by Kristin Henningsen
We’ve all had the experience. Whether it’s going for a run, giving a presentation at work or wrestling with a car seat, our body temperature starts to rise. As soon as we begin to overheat, we start to sweat, our face gets red and we crave a cool drink of water (or, let’s be honest, something stronger). While it may be inconvenient, this is a prime example of our bodies working hard to bring us back into balance, or homeostasis.
Homeostasis is the natural process of actively maintaining the stable conditions necessary for survival. That means keeping our body temperature in the sweet spot of 98.6 degrees, our blood pressure stable, and steady levels of water, oxygen and salt flowing through the body. But it’s not just these basic physiologic effects that are important to survival. We are also engaging this homeostatic process when we deal with everyday stressors that affect our mood, our energy levels and our focus. How so? Enter the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
While not yet fully understood, the endocannabinoid system is at its heart a complex cell-signaling system that helps to regulate sleep, mood, memory and hormones. It even has a range of effects on appetite. It’s basically your homeostatic dial for your neuroendocrine system, our bridge between body and mind. Under optimal circumstances, we produce our own internal molecules called endocannabinoids that will bind to cell receptors like the CB1 receptors in the central nervous system, or CB2 receptors primarily found in the immune system, to bring all of the above into balance. Sometimes when we’re under stress, however, it can be helpful to get a boost to keep things humming along. Luckily, there are external sources of cannabinoids that our body can utilize, such as CBD.
ECS, Meet CBD
One of the powerhouses that hemp or Cannabis sp. contains is cannabidiol, or CBD. While it doesn’t bind directly with cannabinoid receptors in our cells, researchers believe that it inhibits the breakdown of your own endocannabinoids, essentially making them more effective. When we are able to fully utilize our own internal homeostatic control, we build more resilience to stay in balance, even under stressful conditions like being overscheduled or not eating well.
The Role of Adaptogens
CBD doesn’t have to do all the heavy lifting, however. Adaptogenic herbs like Bacopa, Rhodiola and Lion’s Mane also play an important supporting role for the neuroendocrine system by optimizing this resilience even more. Helping to modulate the stress response, these herbs have been shown to increase performance by improving energy production at the cellular level, without overstimulating. The research on adaptogens is clear; not only can they support mood and focus, but they can also help us to maintain our energy levels — which is why we here at FOCL have mixed them in with full-spectrum CBD in our wellness stacks.
Keeping ourselves in balance may be a natural process. However, we can all use a little support. Integrating these tools into our daily lives can help us feel like our best selves, living our best life.
Kristin Henningsen MS, RH (AHG), RYT, is a clinical herbalist and educator who first fell in love with plants in the Desert Southwest. She’s passionate about bringing plant medicine back to the people and integrating Western herbalism, TCM and Ayurvedic practices to empower folks in their healthcare. She maintains a private clinical practice and serves as faculty for several university programs.