ALTA CBD and Homeostasis

Homeostasis and the Endocannabinoid System

At the Alta headquarters, we continue to keep our fingers on the pulse of the current research regarding CBD and the role it plays in maintaining and improving our health. At present, a number of studies are tracking the ways CBD and other cannabinoids can influence the human endocannabinoid system with the potential to improve our bodies ability to maintain homeostasis.

What is Homeostasis?

In humans, homeostasis refers to any process or reaction that our body uses to maintain internal balance in an ever-changing external environment. This ultimately keeps our bodies functioning properly and, in many cases, these efforts are necessary for survival.

Throughout the body, we have auto-control systems which are constantly adjusting in order to maintain the ideal level of vital conditions, such as oxygen, hydration and internal temperature. To maintain the necessary temperature of around 37°C, the body monitors changes and signals the appropriate response when needed. We sweat when our internal temperatures get too high, and shiver to produce heat when temperatures get too low. These sub-conscious efforts of regulation are constantly happening in the body to mitigate changes and bring us back to a state of equilibrium.

Why Homeostasis is Important for Health

To survive, grow and function, all organisms must be able to maintain stable internal environments. If our body doesn’t adapt, disturbances to equilibrium can lead to health problems, ranging from minor symptoms like headaches to more serious ailments. In humans, diseases like arthritis, epilepsy, stroke, obesity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and glaucoma are some of the conditions that have been linked to a loss of balance, or homeostasis. Whether or not the body is able to adjust to change directly impacts the likelihood that a disease will develop.

What influence does the Endocannabinoid system have over maintaining Homeostasis?

The endocannabinoid system has extensive influence over homeostasis, as it is responsible for regulating the biochemistry related to an array of processes. Pain management, immune response, appetite, energy regulation, mood, and memory are just some of the functions that are managed by this biological network.

The endocannabinoid system works to uphold homeostasis by utilizing cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors found throughout the immune system and central and peripheral nervous systems. When an imbalance is detected, the body naturally synthesizes cannabinoids to interact with the cannabinoid receptors, which in turn stimulate a chemical response that works to return the physiological process that is out of balance back to homeostasis. Cannabinoids permit the communication and synchronization between different cell types.

The body naturally synthesizes cannabinoids on demand, but scientists believe that in some cases not enough cannabinoids are created for the endocannabinoid system to work effectively. This condition, referred to as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, has been linked to several health problems and diseases. In these cases, researchers have found evidence that supplementing with phytocannabinoids, such as CBD, may help boost the endocannabinoid system to function properly and lead to improved health.

You can learn more about cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system by visiting our Education page.