What is the Role of the Endocannabinoid System?

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Endocannabinoid System

While researchers explored the functions of THC back in the 1990s, they accidentally stumbled upon the endocannabinoid system (commonly referred to as the ECS) within the human body. THC, which is a cannabinoid associated with the cannabis plant, was under study to prove and research its beneficial therapeutic properties. 

Even though the ECS is still under intense research, it is clear that the system helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep, pain sensation, memory, and even fertility. It regulates these functions through sending signals from the brain through the vertebrate central nervous system. 

Learn more about systems within your body here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_systems_of_the_human_body

To help you understand it a bit better, we will explain it in simple terms. 

WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM? 

The ECS is a biological system within the human body that consists of three major components: cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes.  

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body. When the ECS releases AEA and 2-AG into the system, these receptors pick up the signal in order to take action in providing certain functions. 

Receptors are divided into two groups; the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are found within the central nervous system whereas CB2 receptors are found in immune cell and peripheral nervous system. 

Depending on which area the receptors are located in, will determine what function it plays in the body. When endocannabinoids released from the ECS binds to CB1 receptors, it will relieve pain. When it binds to CB2 receptors it will be able to improve the immune system. 

To enhance the production of cannabinoids released into the body, to relieve certain symptoms, people can use CBD products. You can look these up to learn more about the connection between CBD products and the ECS. 

Endocannabinoids 

They are naturally produced by the body; they are classified as molecules. It has been discovered that these endocannabinoids are similar to cannabidiols (CBD) that is found in the cannabis plant. With the only difference being, that endocannabinoids are produced by your ECS and CBD is produced by the hemp or marijuana plant. 

There are two key endocannabinoids in the body known as the AEA (anandamide) and the 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglyerol). Their main function is to help run internal functions by the body. Further research will show how much of each is produced at a time. But experts have reported that our bodies only produce them as necessary. 

Enzymes

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Once the endocannabinoids in the body has performed their function, they have to be broken down. Enzymes help with this process. AEA is broken down by fatty acid amide hydrolase, and 2-AG is broken down by monoacylglycerol acid lipase. 

Enzymes are found throughout the body in many different parts. Although they are still under examination and research. These enzymes are important in the function of the ECS. 

WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE ECS? 

Because the system is so complicated, experts still have to fully understand it. Recent studies have shown that it is linked to many bodily processes including; gross motor skills, metabolism, inflammation, immune system, sleep, liver and reproductive system function, stress, anxiety, depression, mood, memorization, and pain function. 

To help the body cope with the above-mentioned processes, endocannabinoids are released into the body. When receptors receive and bind to these endocannabinoids, they have therapeutic effects on the body. As a result, the body will experience relief from many symptoms linked to acute medical conditions. 

THC, CBD, AND THE ECS

Major cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant is THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). Both these cannabinoids can enhance the production of endocannabinoids from the ECS. THC and CBD bind to receptors and enhance certain body functions. As a result, your body will have a greater relief from certain symptoms. 

The difference between THC and CBD is that THC has psychoactive effects whereas CBD has not. This is because of a high THC level that is found in the marijuana plant. CBD is extracted from the hemp cannabis plant and therefore has a very low (less than 0.3% THC level), which doesn’t give it psychoactive properties. 

The endocannabinoid system is a wondrous structure within the body, that still needs to be fully researched to be completely understood. Thus far, it has proven to be part of treating many uncomfortable symptoms due to medical conditions.

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