When we started this venture, we had no idea if we could even grow a hemp plant, let alone if we would be successful at harvesting and producing products. Early on, we decided that we wanted to be involved in every step of the farming process. From seed to final product, we grow, harvest, and process our hemp by hand using natural and organic practices. We're putting our product in our bodies as well, so we don't use anything we wouldn't want to ingest ourselves.
After two successful crops, we had accumulated enough product to start developing a full product line. We spent months discussing the types of products we wanted to carry, developing high quality formulations, sourcing the best possible ingredients, and designing attractive labeling and packaging for everything we had created. Just over one year after we were granted our Texas Hemp Producer's License by the Texas Department of Agriculture, we were confident that we were ready to present our products for sale!
Our debut at the 2021 Brazos Holistic Fair could not have gone better. We were able to present our product line to the public along with helping to provide education to people seeking a more natural approach to their everyday wellbeing. It was during this process of engaging with people at our booth that I began developing the idea for this blog post.
What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
Before we dive into the ECS, let's talk about cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as CBD, CBG, CBN, CBC, and THC. Researchers have found at least 113 cannabinoids with more being discovered as restrictions on cannabis research are slowly being lifted. There are 3 types of cannabinoids: phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids naturally occurring in the cannabis plant), synthetic cannabinoids (lab created), and endocannabinoids (naturally occurring in the body). This brings us to the endocannabinoid system!
All living animals (both vertebrate and invertebrate) have endocannabinoid systems. I won't dive too deeply into the scientific mechanisms of the ECS, but research has shown that some of its prime functions include playing "an important role in multiple aspects of neural functions, including the control of movement and motor coordination, learning and memory, emotion and motivation, addictive-like behavior and pain modulation, among others" (Wikipedia). In short, the ECS plays an important role in regulating homeostasis in the body.
Our ECS has 2 types of receptors- EC1 and EC2. EC1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and nervous system and in the tissue of some organs, whereas EC2 receptors are primarily located in the cells of various parts of the immune system as well as the stomach, heart, pancreas, digestive tract, bone, and the lymphatic system. You may have heard that no one has ever died due to an overdose on cannabis. This is true
because there are no EC receptors located in the parts of the body that regulate breathing and heart rate.
Phytocannabinoids (such as CBD and CBG) found in cannabis bind to the EC1 and EC2 receptors, mimicking natural endocannabinoids, thus playing a role in the regulation of sleep, memory, mood, appetite, inflammation, and many other functions that contribute to homeostasis in the body. In short, phytocannabinoids have the potential to help regulate sleep, relieve anxiety, reduce the symptoms of PTSD, autism, seizure disorders, and relieve chronic pain.
Research on cannabinoids in relation to the ECS system is in its infancy due to cannabis being listed as a schedule I substance. The field of study has exploded in the past few years as many states have legalized, and legislation changes have led the government to grant research permits to large universities. We still have a long way to go in fully understanding the vast array of benefits of this amazing plant.
I encourage you to take a look at some of the linked articles for a deeper dive into the ECS. If you have any questions, please reach out! We would love to engage with you.