Both plants and humans create cannabinoids that are slightly similar, but drastically different in its production, utilization, and degradation.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a cannabinoid produced naturally in plants, not the human body. However, the human body naturally produced similar — but distinct — molecules called endo-cannabinoids. To date, science has identified at least two endocannabinoids called 2-AG and AEA.

Below we’ll look at the difference between cannabinoids naturally produced in plants versus cannabinoids naturally created in the human body.

What Is CBD?

CBD is one of 113 known cannabinoids found naturally in plants, such as cannabis, hemp, and potentially a few more within the cannabaceae family (such as hops).

Discovered in the 1940’s, CBD is extracted from cannabis using several methods including CO2 extraction, hydrocarbon, alcohol, ultrasonic, and many more.

Low quality CBD products are those that refine CBD until it’s almost 100% purified crystalline powder.

Whereas high quality CBD products are either broad or full spectrum. 

Full spectrum CBD products have the THC molecule in it, whereas broad spectrum completely removes the THC molecule.

Broad spectrum CBD products are legal in states with strict laws, such as Idaho state CBD laws requiring CBD products have no detectable amounts of the illegal psychoactive THC molecule.

With the growing popularity of CBD, due to its non-psychoactive properties, it’s currently under massive investigation in over 700 of clinical trials for countless conditions.

A few conditions clinical trials are currently investigating include:

  • Pain
  • Chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Colorectal cancer stage 2 & 3
  • Hand osteoarthritis
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Chronic spontaneous urticaria
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Diabetic neuropathies
  • Opioid-use disorder
  • And much much more

CBD research is showing to have a massive impact on the future of health and normal function of the human body.

What Are Endocannabinoids?

Published in the British Journal Of Immunology reveals that almost every single cell in the immune system has the ability to secrete endocannabinoids, on demand, when it’s needed.

Endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids that are naturally produced inside of the human body.

Science has currently identified at least two endocannabinoids and potentially up to five or more.

The full names of the two well known endogenous cannabinoids naturally in your body are called:

  • 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) — Source
  • Arachidonylethanolamide (AEA) — Source

Three other molecules produced in the body, according to the medical journal PLOS ONE, that may also be included in the ECS are called entourage compounds that include:

  • N-palmitoylethanolamide (PEA)
  • N-oleoylethanolamide (SEA)
  • Cis-9-octadecenoamide (OEA)

Ongoing research continues uncovering different functions and aspects of endocannabinoids.

How Are Endocannabinoids Produced In The Human Body And Then Disposed Of After Use?

Endocannabinoids are created and released by the body — via certain enzymes — on demand when the body needs it.

Within the cell membrane are certain phospholipid precursors, or parent molecules the “birth” or create the endocannabinoids.

Some of the functions of the entourage compounds work to slow down the decomposition of endocannabinoids.

What this means is the entourage compounds have the ability to make the endocannabinoids last longer, thus extending the effects of its actions for a longer period of time.

After the endocannabinoids are used up by the body, they are broken down by complex molecules.

The complex molecules that breakdown (degrede) the endocannabinoids are called Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase 1 (FAAH1) and Monoacylglycerol Lipase (MAGL).

Is The Endocannabinoid System Real?

Even though the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was only recently discovered in the late 1980’s, a vast majority of modern medical schools aren’t teaching future doctors about it.

The ECS is a very real system and its primary role is to regulate homeostasis, meaning it balances most all systems in the human body.

As science continues researching the ECS, they’re finding it consists of cannabinoid receptors called CB1 & CB2.

There are numerous other potential candidates for other receptors that cannabinoids interact with that may be officially categorized as a part of the ECS.

With cannabinoid receptors existing on nearly every cell, it is considered one of the largest single systems in the human body.

Dr. David Allen, a former heart surgeon and member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS), shares his understanding of some specific mechanisms of the ECS.

Some specific functions of the ECS Dr. Allen has uncovered is his belief that the ECS controls whether or not cells are burning fat or sugar.

Furthermore, Dr. Allen theorizes the ECS also controls the rate at which sugar or fat is burned by the cells.

Since the ECS potentially controls what cells burn and at what rate the cells burn it, the ECS and cannabinoids receptors may be located on every single cell of the human body.

The ECS may also extend beyond the classic understanding of it simply consisting of the two known cannabinoid receptors.

According to one of the world’s most cited peer-reviewed journal PNAS, other potential parts of the ECS may include:

  • GPR-55 (receptor).
  • GPR-18 (receptor).
  • GPR-119 (receptor).
  • Various TRP (transient receptor potential) channels.
  • Entourage compounds enhancing endocannabinoids.

As science continues research, more verifiable information about technical specifics and function will be revealed.

How Is CBD Produced In Plants?

CBD is created within the cannabis plant via a complex mechanism.

This complex mechanism of creating the CBD molecules begins as a completely different chemical compound and then through certain processes, eventually gets converted into CBD.

Since there are 100+ cannabinoids produced within plants, there are numerous conversions occurring.

With all cannabinoids starting as Cannabigerolic Acid (CBGA), also known as the precursor cannabinoid.

From GBGA, then CBDA, and after applying heat it finally becomes CBD.

Endocannabinoid System And CBD

Since both humans and animals have an ECS, cannabinoids such as CBD provide nutrients to this system to help it operate at a normal optimal rate.

Once the ECS receives plant based cannabinoid nutrients, such as CBD, it’s better able to regulate homeostasis and balance between most all systems in the body.