What is Hemp? How does Hemp affect us? Let’s first take a look at the body’s endocannabinoid system before we do a deep dive on the effects of Hemp on the body. Just as we all have a respiratory system and a digestive system (among others), we also all have an endocannabinoid system. Not as well-known as the other bodily systems, the endocannabinoid system was only recently discovered in the 1960’s, when THC was isolated into a compound on its own; this led to thorough research conducted on its’ affects the human body.
How does it work?
Made up of 3 parts, the endocannabinoid system is crucial for our sleep, appetite, mood, memory, as well as fertility.
The human body produces endocannabinoids to keep internal functions running smoothly, producing them as needed.
Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors that are located throughout the human body to signal the ECS that action needs to be taken. Receptors are classified into two types: CB1 and CB2.
CB1: located in the central nervous system
CB2: located in the peripheral nervous system (immune cells)
The ECS reacts accordingly, depending on which receptor the endocannabinoid binds to.
Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids after they have carried out their function.
Research has shown that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (stability of our internal environment). Being deficient of endocannabinoids could cause complications in the body where it won’t be able to repair itself should problems arise.
Plant Cannabinoids and the ECS
Cannabinoids are abundantly found in plants, in hundreds of forms. The commonly-known ones are THC and Hemp. Once ingested, the body recognizes them as endocannabinoids and act as such. THC seems to prefer to bind to the CB1 receptors which produce the psychoactive, intoxicating effects and produce the famous ‘high’. Hemp, however, has a subtle, more beneficial effect on the body. Hemp does not bind to the receptors, instead, it helps the ECS in producing more endocannabinoids, which in turn, restores homeostasis balance.
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