How the Endocannabinoid System Interacts with Our Internal Opioid Network
As we continue to examine CBD from a scientific perspective, it makes sense that we would eventually reach a connection between our endocannabinoid system and our internal opioid system. CBD, or cannabidiol, is an organic plant compound that interacts primarily with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). This ECS has an extensive reach throughout our nervous system and peripheral body, with receptors being found in nearly every tissue of your body. As a result, it interacts with a wide variety of physical and neurological networks.
If you’ve been wondering, “Does CBD oil work for pain?” then this article will definitely help provide insight into the cannabinoid-pain relationship. If you would like to learn more about the endocannabinoid system-pain connection without the focus on the opioid network, click here.
Through rigorous investigation, researchers have determined that the ECS interacts directly with the human opioid system to manage pain perception, mood balance, and the experience of reward and pleasure. It has been shown that a dysfunctional opioid system can contribute to depression and anxiety. Naturally, the endocannabinoid behavior is known to help alleviate both of these mental states. The ability of the ECS to improve internal opioid concentrations and signaling is just one of many avenues that this network can use to enhance total health and happiness.
CBD and Opioids
CBD is a plant cannabinoid, meaning that this compound is found in nature (industrial hemp) and interacts with the human endocannabinoid system (ECS). The connection between cannabinoids and the opioid network has many implications. As a result, care and feeding of the endocannabinoid system could easily result in a healthier opioid network, allowing the potential management of addiction, withdrawal, pain perception, and mood.
This does not mean that you should use over-the-counter CBD for pain relief or treatment for any other medical issue. The endocannabinoid system responds to many factors. If you wish to promote total wellness, be sure to incorporate a healthy diet, movement, and supplementation. Although some sources state that it is okay to use CBD oil for pain management, we firmly recommend that these products should only be used by healthy adults unless recommended otherwise by a medical expert.
CBD and Opioid Receptors
CBD itself has been shown to act as an allosteric modifier of opioid receptors. This means that CBD can bind to these receptors and alter how they interact with other transmitters. While some types of allosteric modification have been suggested as a safe means of pain relief, the exact nature of CBD’s activity with these receptors has not been determined by researchers at this time. However, some other interactions directly connect plant-cannabinoids to the activation of opioid receptors.
Before we get lost in the science, we’ll detail a few essential endocannabinoid basics. The endocannabinoid system utilizes fatty-acid transmitters and cellular receptors to carry out a vast majority of its activities. The most important of these endocannabinoids are 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) and AEA (anandamide). The most relevant cannabinoid receptors are cannabinoid type 1 and 2 receptors (CB1 and CB2).
The internal cannabinoids mentioned above are known to reduce pain. Likewise, our internal opioids are also known to reduce pain. The most famous examples of our internal opioids are beta-endorphins. Endorphins have become quite well-known due to their ability to promote the “runner’s high” that you experience during and after intense exercise.
For many years, it was thought that these opioid beta-endorphins were the sole cause of the runner’s high. Recently, this narrative has been challenged. Studies now show that the cannabinoid system also plays a crucial role in this euphoric, exercise-induced high.
So, what’s the connection?
Well, activation of both CB1 and CB2 receptors has been connected to the release of beta-endorphins. In addition, the literature we just linked to describes that the release of these endorphins has been related directly to analgesia (pain relief) and nociception (a reduction in pain perception).
As these beta-endorphins are released, they will make their way to their cellular targets, specifically, mu-opioid receptors. By interacting with these opioid receptors, they can promote a sense of ease, wellness, and pleasure.
The two endocannabinoid transmitters we mentioned (2-AG and AEA) have strong potential to activate these cannabinoid receptors. Your system just needs to protect them and allow them to land on their cannabinoid receptor targets. This study showed that the protection of AEA allows the endocannabinoid system to promote opioid activity. In the above study, researchers showed that the inhibition of the FAAH enzyme sufficiently protected AEA, leading to opioid receptor stimulation.
One of CBD’s primary actions is the inhibition of the FAAH enzyme. While it does not have a strong affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, this inhibition allows AEA levels to rise and activate a more significant amount of CB1 receptors. While there is no research available that indicates that the ingestion of CBD will stimulate opioid receptors, this connection is worthy of future investigation.
Additionally, there is research showing that CBD can reduce the activity of the MAGL enzyme. This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of 2-AG, the second primary endocannabinoid. While this reduction of MAGL is not as potent as CBD’s ability to protect AEA, it still indicates that 2-AG concentrations in the body may rise as a result. Regardless, 2-AG and AEA help regulate each other’s concentrations, meaning that both endocannabinoid levels could increase after taking CBD.
2-AG is even more effective than AEA at stimulating CB1 receptors, and it also influences CB2 receptors. As mentioned above, the stimulation of both of these receptors can result in the release of beta-endorphins. More beta-endorphins lead to more opioid receptor activity, producing feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and a mood boost.
Sounds Good. So How Many CBD Gummies Should I Eat to Get That Runner’s High?
Hang on there. While CBD does inhibit FAAH, no studies prove that cannabidiol will result in a greater level of opioid receptor activity. Keep in mind that there isn’t any evidence that these studies have even been performed yet. Additionally, testimonial reports and studies show that Broad Spectrum CBD/CBD Isolate will not get you high. Still, we can safely say that a healthy endocannabinoid system will likely result in balanced amounts of opioid receptor activity, which would be great for your wellbeing in multiple ways.
Now, if you’re looking to answer questions directly related to CBD gummies, click here. But when it comes to taking CBD without medical supervision, we do have a few basic guidelines.
1) Don’t take more than 70mg of CBD per day, according to the recommendations from the UK Food Standards Agency.
2) Start low. These items should only be used as general wellness tonics. To identify your most effective dose, start with a minimum dose of 5mg of CBD every six to eight hours, and build up from there. For personalized info on CBD dosing, feel free to leverage our CBD Dosage Calculator.
3) Stick with it. Many natural supplements and adaptogens take time to build up in the system. The same is often true for CBD. So be consistent for at least one to two weeks before increasing your dose.
4) Ensure that you are in good health, and consider talking to your doctor about your interest in CBD before beginning a new regimen.
So, don’t hesitate to enjoy our premium THC-free cannabidiol products. Just know that if you use them with awareness and a bit of discipline, you’ll definitely have the best experience possible. And stay tuned. As more research is conducted, we’ll be the first to share the details about the fascinating connection between CBD, the ECS, and our natural opioid network.