All About the Endocannabinoid System
Everyone out there has an endocannabinoid system, otherwise known as ECS. This is a network of various receptors, lipids, along with enzymes that actually control homeostasis and how we experience each aspect of cannabis.
While it was only found in as early as the 1980s, this has become one of the top scientific discoveries, contributing to sleep, appetite, immunity, and all life functions. This can actually cause lots of problems if left off-kilter and not at ideal levels, including diseases, and it can actually impact how our systems are regulated as well.
How it Works
Cannabinoids that are found in plants like cannabis do interact with this. THC and CBD are both known for this, one of them intoxicating, the other more relaxing. But if you think about it, some of these cannabis plants contain over 150 different chemicals.
The human body also has its own cannabinoids as well, and these are called endocannabinoids. They are cannabinoids in the body that bind to your receptors in the CNS, the immune cells, and pretty much in the brain and other skin cells too. Two of the most important cannabinoids are anandamide or AEA, and arachidonoglycerol, otherwise known as 2-AG, and these are the primary ones.
Anandamide is pretty much the natural THC, and it’s responsible for happiness in people. 2-AG in contrast is of course, the one that’s similar to CBD, since it does have painkilling aspects of it, along with anti-inflammatory effects too, and is found all throughout your central nervous system too.
The receptors are pretty much found everywhere and the ECS is your mainframe to your body, and these cannabinoids communicate with it through what’s called receptors. These are usually the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and there are others too, including opioid, dopamine, serotonin, and other receptors too. But for the purpose of cannabis, the main focus is of course CB1 and CB2, since these are the ones that actually add the most function. CB1 is actually located near the CAN and brain and is responsible for the brain and cannabis functions.
THC binds to this one, creating the effects. But this also does something else. It decreases glutamate and GABA responses, and it can actually slow down and calm the nervous system. THC is pretty much the blocker for the production of this, and it can actually help to keep the dopamine levels higher and help to prevent too much stimulation of your nervous system. It also impacts our sense of time, impacts our appetite, helps get rid of the pain in the body, reduces nausea, helps to keep the psychoactive effects high, and also offering a more relaxed and toned down response. The CB2 receptors in contrast are found in the immune system and your nervous cells too, and it can actually be found in the GI tract too. These cause different functions, including reducing immune response, causing cell death, and also pushing for cell development and movement, which is pinnacle for tumors or cells that are precancerous.
They also are agonists, and they actually can help with inflammation, with research saying that CBD, when it targets these receptors, can help with the treatment of this. Basically, when these cannabinoids do bind with the system, a ton of crazy and great things happen to the body, all of which are encouraged in the cells, so it can be a great thing for many, and it’s something that is still being researched to understand today, especially when it comes to the way it impacts the body as well for you.