Endocannabinoid Production in the Human Body
The endocannabinoid system impacts nearly every bodily function. Without endocannabinoids, many normal processes begin to go awry.
Not long after the first cannabinoid was isolated from the cannabis plant, scientists discovered the human body produces similar substances.
These endogenous cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, are neurotransmitters that perform a wide range of functions in the human body. From regulating pain to reducing anxiety, cannabinoids and their receptors play a huge role in maintaining mental, physical, and emotional homeostasis.
Below, you’ll find information on some of the most important endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the role CBD oil can play in treating endocannabinoid deficiency.
Endocannabinoid System Functions
This endocannabinoid system is responsible for a number of functions within the human body, including:
- Cognition, memory, and focus
- Pain perception and management
- Immune responses
- Bone health
So, maintaining a healthy endocannabinoid system means maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Benefits of optimizing your endocannabinoid system may include:
The endocannabinoid system is highly impactful and complex but relies largely on a few key endocannabinoids and receptors to function properly.
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, are neurotransmitters naturally produced by the body. They bind to cannabinoid receptors, specifically CB1 and CB2, in the brain, immune system, and elsewhere. Examples include anandamide, 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), n-arachidonoyl dopamine (NADA), and virodhamine (OAE).
Endocannabinoids are created and perform in the reverse of more well-known neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
For example, dopamine is produced in advance, stored, and then released from the presynaptic cell in response to stimuli. The dopamine crosses a synapse to reach and activate the postsynaptic cell, which then causes you to feel happy, motivated, and focused. (Dopamine plays a role in several other neurological and motor functions, but is most often associated with your brain’s reward system.)
Endocannabinoids, on the other hand, are key components of cellular membranes the body is able to manufacture on demand, not in advance, and they travel backward: endocannabinoids first leave the postsynaptic cell and end their journey in the presynaptic cell. This process allows the postsynaptic cell to regulate the flow of neurotransmitters coming from the presynaptic cell.
Our Top Trusted CBD Oil Pick
Joy Organics THC Free Gummies are our top CBD pick because of their potency and delicious flavor. Each gummy contains 10-25mg of organic CBD which helps you tackle whatever stresses life throws at you, on-the go.
Interested shoppers can check out Joy Organics Gummies using the native shopping unit below. All purchases are made with and shipped directly from the brand.
While all endocannabinoids play an important role in regulating pre- and postsynaptic activity, one of the most well researched is anandamide, perhaps for its reputation as the “bliss molecule.”
Anandamide: The Bliss Molecule
Anandamide was first discovered and isolated in the early 1990s and is synthesized in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, motivation, and higher thought processes. Because of its positive effects on mood, it’s called the “bliss molecule” (ananda translates to “bliss” in Sanskrit).
Anandamide has been shown to stop cancer cell formation, reduce anxiety and depression, and even increase neurogenesis in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Recently, it’s even been proven that anandamide helps produce the ‘runner’s high’ you experience after intense exercise.
A 2015 study by German researchers examined the role of different neurochemicals in creating the runner’s high in mice; previously, endorphins were believed to be solely responsible for generating those pronounced post-workout feelings of contentment and happiness. Surprisingly, the researchers found endorphin molecules to be too large to pass the blood-brain barrier, leading them to conclude that the activation of cannabinoid receptors by anandamide is primarily responsible for reducing stress and pain after exercise.
Further studies have found anandamide to play a significant role in babies’ and mothers’ lives from conception to breastfeeding.
In a 2009 study, researchers found that anandamide levels rose significantly during ovulation in women who’d become pregnant via intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and in-vitro fertilization (IVF) methods. The study concludes, “Our observations suggest that in successful pregnancy, a higher plasma AEA [anandamide] level at ovulation and a significantly lower level during implantation are required.”
A comprehensive review of the roles endocannabinoids play in human reproduction also points to anandamide as being imperative for successful embryo implantation and fetal development. The review states that abnormal function of endocannabinoids or their receptors, especially as they relate to the placenta, could result in pregnancy complications.
Finally, anandamide, along with the 2-AG endocannabinoid, may be pivotal in triggering a suckling response in newborn babies. A 2006 scientific review found correlations between increased levels of these endocannabinoids and baby mice’s ability to latch and suckle. The mice pups naturally had high levels of endocannabinoids within their first day of being born, and as they suckled, their endocannabinoid levels were replenished by the mother’s milk. When the mice pups were given a CB1 receptor antagonist, which prevented the CB1 receptor from being activated by anandamide or 2-AG, the newborn mice were not able to suckle.
As you can see, anandamide is important for regular and healthy bodily function. So how can you make sure you have enough of it? A primary building block in the synthesis of anandamide is arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid found almost exclusively in animal foods (e.g. different meats and eggs), but can also be found in pasta and grain dishes. As long as you’re eating a varied and balanced diet, chances are you’re getting enough AA to maintain regular anandamide levels.
Interestingly, anandamide is chemically similar to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the cannabinoid from the cannabis plant responsible for the ‘high’ most people associate with consuming marijuana. Because anandamide and THC are similarly structured, they both activate the CB1 receptors with similar potency. However, THC comes with a slew of mind-altering effects, and while it may bring feelings of psychedelic bliss for some, it’s no substitute for the bliss molecule.
The 2-AG Endocannabinoid
Another primary endocannabinoid, 2-AG doesn’t receive quite the same amount of attention but has been shown to be present at concentrations 170x greater than anandamide in the brain.
And while anandamide is a selective partial agonist for the CB1 receptor, 2-AG is a full agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In other words, 2-AG is much more effective at activating cannabinoid receptors than anandamide.
2-AG is one of the neurotransmitters that play a significant role in the body’s immune response. 2-AG was found to exhibit an immunosuppressive effect by causing the body to generate lower levels of cytokines, which are small proteins produced in immune cells that initiate and promote inflammatory responses in the body.
One of the most celebrated attributes of 2-AG is its neuroprotective effects. In both cases of brain injury and neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson’s Disease, increased amounts of 2-AG were found to protect the brain from further damage.
Like anandamide, 2-AG originates from arachidonic acid but differs in that it’s also synthesized using glycerol (also referred to as glycerin). In food, glycerol is often used as a sweetener, filler, and preservation agent. Recently, glycerol has also shown up as a prominent ingredient in e-cigarette vaping liquid.
If you do not have enough of these critical endogenous cannabinoids, it can lead to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
Cannabinoid Receptors CB1 & CB2
Not only do humans produce their own cannabinoids, but they also have cannabinoid receptors designed specifically to recognize and respond to them. These receptors are called CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors exist in full numbers on your brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, especially those in the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and amygdala, which are primarily responsible for regulating hormones, memory, and emotion, respectively. CB1 receptors are also found in the central nervous system (CNS), intestines, muscles, thyroid gland, and various other organs and glands.
Poorly functioning CB1 receptors can lead to a number of consequences, including:
- Decreased brain energy and function. [S] [S]
- Age-related decline in cognitive faculties. [S]
- Irregular hormone production in the thyroid gland, which controls metabolism, digestion, and heart rate. [S]
- Fatty liver disease. [S]
- Irregular food intake. [S]
CB2 receptors (first discovered in 1993) occur most commonly in the spleen, tonsils, thymus, and immune cells; only a small number exist in the brain. CB2 receptors are best known for their role in regulating immune function through their ability to trigger and stop immune responses, including inflammation.
Changes in CB2 receptor function plays a role in human disease; whether cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, autoimmune, or cancerous, virtually any ailment of the body or mind is linked to abnormal CB2 function.
Together, the body’s endocannabinoids and the CB1 and CB2 receptors that bind with them form the endocannabinoid system.
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD)
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is a condition where an individual has a lower amount of endogenous cannabinoids than considered necessary to live healthily.
Scientists now believe CECD may play a role in the following conditions:
Consider for a moment all the medications physicians prescribe on a daily basis for these conditions—and then think of the side effects that can accompany those drugs. For the most part, traditional medications provide some form of relief but also present new issues in the form of unwanted side effects.
If you are suffering from endocannabinoid deficiency, you may be able to improve your condition by making small changes to your diet and/or vitamin and supplement regimen.
Treatment #1: Maximize Anandamide & 2-AG Levels
Anandamide has a very short half-life (approximately 5 minutes) and is broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). CBD oil is an inhibitor of FAAH, meaning it keeps FAAH from breaking anandamide down, thereby increasing overall anandamide levels in the body and brain. CBD oil’s effect on FAAH and ultimately anandamide has even been linked to cannabidiol’s (CBD) ability to treat epilepsy in children.
Other FAAH inhibitors include:
- N-acylethanolamines (NAE) derived from cacao
- While cacao has several other known FAAH inhibitors, the stimulant theobromine (also in cacao) is thought to encourage the direct production of anandamide
- Palmitoylethanolamide, which can be found in:
- Soy products
- Peanut oil
- Maca, which is a Peruvian plant you can find in a variety of forms (e.g. powder, supplement, chocolate) at most health food stores
- Kaempferol, which can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables including:
Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL) metabolizes around 85% of all 2-AG; to date, there’s only one MAGL inhibitor that’s been proven to increase 2-AG levels. However, because 2-AG is the primary cannabinoid with activity at the CB2 receptor, attempting to increase the number of receptors, maximizing the effect of available 2-AG, is also a promising treatment strategy.
The probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus has been shown to increase CB2 receptors in the intestines. Luckily, upping your probiotic consumption is fairly easy—and pretty delicious! A few easily accessible options for increasing your probiotic and Lactobacillus acidophilus intake include:
- Gouda, mozzarella, and cheddar cheese
- Miso soup
Treatment #2: Phytocannabinoids
Phytocannabinoids are a group of chemicals found in plants that mimic your body’s own endocannabinoids in structure and function. If you’re experiencing CECD, you may be able to supplement the cannabinoids your body isn’t producing by consuming the following plants and herbs:
- Cannabis, including CBD Oil
- Black Pepper
- Cacao (chocolate!)
- Truffles (not the chocolate variety, but still delicious)
Foods for Endocannabinoid Synthesis
As for general dietary guidelines to ensure you are consuming enough building blocks for endocannabinoids, experts recommend plenty of:
- Grass-Fed Beef
- Pasture Raised Eggs
Remember, this article is meant to be informational and should not be considered medical advice. You should speak to your doctor, and maybe a nutritionist, if you believe you have an endocannabinoid deficiency.
Learn More About CBD
Athletes who participate in impact sports put a great deal of stress on their minds and bodies. Unfortunately, current methods ...Learn More
If you spend a lot of time with horses, then you know that they are incredibly intelligent and sensitive animals ...Learn More
With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD became effectively legal in the United States. This ground-breaking legislation ...Learn More
All professional sports require a certain amount of athleticism and endurance, but there is perhaps no sport as physically and ...Learn More
Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life. So what is ...Learn More
If you’re a regular CBD oil shopper, you may have come across the US Hemp Authority certification seal on CBD ...Learn More
CBD oil is increasingly popular these days; there is a large market of CBD oil products, along with a growing ...Learn More
Whether your menstrual cycle brings abdominal heaviness, mild cramping, or several days of intense, throbbing pain, you're likely not looking ...Learn More
Anyone investigating the therapeutic potential of CBD has likely encountered more than a few sources claiming CBD products are legal ...Learn More
CBD and yoga can – and should – go hand-in-hand. These two vitality boosters are the perfect complement to one ...Learn More
The hemp plant harbors many potential benefits when cultivated and processed cleanly. While the euphoria cannabis is known for comes ...Learn More
CBD oil products are everywhere now, but ambiguity surrounding the use of CBD oil still abounds, especially in the world ...Learn More
Imagine this: you're curled up on your comfortable couch, surrounded by soft throw pillows, sipping a cup of hot chocolate ...Learn More
Though many people are still learning about cannabidiol (CBD) and its many natural benefits, the naturally occurring chemical compound has ...Learn More
A lot of people ask this question - is CBD oil legal in Florida? It appears that there has been ...Learn More
If you're just starting to learn about CBD and its potential benefits, you likely have many questions. There is so ...Learn More
Every plant on the planet has a purpose. Every piece of the ecosystem serves a purpose, and some lucky plants ...Learn More
For decades, people have been raving about the endless benefits of the hemp plant. Surprisingly though, some people may still ...Learn More
I’ve been poking around the interweb a bit for travelling with CBD tips and was a little surprised… I think ...Learn More
Delta 8 THC is the hot new cannabinoid on the wellness scene. As was the case with CBG a couple ...Learn More
The term ‘seed to sale’ is thrown around a lot in CBD marketing. CBD companies that claim to be seed ...Learn More
Delta 8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Like cannabidiol aka CBD oil, delta ...Learn More
We don’t have to tell you. You already know that CBD oil is one of the most important wellness discoveries ...Learn More
Hemp CBD has a confusing history of legalization that it shares with its intoxicating cousin, marijuana. Both the federal and ...Learn More
Like many people, it is likely that you have seen an increase in the popularity of CBD in the last ...Learn More
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about CBD oil and the benefits it can provide. Yet, if you ...Learn More
If you are interested in using CBD oil, but you live in Tennessee, you may have a lot of questions ...Learn More
Although the CBD industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, many people interested in the cannabinoid's therapeutic potential are ...Learn More
If you live in Virginia, and you are interested in buying CBD oil, you may be wondering several things. For ...Learn More
CBD oil products have come to the forefront of discussions about non-traditional solutions to anxiety, pain, and other ailments that ...Learn More
CBD oil products have gained popularity in Michigan and across the nation because of the potential benefits they offer consumers ...Learn More
For fans of soccer (or football as most of the world calls it), there is likely a lot of speculation ...Learn More
A hemp flower is the most basic form of CBD and serves as the foundation for all other CBD products ...Learn More
The safety, legality, and absence of mind-altering properties make cannabidiol (CBD) a popular choice for those who want to reap ...Learn More
Between 2021 and 2027, the weight loss industry will benefit from a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6%. As ...Learn More
If you live in Ohio and you are curious about using CBD, you may have a lot of questions. For ...Learn More
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 active compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil manufacturers extract cannabidiol ...Learn More
If you were to ask a group of CBD enthusiasts for product recommendations, you'd soon discover that CBD users seem ...Learn More
In 2014, when the industry was still quite new, CBD generated nearly 50 million dollars in sales. That's pretty impressive ...Learn More
Industrial hemp was one of the very first domesticated crops, a plant harvested throughout history for its protein-rich seeds and ...Learn More
As you have likely heard by now, CBD has quickly become one of the biggest trends in the world of ...Learn More
Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around when it comes to cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, more commonly known as ...Learn More
CBD products are becoming increasingly popular in 2021, and CBD concentrates are no exception. If you've thought about trying CBD ...Learn More
Let's talk self care. Though you might think of self care as simply "pampering" yourself, it goes way deeper than ...Learn More
Texas Governor Abbott signed legislation clarifying which hemp products are legal and which are not. Looking for CBD in Texas? ...Learn More
CBD oil has many helpful-- not to mention, natural-- benefits physically and mentally. CBD has been heavily studied to relieve ...Learn More
If you are an avid runner, you are always looking for safe and healthy ways to improve your performance and ...Learn More
Can you use CBD if you are sober? Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction isn't just about abstinence. For many, ...Learn More
If there's anything we've learned from the last few years of incredible development, it's that the cannabis plant can take ...Learn More
By now, you are probably aware that there are a lot of CBD products on the market that can help ...Learn More
If you have never tried CBD oil and you live in Indiana, you probably have a lot of questions. You ...Learn More
CBD (short for cannabidiol) has become an alternative consideration for many parents around the world. Countless families swear by CBD ...Learn More
Birth control remains one of the greatest biomedical advances in the last century, giving women and couples the opportunity to ...Learn More
When shopping for CBD, it's essential to find the best product for your needs and your lifestyle. While CBD tinctures ...Learn More
For people who are considering CBD or have already started trying what is available, one of the most common questions ...Learn More
CBD oil is well known for its ability to regulate pain and inflammation, making it a valuable tool in the ...Learn More
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a true mystery. It can pop up out of nowhere for chronic cannabis users, and ...Learn More
When you first begin researching CBD oil, it can be hard to understand what you are reading. What exactly is ...Learn More
Death by overdose has become the largest killer of Americans under the age of 50, and with opioids responsible for ...Learn More
The most famous cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is most widely known for its mind-altering, high-inducing properties, ...Learn More
Because harvested and dried cannabis or hemp material only contains trace amounts of cannabigerol (CBG), it is often considered to ...Learn More
With cannabidiol (CBD) oil becoming more widely available, it is being sought out by an ever-growing number of people due ...Learn More
In 2018, the United States saw exponential growth in CBD oil product development and sales. Halfway through the year, the ...Learn More
The cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, each one presenting its own unique qualities and potential benefits. You may ...Learn More
Cannabinoids have taken over the natural health discussion, and with good reason. Research is continuously finding new ways in which ...Learn More
One of the lesser-known cannabinoids, cannabichromene (CBC) may be able to do some pretty incredible things. Recent scientific study has ...Learn More
Learning about the phytocannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant family can feel a little bit like sifting through alphabet ...Learn More
Cannabidiol (CBD), is becoming widely used for its reported therapeutic benefits, which include pain reduction, nausea relief, and mood elevation ...Learn More
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the best-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive, intoxicating, and mind-altering compound ...Learn More
Of the many phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are likely the most well-known. That's why ...Learn More
The role of “Big Pharma” in healthcare is a contentious subject and one that’s working its way into discussions around ...Learn More
With more and more research coming out that shines a light on the reported health benefits of CBD and essential ...Learn More
Researchers are finding that CBD oil may be able to treat the symptoms of a whole host of diseases and ...Learn More
When you first decide to use CBD oil, it can be hard to know where to start. With so many ...Learn More
Health supplements are becoming increasingly commonplace as average Americans struggle to meet their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals ...Learn More
If you've spent any time reading about CBD oil and cannabis lately, it is likely you've seen terpenes mentioned more ...Learn More
If you’re interested in purchasing CBD oil but aren’t sure if it’s legal in your state, you’ve come to the ...Learn More
The CBD oil industry is one of the fastest-growing in North America and as such, it should come as no ...Learn More
Those friendly neighbors on the northern U.S. border have a reputation for being fairly liberal minded. In fact, as of ...Learn More
As people continue to abandon cigarettes, vaping is becoming increasingly popular. And, as the range of vape oils, vape juices, ...Learn More
Ready to make your first CBD oil purchase but aren’t sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right ...Learn More
With so many CBD oil products and delivery formats available for purchase, knowing which one is right for you can ...Learn More
The hemp plant produces flowers just like its THC-toting cousin marijuana. Typically, this flower is processed and cannabidiol (CBD) is ...Learn More
CBD oil drops are one of the most popular ways to take cannabidiol (CBD). They are a cost-effective and convenient ...Learn More
If you’re new to the world of CBD oil, there’s a lot of new terminology to take in; one term ...Learn More
Is there nothing cannabidiol can’t do? The wonder compound—more commonly known as CBD—has been hailed as everything from a digestive ...Learn More
As an athlete, the less time you can spend doing online research, the more time you can devote to your ...Learn More
CBD oil microdosing is a concept that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? ...Learn More
Because CBD oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling while promoting cell reparation, CBD topicals (e.g. balms, ...Learn More
When investigating cannabis products, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the varieties available. Cannabis oil, hemp seed oil, CBD ...Learn More
People are quickly becoming aware of the potential benefits of CBD oil, but this awareness has lead to one very ...Learn More
Today, it’s hard to go a day without hearing something about CBD oil, and for good reason. Cannabidiol (CBD) is ...Learn More
There are tens of millions of Americans who smoke cigarettes and millions of others who are suffering from smoking-related diseases ...Learn More
There are two main types of cannabidiol (CBD) extract utilized by vendors - purified, crystalline isolate, often labeled as ‘CBD ...Learn More
With frequent news reports about newly discovered uses for cannabidiol (CBD) in healthcare, a number of parents are investigating its ...Learn More
There is an increasing amount of coverage in the media about CBD oil and its potential uses and benefits. Everywhere ...Learn More
CBD oil interacts with the brain and central nervous system to produce a number of beneficial outcomes from reducing inflammation ...Learn More
The short answer: Yes...and no. If you’ve been following the national conversation about cannabis, you may have felt confused at ...Learn More
If you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast who has heard about the many health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), you may ...Learn More