What Is The Endocannabinoid System

Many of the body’s most important functions are controlled by the endocannabinoid system, which researchers in the early 1990s explored.

Cannabis plants and their cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, and phytocannabinoids all contain compounds that activate the system, which is why it is called endophytocannabinoids rather than phytocannabinoids.

Scientists found cannabinoid receptors because they figured out how THC and other phytocannabinoids engage with the human body. In honor of the cannabis chemicals that activate them, they were termed cannabinoid receptors.

Researchers then revealed that the body creates chemicals that fit into the same receptors. Endocannabinoids were given this name.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates memory, hunger, body temperature, immune system, sleep, pain, and the female reproductive system, among other things. It is thought that the ECS regulates these functions to maintain homeostasis in the body. It has even been referred to as the “master regulator of homeostasis” by researchers.

What Is The Function Of The Endocannabinoid System?


Understanding how the ECS works will help you understand what it is. Let’s say you’re experiencing some form of discomfort.

Let’s pretend that Emma and her dog are out for a jog at the park. She twists her ankle after tripping over a rock. Emma immediately experiences pain due to her fall, a natural response to the impact.

A person’s central nervous system (CNS) activates enzymes to halt pain signals once the fall is over. To carry out their functions, these enzymes produce endocannabinoids, primarily anandamide and 2-AG.

2-AG Anandamide and Anandamide are the primary endocannabinoid compounds 

  • Anandamide

Anandamide, also known as the “bliss molecule,” is an important neurotransmitter involved in mood, reward, and emotion regulation.

Despair, stress, and schizophrenia are all connected to a lack of anandamide in the body. Several pharmaceutical drugs used to treat anxiety and discomfort may boost anandamide levels.

  • 2-AG (2-Arachidonoylglycerol)

2-AG has been shown to have a role in decreasing inflammation and regulating other autoimmune functions. Aside from its role in mood and emotion, 2-AG also has a role in memory and reproductive health, and sleep cycle regulation.

It’s like having a key that only works for one type of lock. Endocannabinoids are lipid signals that activate specific cell receptors. These so-called “locks” are receptors found on cells all over the body.

Enzymes produce an endocannabinoid in the body to promote proper inflammation at the site of an injury, such as Emma’s ankle. Endocannabinoids are synthesized, used, and then rapidly degraded in the body in a matter of seconds.

Cannabinoid Receptors: Why Cannabis Is Used To Treat Such A Wide Variety Of Issues

Cannabis interacts with the ECS, which is found throughout the body, even though we don’t know exactly how it does so. Back pain, anxiety, seizure disorders, and autism spectrum disorder are just a few conditions where the ECS is particularly active (ASD).

The immune system has a high concentration of cannabinoid receptors, which describes why CBD can help people with diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. On the skin, cannabis can interact with conditions like psoriasis and in the airways, affecting respiratory conditions such as asthma.

There are many reasons why cannabis works so well for various ailments, but the most important one is that it interacts with a system that exists throughout the human body.

As the name suggests, there are two significant types of receptors: CB1 and CB2

  • CB1 receptors

These are present everywhere inside the body, with the largest concentrations in the spinal cord and brain. Hypothalamic CB1 receptors control metabolism, while amygdala CB1 receptors control emotional response. Most nerve endings contain CB1 receptors, which control signals such as pain.

  • CB2 receptors

Immune-related peripheral tissues have a high concentration of CB2 receptors despite their widespread distribution. It is possible that CB2 influences the body’s ability to respond to disease, as the body tends to increase CB2 receptor availability in injured tissues. Receptors for the cannabinoid CB2 reduce inflammation when activated.

Cannabis Research and the Endocannabinoid System

The ECS and cannabis research is still in its infancy. Researchers in St. Louis, Missouri, found the first CBD receptor (CB1) in 1988, and just four years after, researchers in Israel unearthed the first endocannabinoid (anandamide).

For decades, the use of cannabis as a medicine was outlawed, making it impossible to obtain. Anecdotal reports from those who were theoretically breaking the law were the primary source of evidence for its medical benefits in the early days. Today, there are still many obstacles to research.

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