Homeostasis refers to an organism or cell’s ability to regulate its internal conditions to maintain health and functioning, regardless of outside conditions. You can think of it as a state of “optimal balance” where your biological systems are self-regulating and functioning at their best.
A couple of years ago, a remarkable thing happened when CBD became legal in all 50 of the US states. If you remove CBD from the THC coming from the cannabis plant or the hemp plant CBD is now legal to use as a nutritional supplement. Since that time, of course, the market has exploded with interest and this conversation today is about the physiological effects of CBD on the human body. Truly, CBD is not just another nutritional supplement.
This short conversation is going to accurately describe the intense scientific research that’s going on around the world, but in simple language so that everyone understands why CBD is so important for human physiology.
What is health?
We may take the idea of health for granted. In order to comprehend the significance of CBD to our health, we first have to ask the simple question, “what exactly is our health?” Is it just the absence of disease? If you don’t have symptoms, it must be healthy? Well, it’s actually a far more important question and a deeper question than just that. How does human physiology actually work? How is it designed?
Your body works best when it’s in homeostasis
In general, every aspect of human physiology is based on the balance between polar opposites, between the positive and negative (or the “Yin and the Yang” if you prefer). This creates homeostasis.
When we look at specific parts of our physiology, like the immune system, the opposites would be anti-inflammation and inflammation. The negative and the positive. When those two things are in balance, your immune system is functioning properly.
If we’re talking about our nervous system, then we’re talking about the forces of excitation and the forces of inhibition or relaxation.
When we’re talking about our endocrine system or our hormone system, we have the forces of breaking down tissue or the catabolic hormones and we have the anabolic hormones which build up tissue. When those two forces are in balance, we have homeostasis of our endocrine or hormone system.
If we’re talking about oxidation, we have forces of antioxidation and forces of oxidation.
Most people think that you have to just take buckets full of antioxidants all the time if oxidation is bad. This is not true. If you didn’t have oxidation and the forces of oxidation in your bodies, you couldn’t survive even one minute. Those two things have to be in balance. They have to be in homeostasis.
All of our physiological systems have to be in this constant state of homeostasis. A dynamic balance. The stronger your physiology’s ability to stay in homeostasis, the healthier you are.
What exactly is homeostasis?
This is kind of difficult to understand and the best way is with a model of a hanging mobile. You’ve probably played with this when you were a kid. Perhaps you even have some of these in your home right now.
We have all of these horizontal elements with little strings hanging down from them and we have these stars hanging at the bottom. In this particular model, the stars represent signalling molecules.
- If this is a model of your neurology, the stars that are hanging would be the neurotransmitters.
- If this was a mobile of your endocrine system, your hormone system, then the hanging stars would be hormones, and
- If this was your immune system, the hanging stars would be cytokines or lymphokines.
These are the signalling molecules that make your immune system work.
Now, what is homeostasis? It’s quite simple. If you change anything in this mobile, it affects everything else in this mobile.
Your body can fall out of homeostasis
Let’s say for example that the star down here at the bottom that’s now big and swollen and red gets weighted down as if you took some weight and attached it to the mobile hanging in your home. That star is going to pull down and everything in the mobile is going to shift. You can’t change any one element without affecting every element in a mobile…
What’s interesting, however, is that initially, the mobile is going to go through these oscillations where things are bouncing up and down and shifting up and down until the oscillation slowly quiet and the mobile finds a new point of homeostasis, a new point of balance.
Now everything has shifted in the mobile. The stars are all in different locations now and many of the sticks are no longer horizontal. They’re kind of twisted at one angle or another. But our physiologies are so smart that they will find a new point of balance.
During the shifting and the oscillation is when you feel sick when you have symptoms, but our body, our physiology will compensate and the new balance will be found and you can continue to function.
Many pharmaceuticals prevent homeostasis
Of course pharmaceuticals can be remarkable tools in the quest for better health. Many of us would not be here were it not for pharmaceuticals and modern medicine. We’re not Big Pharma conspiracists unwilling to acknowledge the good traditional medicine has done and continues to do. But many modern drugs have serious side-effects and it would be remiss to pretend they don’t.
Let’s look at how modern medicine with pharmaceutical drugs interacts with your body’s systems. Say you have another one of these stars, another one of these elements that goes a little bit haywire. This star over here on the left…
So you’re feeling lousy and you go to the doctor and the doctor does some kind of test and decides, “Okay, we need to give you a drug.” And so you take a drug, some kind of pharmaceutical drug to deal with this one element over here on the left that’s now gone haywire. And the drug is designed to clamp down on those symptoms.
Notice that the drug is designed to deal with exactly that one star, not the entire system with a mobile, but that one star and the symptoms that it’s creating. However, we know that pharmaceutical drugs have many, many unintended side effects.
And so because of the drug you’re taking now another star goes haywire and you have more symptoms and now you have to take a drug to counteract the symptoms and their first drug. So you clamp down on that star as well… And then a third one goes haywire. You clamp down on that one as well. And let’s say now you seem to be stable, you seem to be functioning and everything is fine… Well, is it really?
Pharmaceuticals can mask underlying problems
Everything seems to be stable here because the mobile isn’t shifting anymore. But let’s take a closer look at your system. This is what’s actually happening.
You now have all sorts of artificial weights attached to your physiology to your mobile.
You can see that your physiology is under a lot of stress. The weight of all of these different drugs and these overexpressed stars are pulling down heavily on this mobile. And you can see that some of those bars are now bent because they’re under so much tension.
One more little thing going wrong with your physiology. Perhaps it’s something as simple as a cold or a little virus or some kind of drug interaction that you didn’t anticipate and now something breaks. This system is under so much tension and so much stress that the oscillations would be huge and you might find yourself with a medical emergency on your hands.
So in a nutshell, pharmaceutical drugs work at the level of the symptoms, not the systems, which causes enormous strain on your human physiology. This highlights the difference between how pharmaceutical drugs work at the level of the stars and how CBD works.
Correct the cause, not just the symptoms
CBD instead of working at the level of the stars works at the level of the system of balance at the nexus of balance represented by these green orbs where the string attaches to the stick.
That’s where the system knows if it’s in balance or out of balance. It can’t tell what’s happening at the level of the star, but it knows what’s happening right there in that green crystalline orb where balance is maintained and established.
So in the model that we are using the mobile to highlight how our physiology works, that’s where CBD works.
Our body is designed to work with CBD
Now in our actual physiology, where does CBD work? Let’s take a closer look.
We’re going to travel into our physiology right into our central nervous system and we’re going to see at the level of individual cells that the cell’s surface is covered with these green receptors.
These are receptors for cannabinoids like CBD, and when cannabinoids bind to that receptor, it sends a message into the cell, which travels all the way down into the nucleus of the cell where the intelligence of our entire physiology is contained within our chromosomes.
Our chromosomes contain the DNA that is the code for everything that our body does. This is like the software that runs our physiology, e.g. neurotransmitters that run our nervous system, our hormones that run our endocrine system and our cytokines that run our immune system.
CBD modulates the transcriptions of over 1,100 genes that make the signalling molecules that naturally reduce inflammation in our central nervous system and throughout our immune system restoring homeostasis to both our immune and to our central nervous systems.
So, CBD up-regulates the genes that create anti-inflammatory biochemicals for our immune system and up-regulates the GABA system (a neurotransmitter of the central nervous system that inhibits excitatory responses) in our central nervous system, which brings calmness to our central nervous system.
CBD down-regulates the genes that create the inflammatory biochemicals in our immune system. And also down-regulates the glutamate system in our central nervous system, which causes overexcitation.
CBD restores homeostasis
We go back to our one star that’s out of whack and now we introduce CBD and we see a cascade going through all the points of balance in our system and the mobile comes back to homeostasis to its original stable, beautiful balance.
Now our physiological systems are far more complex than a simple mobile that I’ve been showing you here with only 12 stars. For instance, our immune system has 350 different signalling molecules on it. So it’s an enormous mobile, which also explains why there’re so many unintended drug interactions. Because if you affect any one of those little stars, it’s going to shift all 350 of those other stars and who could possibly figure that out.
So in fact, here’s what our immune system would look like.
And of course when you introduce CBD to our amazingly complex physiology. In the immune system, the cascade of homeostasis trickles down through all 350 of those stars. It’s a beautiful thing.
Bottom line, CBD causes a cascade of homeostasis through our entire central nervous system in our entire immune system. So why is this happening? Because as mentioned before, we have receptors in our physiology for CBD. This is called the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system is a network of cells throughout our body that have receptors for CBD and other cannabinoids. In fact, there are more receptors for CBD in our body than any other kind of receptor. It is truly the largest network of its kind throughout our entire physiology.
Start to feel better
CBD receptors can be found throughout your body: your central nervous system, your cardiovascular system; immune system – everywhere. Why is this important? What does this matter? How is this important?
Among other things, we now know that we make our own cannabinoids in our body called anandamide and 2AG.
Anandamide is something that we create when we’re meditating. Hence it’s called the bliss molecule. And 2AG, as well as anandamide, are released in the mother’s milk when a child is breastfeeding. These 2 compounds are also associated with runner’s high, when you’re running and suddenly you’re in bliss, you kind of break through the wall and now you just feel wonderful.
CBD is a health tonic for modern life
If you live in an urban environment, you are inflamed. Your central nervous system is inflamed, your immune system is inflamed. And nobody is exempt from their physiological systems being assaulted.
Our bodies are assaulted from environmental toxins such as herbicides, insecticides, and heavy metals, chronic biological infections such as bacteria, viruses, fungus, and moulds. And last but not least, we have poor, inflammatory diets which contain way too much sugar. This causes leaky gut and inflamed gut that give rise to chronic health issues.
So what kind of symptoms, what kind of stress do all these things cause to us? If your immune system is inflamed, you might be suffering from autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, inflamed bowel disease, lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, psoriasis and eczema. All sorts of other chronic infections.
Do you realise many of these things? Didn’t even exist a hundred or 150 years ago? Incidents of these kinds of diseases are growing throughout the last century because of the environmental load of toxins that we are now absorbing into our systems.
Now let’s take a look at your central nervous system. If it is inflamed, what kind of things might you be suffering from? Brain fog, migraines, epilepsy, anxiety, PTSD, ADD, ADHD and insomnia. Again, a hundred or 150 years ago, these kinds of symptoms, these kinds of diseases were really rare.
And over the last hundred and 50 years, because of the assault, the ongoing assault to our systems, these kinds of things are more and more prevalent every year. So if you are suffering from any of these conditions, any of these symptoms, CBD, might provide you with tremendous relief, right through your own natural endocannabinoid system that brings homeostasis both to your immune system and to your central nervous system.
In conclusion, what have we learned from this conversation? That health is achieved through physiological homeostasis, right through our natural endocannabinoid systems and therefore CBD is an indispensable catalyst for optimal health.