Cannabidiol is so powerful when it comes to our bodies because it interacts with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Just as its prefix ‘ends’ – taken from the Greek word for ‘within’ – suggests, the Endocannabinoid System is internal to the body. It is made up of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and enzymes, and plays a vital role in promoting homeostasis and maintaining general wellbeing.
Logistically speaking, our body manufactures endocannabinoids – microscopic fatty substances or oils – in order to pass messages concerning functions such as memory, appetite and mood.
These endocannabinoids then interact with or bind to cannabinoid (CB1 and CB2) receptors, found in the central nervous system and the immune and gastrointestinal systems. The most common analogy used to understand this interaction is the lock and key, with the receptors posing as the lock – securing access to important bodily systems – and the endocannabinoids as the keys.
In contrast to THC, evidence suggests that CBD may bind at a different site on CB1 receptors and act to switch the receptor off. This may be beneficial when our endocannabinoid system becomes overactive and we suffer associated tension. Current studies are further investigating this relationship.