What is the endocannabinoid system?
Do you know what the endocannabinoid system is? If not, you’re not alone! This system is relatively unknown, even though it’s responsible for a variety of essential functions in the human body. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered in 1992, and scientists still learn new things about it daily. In this blog post, we will discuss the endocannabinoid system, its functions, and how it affects your health.
Discovering the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system was discovered in 1992 by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, a scientist from Israel. Dr. Mechoulam was studying THC, the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis, when he made this groundbreaking discovery. He and his team found that THC binds to specific receptors in the brain, which they named cannabinoid receptors.
They also found that the human body produces cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. These endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors and create various effects in the body. For example, they can help regulate mood, pain, appetite, memory, and inflammation.
The Functions of the Endocannabinoid System
The ECS is present in all mammals and plays an essential role in maintaining homeostasis, which is the body’s process of maintaining a stable internal environment. The endocannabinoid system helps to regulate many different bodily functions, including appetite, metabolism, immunity, reproduction, and pain sensation.
The ECS is a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids. This system is found throughout the body but is primarily concentrated in the brain and central nervous system.
What are Cannabinoid Receptors?
There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors: CB₁ and CB₂.
- CB₁ receptors are found mainly in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in mood, memory, appetite, pain sensation, and other functions.
- CB₂ receptors are found primarily in the immune system. They are involved in inflammation and pain perception.
The body produces two main endocannabinoids: anandamide and arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA).
- Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that binds to CB₁ receptors. It is involved in mood, appetite, pain perception, and other functions.
- AEA is an endocannabinoid that binds to both CB₁ and CB₂ receptors. It is involved in inflammation, pain perception, and other functions.
Does CBD Have an Effect on the Endocannabinoid System?
Now that we know what the endocannabinoid system is and how it works, you might wonder if CBD affects this system.
CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system but does not bind to cannabinoid receptors. Instead, it inhibits the enzymes that break down endocannabinoids. This inhibition of enzymes allows endocannabinoids to stay in the body for longer and produce their effects.
CBD has been shown to produce a variety of beneficial effects on the body, including reducing inflammation, pain perception, and anxiety. It can also help to improve sleep quality.
While more research is needed to understand the effects of CBD on the endocannabinoid system, it is clear that this compound has various potential health benefits.
What Other Cannabinoids Exist in CBD Drinks or Infused Oil?
CBN, CBC, and CBG are all cannabinoids that interact with the endocannabinoid system.
- CBN is a cannabinoid that binds to CB₁ receptors. It is known for its sedative effects and is often used to treat pain and anxiety.
- CBC is a cannabinoid that binds to both CB₁ and CB₂ receptors. It is known for its anti-inflammatory effects and is often used to treat acne and other skin conditions.
- CBG is a cannabinoid that binds to CB₂ receptors. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects and is often used to treat pain and other medical conditions.
These three cannabinoids all have different effects on the body, but they share one important trait: they are all non-psychoactive. This means they will not produce the “high” associated with marijuana use.
What is the “Entourage Effect?”
The “entourage effect” is a term used to describe the synergistic properties of cannabinoids. This means cannabinoids can work together to produce more significant effects than they would if they were used alone.
For example, CBD and THC are both known for their anti-inflammatory effects. However, when used together, they are thought to produce greater anti-inflammatory effects than either compound would on its own. The same is true for CBD’s sibling compounds, CBN, CBC, and CBG.
The endocannabinoid system is a vital part of the body that helps regulate various functions. CBD-infused drinks or oil can help provide the body with the cannabinoids needed to maintain a healthy endocannabinoid system. Broad-spectrum products can also offer other cannabinoids, such as CBN, CBC, and CBG, each of which has unique benefits and work together to create the “entourage effect.”