YOUR ECS
An increasingly popular way to help keep the balance in your ECS is through the intake of CBD in the form of oil or other products. CBD is a cannabinoid that is naturally produced by the cannabis plant, and it interacts with CB1 and CB2 receptors to help manage physiological functions throughout your body. CBD also promotes a healthy balance of your natural endocannabinoid levels, helping your ECS restore equilibrium for optimal wellness.CBD is non-intoxicating and non-addictive, making it a safe and natural way to keep your endocannabinoid system in balance. It can be enjoyed in many forms, such as tinctures, gummies, roll-ons, massage oils, creams, lotions, and much more. If you’re thinking of trying CBD for stress relief, pain management, or overall wellness, be sure that you consider these five key questions before buying CBD products.