Hemp: Understanding CB1 and CB2 Receptors.
You know about the circulatory system, the digestive system, and the reproductive system. But do you know about the endocannabinoid system? This system in the body is relatively unknown yet it has a considerable amount of influence over your health and well-being. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) controls homeostasis which means it maintains biochemical and energetic balance within your body. To understand the benefits of hemp, you need ot know a little about ECS.
There are two major players in the ECS and these are two receptors called CD1 and CB2. These two proteins are responsible for recognizing chemicals in your bloodstream and relaying this information to the brain. The brain will then respond based on the chemical present. For example, the ECS can regulate your appetite or it can give you the euphoria some people feel after heavy exercise.
Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) is associated with psychoactive, neuromodulatory, and analgesic effects due to its activation by a lipid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CB1 is mostly expressed in the brain, adipocytes (fat cells), hepatocytes (liver cells), and musculoskeletal tissues.
Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) is associated with anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects but no psychoactive effects. CB2 is expressed in body cells controlling immune function and (potentially) the central nervous system (CNS). Additionally, some metabolites from plant-based foods enhance the activity of CB2 receptors and promote healthy inflammatory responses.
Hemp is the fiber and seeds from the Cannabis plant. Hemp has phytocannabinoid compounds which activate CB2 (the receptor for anti-inflammatory and immuno responses). However, hemp does not contain psychotropic compounds (you won’t get “high” from hemp). This makes hemp a great product for activating the ECS. In addition, hemp is rich in nutrients, bioactive phytochemical compounds, and essential polyunsaturated fatty acids (abbreviated PUFAs). PUFAs are needed for a healthy ECS.
There are two major types of PUFAs:
• Omega-3s (ALA, EPA, DHA)
• Omega-6s (linoleic acid, arachidonic acid)
PUFAs promote brain and systemic health through physiological balance. PUFAs are involved in regulating cardiovascular (blood), pulmonary (lung), immune (infection), and endocrine (hormones) systems. Omega-3s help in signal transduction and they are found in the brain and in the eye. Studies have shown that dietary supplementation with fish and/or fish oil containing omega-3’s promotes specific changes in the CB2 receptor.
Most systemic illnesses are due to unhealthy inflammation. Unhealthy inflammation can come from:
• stressed tissue,
• oxidative stress.
• systemic malfunction,
• or disrupted homeostasis,
One way to promote healthy inflammation is to have a whole-food diet which contains natural antioxidants, fiber, phytonutrients, and omega-3s.