To understand how cannabidiol (CBD) works you have to know what the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is. We all have an ECS system, as do all mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish. Even amphibians seem to have a primitive version.

The system is not exactly the same in all animals so we will deal only with the system in humans which is much the same as in all mammals, so also the same as your dog or cat. The ECS system is internal to the body. It consists of endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and enzymes. Endocannabinoids are fatty substances or oils in microscopic quantities which interact or bind with cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoid receptors are membranes in our body’s cells that allow signals to be passed A to B then back again. There are CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors in the immune and gastrointestinal system. The enzymes are responsible for the manufacture and disposal of ECS. Our body manufactures endocannabinoids in order to pass messages concerning functions such as pain, inflammation, memory, appetite and mood.

CBD is a phytocannabinoid, that is it is a substance derived from a plant that interacts with the cannabinoid receptors found in the body. Most phytocannabinoids are from the cannabis plant although some other plants such as echinacea and cocoa also contain cannabinoid-like substances. So CBD and other phytocannabinoids can affect our body in the same way as endocannabinoids. The science is not yet clear whether phytocannabinoids can replace or substitute for endocannabinoids but it seems to be logical.

Remember though that when you ingest CBD, even in small doses, these are massively greater than the microscopic quantities of endocannabinoids. In theory then (and from actual experience), phytocannabinoids can affect pain, inflammation, memory, appetite and mood. Remember though that the effect can work either way.

Scientists are working hard to research how cannabinoids can reduce rather than increase pain and inflammation and have a beneficial effect on our memory and mood. So we now know that our endocannabinoid system is very important to our health and overall wellbeing. What makes it even more fantastic then that it was only discovered in 1988 by a scientist named Raphael Mechoulam and 30 years later alot of doctors do not receive any training in it.

Medical practices have yet to even look into the science behind it all. Just how important the endocannabinoid system is has been outspoken and known by Dr David Allen, an cardiac surgeon and cardiologist. He says it is “the most important discovery in medicine since the invention of sterile surgery technique.”