Understanding the Endocannabinoid System

Lately, Cannabidiol (or CBD) oil has been making headlines for its therapeutic effects. But many are wondering what the hype is all about. Simply put, CBD naturally aids and nourishes the body’s Endocannabinoid System. Though you’re likely unfamiliar with it, this biological system is found inside all of our bodies. So instead of introducing synthetic substances that oftentimes involve side effects, CBD interacts naturally with the body’s systems.

The Endocannabinoid System

Despite its integral role in maintaining a healthy and balanced body, many are unfamiliar with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and what it does. This biological system is an important communication network. It’s composed of cannabinoids (naturally occurring chemicals) and receptors throughout the body. Additionally, more and more scientific research is beginning to show the vital role the Endocannabinoid System plays in supporting various vital biological tasks. This may include the regulation of appetite, mood, memory, immune function, energy, and sleep patterns.

Dr. Vincenzo di Marzo, Research Director at the Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry of the National Research Council in Italy, has been studying the Endocannabinoid System for over 20 years. As one of the world’s leading cannabinoid scientists, he explained, “The endocannabinoid system so far is the only endogenous system of chemical signals that is involved in everything.”

The system’s widespread impact may be due to its overarching goal of homeostasis. In other words, the ECS is activated to help keep things functioning just right.

Endocannabinoid system creates balance

Cannabinoid Receptors

The Endocannabinoid System is comprised of cannabinoid receptors located all throughout the body. They were first discovered within the human body by scientists in the 1990s and are found on almost all vital organs and immune cells. Type 1 (CB1) are found primarily in the brain, central nervous system, connective tissues, and related organs. Type 2 receptors (CB2) are found in higher concentrations in the immune system and related organs. These cannabinoid receptors work much like a lock and key. They respond to our environment and thus, in turn, initiate various changes in response to said stimuli. 

Cannabinoids

If the ECS receptors are the lock, then cannabinoids are the key. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that trigger various physiological actions. The body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which help with cell growth, inflammation, and regulating the nervous system. These endocannabinoids stimulate key receptors to help balance responses in the body. Certain endocannabinoids, such as Anandamide (aka the bliss compound) and 2-AG, are integral to our mental function, stress management and immune health.

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant, and Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most widely known. However, 85 other phytocannabinoids have been identified. These chemical compounds are key players in normal immune and central nervous system functioning. They boast many therapeutic benefits and when cannabinoids work together these benefits are greatly enhanced. This synergy, found in Broad Spectrum and Full Spectrum CBD is referred to as the entourage effect.” It’s also why we recommend whole plant CBD products over CBD isolate.

Maintaining a Healthy Functioning Endocannabinoid System

No matter what function the ECS is playing throughout the body while performing its different tasks, the goal is always the same: homeostasis. So supporting your body’s Endocannabinoid System will benefit your overall health and well-being. There are several ways you can promote a healthy functioning Endocannabinoid System.

  1. Exercise
  2. Reduce Stress
  3. Daily CBD Supplement
  4. Sleep
  5. Healthy Diet

With a variety of CBD products available, individuals can choose a product that fits best with his or her lifestyle and personal needs. Similar to taking a multi-vitamin, a daily CBD supplement is a simple way to support the body’s naturally produced cannabinoids and give your Endocannabinoid System a boost. Maintaining a healthy ECS, in turn, results in an overall healthier you. 

Cheat Sheet

ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM (ECS): A network of receptors spread across our body that help regulate homeostasis across all other major body systems

CB1: ECS receptor primarily found in the brain and central nervous system

CB2: ECS receptor primarily found in the immune system and related organs

CANNABINOIDS: Key to unlocking ECS receptors throughout the body. Two types of these naturally occurring chemical compounds

ENDOCANNABINOIDS: Natural cannabinoid found within the human body

PYTHOCANNABINOIDS: Natural cannabinoid found in the hemp plant

CBD: A major cannabinoid found in Hemp plants which has no psychoactivity but plays a major role in supporting health and wellness, and promotes homeostasis

THC: A major psychotropic cannabinoid found in high amounts in the Marijuana plant that can get you high but also has several medicinal benefits

11 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress

We’ve all heard by now the negative effects long-term stress can have on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Chronic stress throws the body out of homeostasis and can wreak havoc on the body and mind. It can lead to exhaustion, depression, weight gain, sleep disruptions, and eventually disease. Fortunately, there are countless small ways to help reduce stress. Incorporating even a few of these simple stress reduction suggestions into your daily routine, can have profound effects on one’s overall health and happiness.

Exercise to reduce stress

1. Exercise

I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this answer on this list. We hear about it all the time–the positive effects exercise has on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Yet many of us still claim we’re too busy, too stressed out, too [insert any excuse you’d like here and we’ve probably used it]. But the thing is, a little exercise can go a long way in reducing your stress levels.

2. Listen to music

Music is a powerful tool in its ability to decrease stress and turning on a favorite tune can do wonders for boosting your mood. In fact, some studies even indicate music’s ability to increase pain tolerance. Create a sense of calm by playing slower, melodic music, which for some individuals can also help improve sleep. Bonus Points: Dance it out to your favorite song and get your heart rate up.  

3. CBD Supplements

Incorporating a daily CBD supplement is a simple and great addition to your daily health and wellness regimen, and more and more research is indicating the positive benefits of CBD on lowering stress and anxiety. Proper Hemp Co.’s high quality, broad spectrum CBD products give you a wide variety of options to choose from including softgels, gummies, sublingual tinctures, powders, topical creams, and more, ensuring you find the easiest and most effective method for you.

Reduce stress with CBD

4. Meditate

Anyone can practice meditation and the results don’t take long to be felt. Plus, they last long after you stop meditating. If you’re a newbie to the practice, schedule into your day just five minutes to start–you can always increase time as you get more comfortable–and find a method that works for you, whether that’s repeating a mantra, body scans, yoga, Tai chi, or mindfulness meditation. If you’re unsure of how to get started, guided meditation apps are a great source to use and many are free. And remember, there’s no wrong way to meditate, so stick with it! For most of us, meditation is especially difficult and uncomfortable at the start.

5. Laugh

Laughing ranks as probably one of the last things we want to do when we’re stressed to the max. (Because really, what’s funny about feeling like you’re on the verge of snapping?) But science indicates laughter can boost your immune system and lower blood pressure. So take a few minutes out of your day to watch some hilarious YouTube videos, follow a few funny people on social media, or read a funny book.

6. Create a morning routine

We’ve all had those days. The ones where you wake up late, only notice the stain on your shirt as you’re walking out the door, and it all goes downhill even from there. Starting your day off right can set the entire tone for the rest of the day. Start small with a single change you’d like to incorporate into your morning routine. Whether you choose to kick your day off with an early morning 30 minute yoga practice or a quiet cup of Proper’s CBD infused coffee, creating (and sticking to!) a morning routine can greatly impact productivity and stress levels.

7. Write it down

For some, getting our emotions out can be extremely therapeutic as it provides an opportunity for self-reflection. While consistent journaling is often the most effective, even sporadic writing that goes into detail about your feelings and thoughts surrounding stressful events can reduce stress levels. A gratitude journal is another option that has been shown to help increase optimism and emotional resilience, and therefore overall wellbeing. The simple act of writing down three things you’re grateful for each day will cultivate gratitude and result in a greater sense of happiness.

8. Take a nap

Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your physical health and result in a myriad of health issues, lead to depression and weight gain, decrease sex drive, and more. Now for most of us, taking a quick afternoon nap at work will likely be frowned upon. So if incorporating a 15-20 minute power nap isn’t a realistic expectation for you during the week, make it a priority on the weekends. Schedule in a little extra shut-eye midday on Saturday and Sunday, then strive to get the recommended 7-9 hours through the work week. And set yourself up to ensure the sleep you do get is restful and deep. Cutting back on screen time before bed, taking melatonin, regular exercise, and creating a dark, cool environment may help improve sleep quality.

9. Aromatherapy

The sense of smell is perhaps the most mysterious and underrated of the senses. However, most won’t dispute its power to evoke certain emotions and recall past memories. Soothing scents like lavender and rosemary have consistently been shown to have a powerful effect on decreasing stress levels. Try lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils, or spraying a favorite scent.

10. Take a quick walk outside

Just like with regular physical exercise, a brisk walk triggers the release of endorphins. (And thanks to Elle Woods, we all know the positive effect these hormones have on our brains.) Taking a few minutes midday to move around, breathe deeply, and step outdoors to get some sunshine and fresh air will have immediate calming effects.

11. Talk to someone

Sometimes venting and simply getting things off our chests can dramatically help. Whether it’s a good friend, a counselor, or a family member, spending time talking and empathizing connects and bonds us with others. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes. Then rant to a friend about everything related to what’s causing stress in your life. And after those 5 minutes ask your friend to help you redirect and start focusing on positives and action items. This will constructively help to keep you from dwelling in the negativity.

7 Ways to Make Mornings Easier

Snoozing the alarm clock, skipping breakfast, rushing out the door, and stress levels already through the roof? While this may sound like a morning routine most of us are familiar with, it’s not a particularly pleasant one. Fortunately, it’s not the way things have to be either. With a little preparation, your morning ritual can become one that helps you thrive.

1. A good night’s sleep

Seems like a no-brainer, but getting the recommended 7-9 hours often isn’t as easy as it seems. But more important than even the number of hours of sleep is the quality of sleep. Finding ways to improve the nature of your sleep will improve the quality of your morning. And consequently your day. Including an all-natural sleep aid, like Proper Hemp’s CBD + Melatonin Sleep Softgels, in your bedtime routine will result in a deep, restful sleep that won’t leave you groggy in the morning.

2. Stay off social media

Breaking the habit of reaching for our phones first thing after waking up can be tough. But by not bombarding our brains first thing by checking email or scrolling through Instagram, we prolong the sense of calm from the night before and set ourselves up for a more peaceful day. Try putting your phone on airplane mode each night before sleep and not switching it off until you get to work.

3. Savor the moment

Taking a few minutes to slow down and savor the small moments can greatly improve your morning. It’s actually also a powerful tool in increasing overall happiness. By paying conscious attention to and staying present in the moment, you can enhance and lengthen positive experiences. Savoring your morning cup of Joe can be a great way to start this practice. Bonus points for taking away the morning stress with Proper CBD infused coffee by DOMA for an added sense of relaxation and ready-to-go attitude.

CBD Coffee Morning Ritual

4. Meditate

Even just five minutes of meditation can focus the mind, calm nerves, and support inner peace. So make an effort to consistently practice each morning.  Simply repeat a mantra, practice mindfulness, or follow a guided meditation. If you’re unsure of how to get started, guided meditation apps are a great source and many are free. And remember, there’s no wrong way to meditate, so stick with it!

5. Fuel your body

Healthy breakfasts don’t have to be super fancy or time-consuming. In fact, a few minutes of meal preparation the night before can save you a lot of precious time in the morning. Overnight oats, avocado toast, greek yogurt with fruit, and scrambled eggs are all simple solutions that will provide your body with the energy it needs. Add a scoop of Proper Hemp’s Water Soluble CBD Powder to your morning coffee, smoothie, oats, or water bottle for the added benefit of decreased stress and anxiety.

6. CBD softgel

Incorporating a daily CBD supplement is a simple and great addition to your daily health and wellness regimen, and more and more research is indicating the positive benefits of CBD on lowering stress and anxiety. Proper Hemp Co.’s high quality, broad spectrum CBD products give you a wide variety of options to choose from including softgels, gummies, sublingual tinctures, powders, topical creams, and more, ensuring you find the easiest and most effective method for you.

CBD Softgel for morning routine

7. Move your body

Although many of us would prefer those extra minutes curled up in bed, exercising first thing in the morning has been shown to result in a variety of benefits, including an enhanced metabolism, higher energy levels, and improved sleep. And with exercise motivation tending to be highest in the morning, getting your heart rate up as a regular part of your morning routine ensures you don’t make excuses and skip out later in the day.

What is Homeostasis and How is it Achieved?

Balance and homeostasis

Homeostasis is defined as: the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

In other words: balance.

As humans, our bodies (and our lives) are constantly in flux. We are perpetually responding and adapting to the environment around us. For example, think about how your body sweats to cool itself down in response to a hot summer day, how certain foods can uncomfortably disrupt digestion, or how sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic may cause a spike in your blood pressure.

Fortunately, our bodies are also comprised of several biological systems built to automatically respond to these changes. These systems naturally shift us back to our internal equilibrium, or toward achieving and maintaining homeostasis. When the body and mind’s innate center is reached, or when homeostasis occurs, our health, happiness, and overall well-being are greatly improved.

The Endocannabinoid System and Homeostasis

The Endocannabinoid System plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis within the body. It affects the immune, metabolic, and cardiovascular systems, our sleep cycles, and some studies suggest even our mood. In short, this biological system is composed of naturally occurring chemical compounds called endocannabinoids and receptors. As the endocannabinoids stimulate key receptors, together they help balance responses in the body. Certain endocannabinoids, like Anandamide (aka the bliss compound) and 2-AG, are integral to our mental function, stress management, immune health, and ability to maintain homeostasis.

But this delicate system of achieving balance is not indestructible. Chronic stress, toxicity, and poor health choices can greatly impair the proper functioning of this process. We’ve all heard by now the negative effects stress can have on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Yet many of us continue to ignore the dangers of living with chronic stress. Chronic stress throws us out of homeostasis and can wreak havoc on the body and mind. It can lead to exhaustion, depression, weight gain, sleep disruptions, and eventually disease.

How to promote Homeostasis

Because the body’s Endocannabinoid System is directly involved in regulating homeostasis, it’s good to give it a boost. Phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids found in hemp plants) such as CBD or THC, provide the support your body needs to continue functioning properly. Though CBD and THC affect your mind and body very differently, they do have some similarities. Both are well-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and both interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System receptors to support health and wellness.

THC and Homeostasis

Though highly stigmatized throughout the United States and other countries, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) does have several medicinal benefits. Research shows THC is a supreme pain reliever, dramatically reduces symptoms accompanying chemotherapy and radiation, improves sleep, and more. Unlike other cannabinoids, THC can get you high to an intoxicating level, though to feel the effects of it, you would have to ingest a strain of cannabis with a high enough THC content. Hemp, however, has less than 0.3% THC content making it legal in the U.S. and consistently unable to get you high. Many companies leave this small THC content in their products. However, Proper Hemp Co. extracts all THC out to provide CBD products to mainstream users without risk of job loss.

CBD for Homeostasis

CBD and Homeostasis

CBD, short for Cannabidiol, is another major cannabinoid, though it cannot get you high. This chemical compound interacts with the body’s ECS to help trigger the release of the naturally produced endocannabinoids. Studies show CBD is a powerful yet natural way to relieve pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Proper Hemp broad spectrum CBD products balance and boost multiple molecular pathways throughout the body and aid homeostasis.

Achieving and maintaining the dynamic state of homeostasis in our bodies requires synergy. Our bodily systems and organs work together to create this balance. As disruptions and deficiencies in our ECS occur, supplementing with CBD products such as Proper Hemp Co.’s Broad Spectrum Phytocannabinoid Rich Hemp Extract can prove to be a valuable resource for promoting healthy activity.