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How CBD Balm Interacts with the Endocannabinoid System within the Body

CBD, short for cannabidiol, has gained significant popularity in recent years for its potential therapeutic benefits. This compound, derived from the cannabis plant, interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and overall well-being. CBD can be used in various forms, including topicals like CBD balms, which offer targeted relief to specific areas of the body. In this blog, we will explore how CBD balm interacts with the endocannabinoid system within the body.

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Before diving into how CBD balm interacts with the ECS, it's important to understand what the endocannabinoid system is and its significance in the body. The ECS is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that are naturally produced by the body. Its primary function is to regulate various processes and maintain homeostasis in the body, such as mood, appetite, immune response, sleep patterns, and pain perception.

The ECS is comprised of three main components:

  1. Endocannabinoids: These are naturally occurring cannabinoids produced by the body, such as anandamide and 2-AG. They are synthesised on-demand and bind to cannabinoid receptors to regulate bodily functions.

  2. Cannabinoid Receptors: The ECS has two types of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are predominantly located in peripheral tissues, especially in the immune system.

  3. Enzymes: Enzymes play a vital role in breaking down endocannabinoids once they have completed their function. Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) breaks down anandamide, and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) breaks down 2-AG.

How CBD Balm Interacts with the ECS

CBD balm, when applied topically, interacts with the ECS primarily through the peripheral CB2 receptors found in the skin and underlying tissues. Although CBD does not directly bind to these receptors, it influences the activity of the ECS in several ways.

  1. Antagonism of Enzymes: CBD has been shown to inhibit the enzymes FAAH and MAGL, responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids. By inhibiting these enzymes, CBD prolongs the activity of naturally occurring endocannabinoids, allowing them to exert their effects for a longer duration.

  2. Indirect Activation of Receptors: CBD indirectly affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors by modulating their signaling. It enhances the binding affinity of CB1 receptors for endogenous cannabinoids like anandamide, allowing them to bind more effectively and exert their effects.

  3. Influence on Other Receptors: CBD also interacts with other non-cannabinoid receptors in the body, such as the serotonin 5-HT1A receptor and the TRPV1 receptor, involved in pain perception and inflammation. These interactions contribute to CBD's potential analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

  4. Reducing Inflammation: CBD has been shown to suppress the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial when CBD balm is used to target sore muscles, joint pain, or skin irritations.

  5. Promoting Homeostasis: One of the key roles of the ECS is maintaining balance or homeostasis within the body. CBD balm can help support this by influencing the activity of the ECS and restoring equilibrium in various physiological processes.

It's important to note that the science surrounding CBD and the ECS is still in its early stages, and further research is needed to fully understand the extent of CBD's interactions with the ECS. Nonetheless, the existing studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that CBD balm can provide localised relief to specific areas of the body by interacting with the ECS.


The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network within the body that regulates various physiological processes and maintains homeostasis. CBD balm interacts with the ECS primarily through peripheral CB2 receptors found in the skin. By inhibiting enzymes that break down endocannabinoids, CBD balm prolongs the activity of these naturally occurring cannabinoids, allowing them to exert their effects for longer. Additionally, CBD influences other receptors and reduces inflammation, contributing to its potential therapeutic benefits.

However, it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before using CBD balm or any CBD products, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking medications. They can provide personalised advice and guidance based on your specific needs and circumstances.

While CBD balm has shown potential for providing targeted relief, more research is needed to fully understand its precise interactions with the ECS and its long-term effects. Nonetheless, many individuals have reported positive experiences using CBD balms for various ailments, making it a popular choice for localised relief.

Find out more about our balms infused with essential oils.

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