What is the Endocannabinoid System?


Did you know that your body is producing substances that closely resemble CBD on a molecular level,  in virtually every area of itself... at virtually all times? 

It’s true — and though scientists only discovered this pretty recently, the Endocannabinoid System has a profound impact on how we should view the relationship between our health and the hemp plant. 

Definition of the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ES) is a physiological network that uses hemp-like compounds (endocannabinoids) to foster communication within the body. With this increased communication comes homeostasis, or balance, and this balance allows the bodily conditions required for good health (both physical and mental) to reset themselves. 

If that sounds cryptic, it’s not: according to renowned CBD expert Dr. Dustin Sulak, 

“The endocannabinoid system may be the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.”  

What’s most unique about the ES is that it acts holistically through many moving parts. These can be grouped into three categories: 

Receptors - They absorb cannabinoids and endocannabinoids.

Breakdown Enzymes - They quickly break down excess cannabinoids and endocannabinoids to ensure the ES stays balanced.

Endocannabinoids - They’re the CBD-like substances we mentioned earlier.

It’s not critical that you master these details — just know that the ES is a self-perpetuating, homeostasis-promoting system and that homeostasis is vital for feeling healthy, balanced and relaxed.    


Hemp + You = Balance

Switching focus to the hemp plant for a second, it too produces some very unique compounds that drive homeostasis. One such group of plant compounds is called terpenes; they’re the molecules that give hemp its scent. Also interesting is the fact that hemp contains tens or even hundreds of terpenes...terpenes normally associated with other plants!

But terpenes do more than just smell good. They’re also potent anti-inflammatory agents, and a small molecular size means they can absorb into many receptor sites of the body. Indeed, a terpene present in hemp called beta-caryophyllene works with endocannabinoid receptors so effectively that some researchers feel it should be reclassified as a cannabinoid. 

Many people don’t realize this, but cannabinoids are actually a type of terpene. They’re classified based on the depth of their interaction with the endocannabinoid system —  so while most cannabinoids are indeed found in the cannabis plant family, that’s not their main qualifier.

Cannabinoids found in hemp include CBD, THC, CBG, CBC, CBN, and more. And though these compounds have similar chemical makeups to each other, they often have very different physiological effects. THC, for example, is highly psychoactive, while CBD is only mildly so. 


How Does CBD Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

Because the endocannabinoid system is so complex, improving its health requires a truly holistic solution. Thankfully, that’s exactly what nature has provided in CBD. 

Unlike other substances, CBD gently and indirectly ‘hits’ endocannabinoid receptors and helps the body produce more health-boosting endocannabinoids for itself. Considering that many people in today’s stressful culture are actually endocannabinoid deficient, this quality couldn’t be more critical. 

CBD’s pharmacology gets even more effective when it’s taken in combination with other active cannabinoids and terpenes. This helps ensure that the ES isn’t oversaturated with a single cannabinoid and instead allows it to be fully engaged. And an ever-increasing body of research shows that when the ES is boosted, exciting things happen: 

  • Inflammation goes down [1]

  • Chronic pain is reduced [2]

  • Mood goes up [3]

  • Brain health improves [4]

  • Sleep is better [5]

  • Stress goes down [6]

In light of these benefits, the goal of anybody using CBD should be to engage and rebalance the endocannabinoid system. 

Research shows that the ES responds best to whole plant CBD products with active terpenes and cannabinoids intact — four times better than CBD alone, according to a pivotal Israeli study.  

Additionally, research is also demonstrating that the most bioavailable delivery method for CBD is as a low temperature vapor. This delivery method serves a dual function:

  1. The molecular structure of cannabinoids and terpenes are better preserved as a low temperature vapor (while they are destroyed at higher temperatures).

  2. Cannabinoids and terpenes are directly exposed to the ES and the olfactory system, both of which regulate homeostasis.

This phenomenon of CBD's increased effectivness in combination with terpenes is so strong, it even has its own name: the entourage effect. Research also shows that consistency is highly important — so be sure to take an appropriate amount of CBD each day!  

We believe that nature knows how to activate the endocannabinoid system best. That’s why all Lumi products use a range of therapeutic compounds, including active terpenes and cannabinoids, to fully (and gently!) engage the endocannabinoid system.  

Our products are also designed to make the most of the entourage effect. They immerse users in a subtle experience of calmness and relaxation, an experience with more nuance and depth than what you’d get from CBD-only products. 

Combine these two things — ES activation + the entourage effect — and what you get is a body in balance. Terpene profiles target specific outcomes, and cannabinoids help the body work towards the outcome it knows is best for itself. That is a holistic combination...and our intention is to bring its goodness directly to you.