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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. 


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

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10 Simple Ways to Reduce Stress And Overwhelm

We’ve all heard of the negative effects long-term stress can have on our physical, mental, and emotional health. Chronic stress throws the body out of balance and can wreak havoc on the body and mind. It can lead to exhaustion, depression, weight gain, sleep disruptions, and eventually disease. The good news is there are countless ways you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Incorporating even a few of these simple stress reduction suggestions into your daily routine can have profound effects on your overall health and happiness.

1. Exercise

I’m sure you’re not surprised to see this on this list. The positive effects exercise has on our physical, mental, and emotional health is well known, yet many of us don’t do it enough or at all. An easy way to change that is to start small – for example – your starting goal can be to exercise 1-2 times a week. What does exercise mean? Whatever you want it to mean, but we recommend choosing something that’s fun for you. At Proper, we getting out in nature for a hike with our dogs. If that’s not your thing or you don’t have access to trails, you can start an online fitness program. It can also be as simple as a 20-minute walk once a week. The point is to start small and increase the frequency and intensity of your exercise regimen to keep you challenged and motivated.

2. Listen to music

Music is a powerful tool in lowering stress. Turning on your favorite tune can do wonders for boosting your mood and overall well-being. In fact, some studies even show that music has the ability to increase pain tolerance. So go ahead, blast your favorite tune, or for a more calm experience, play slower, ambient music.

BONUS- Dance it out to your favorite song and get your heart rate up.  

3. CBD Supplements

Incorporating a daily CBD supplement is a great addition to your wellness regimen. There’s a growing amount of research that shows that CBD can help reduce stress and overwhelm. CBD supports your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) by providing balance. Wonder why that matters? Your ECS plays an important role in regulating your mood, digestion, brain function, immune system, and more. When CBD interacts with your body’s ECS, the sensation is an overall feeling of calm and balance. Proper Hemp Co.’s CBD products were created to support your body’s ECS the proper way! Our organic hemp extract (the foundation for all our products) is carefully processed to retain hemp’s superpowers AKA hemp’s naturally occurring chemical compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, lignans, and phytonutrients.

4. Meditate

Anyone can practice meditation and it won’t take you long to reap the benefits. If you’re new to the practice, guided meditation apps are a great place to start and many have free plans. We’ve been meditating for a few years now and still love to use our meditation app. When starting out keep in mind that meditation gets easier and better the more you practice. The key is patience and consistency. Start with an achievable goal and you’ll be reaping the benefits of a quieter and calmer mind in no time.

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 has shown that laughter can boost your immune system and lower blood pressure. So take a few minutes out of your day to watch hilarious YouTube videos, put on your favorite comedy, or read a funny book.

6. Create a morning routine

Starting your day off right can set the tone for the rest of the day. Doing something as simple as making your bed means you’ve accomplished the first task of the day. Once you complete that first task it’s easier to complete more. Start small with a single change you’d like to incorporate into your morning routine. Whether you choose to kick your day off with a quick morning yoga practice, lemon water, or a walk around the block, creating (and sticking to) a morning routine can help you be more productive and lower 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 help reduce the stress you’ve been feeling. 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

Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on your physical health and result in a myriad of health issues, lead to depression, weight gain, decrease sex drive, and more. Now for most of us, taking a quick afternoon nap at work is not an option. But even if you can’t fit a 20-30 minute power nap, you can still do it on weekends. Schedule in a little extra shut-eye midday on Saturday and Sunday, then strive to get the recommended 7-9 hours during the workweek. Some quick tips on how to set yourself up for that deep and restful sleep during the week- cut back on screen time an hour before bed, take a sleep aid, write a quick to-do list for the next day so your mind is clear, and lastly, create a dark, cool environment in your bedroom.

10. Talk to someone

Sometimes venting and simply getting things off our chests can really help. Whether it’s a good friend, a counselor, or a family member, spending time talking and empathizing helps us bond with others. Try setting a timer for 5 minutes and rant to a friend about what’s causing stress in your life. After those 5 minutes ask your friend to help you redirect your focus to the positives in the situation and action items. This will help lift the heaviness by giving you a different perspective on your issues and also help you make changes when needed.