What is the role of the endocannabinoid system?

If you’ve spent any time learning about cannabis and its effects on the body, you’ve heard of the endocannabinoid system. Every mammal has one within their central and peripheral nervous system, and its role involves maintaining homeostasis and mitigating dysfunction throughout the body. When you consume cannabis, whether it’s by taking drops of CBD oil or smoking a joint, the effects you feel are a direct result of your endocannabinoid system doing its job.

There are several components of the endocannabinoid system that help provide the relief that so many people seek from CBD and cannabis. This system is so powerful that some doctors have identified Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency as a contributor to many chronic illnesses, especially those caused by inflammation.

The better you understand this system and how it works, the easier it will be for you to make informed decisions about what products are best for you and your health. 

Here are the most significant components of the ECS:


CB1 receptors

CB1 receptors are found most densely throughout the brain and spinal cord, but they exist all throughout the body. These receptors are responsible for the psychoactive effects of THC that you feel when you smoke weed. CB1 and THC work like a “lock and key” - the THC binds to the receptor to mimic and boost its effects, which helps relieve imbalances like pain, nausea, fear, and anxiety.


CB2 receptors

CB2 receptors are located on the surface of immune cells in the nose, throat, spleen, bladder, bowels, thymus, bone marrow, tonsils, and skin. When something like injury or illness causes the immune system to go into overdrive, it sends inflammatory responses to the source of the problem to alert you that something isn’t right. It’s the job of CB2 receptors to reduce these responses, which often cause pain and inflammation as the main symptoms. 


Endogenous Cannabinoids

Endogenous cannabinoids are the regulators of the endocannabinoid system. These lipids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), act as neurotransmitters that deliver specific instructions to CB1 and CB2 receptors. These messages are forwarded to the surrounding cells they target to help relieve unpleasant symptoms. 

Anandamide is known as the “bliss molecule” because its effects are close to the euphoria produced by THC. 

2-AG is the most plentiful endocannabinoid in the body. It helps improve the binding mechanism of CB2 receptors. 

Both of these endogenous cannabinoids play a critical role in the messages sent throughout your body. Interested in reading more about them? Check out this in-depth journal on endogenous cannabinoids and their role in your health.


Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase

Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) is the buzzkill of the party, but it’s also where CBD comes to the rescue. This fatty acid breaks down cannabinoids at their receptor site, reducing the strength of their messages and thus reducing your relief from symptoms. 

One way CBD benefits the endocannabinoid system is by stalling this process, allowing more time for your body to build up its supply of cannabinoids before FAAH crashes the party.


Phytocannabinoids

Phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids found in plants rather than body. While there are many types of plants that contain cannabinoids, the highest quantities are found in cannabis. The molecular structure of phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids are so similar that they are used interchangeably to send messages to CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

The two most abundant phytocannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), although cannabis plants can contain more than 100 different cannabinoids, each with its own unique way of interacting with the endocannabinoid system. 

The bottom line is that your endocannabinoid system is as unique as you are; the better you understand it, the easier it will be for you to make informed decisions about cannabis products and your health. Our CBD drops are free of THC, minty fresh, and one of the fastest ways to deliver CBD right to your system. We welcome you to give them a try today and discover the power of your endocannabinoid system.