What is the Endocannabinoid System

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What is the Endocannabinoid System

Within the body of most mammals, including humans, there is a network of neurological receptors that can interact exclusively with cannabinoids like CBD. It’s called the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS for short and it is one of the most powerful systems in the human body.

If you’re new to CBD, you’re definitely going to want to keep reading. In this article we will discuss what the endocannabinoid system is, how it works, and how it came to be.

Let’s dive in.

History of the Endocannabinoid System

In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was identified in the brain of a rat.

Researchers discovered that these receptors interacted exclusively with receptors found in the cannabis compound, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

What was even more surprising is that these receptors were found concentrated in parts of the brain responsible for mental and physiological processes (ie. memory, high cognition, emotion, and motor coordination).

Five years later, in 1993, a second cannabinoid receptor was identified. This receptor was distributed throughout the immune system and peripheral tissues of the body and exhibited the same reaction reaction to THC as the first receptor.

By 1995, researchers discovered that the two receptors were found not only in rats, but within thousands of other mammals―including humans.

As researchers progressed, they soon discovered that endocannabinoids in the body can interact exclusively with cannabinoids produced in plants (phytocannabinoids).

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is composed of three primary components: cannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.

By interacting with different functions of the human body, researchers believe the purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to maintain homeostasis, or overall balance, of the body.

While scientists still do not fully understand this complex system, research has indicated its involvement in various functions including:

ResearchTrusted Source has linked the ECS to the following processes:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Pain Management and Perception
  • Inflammatory and Immune Response
  • Stress Response and Management
  • motor control
  • Sleep
  • cardiovascular system function
  • skin and nerve function

How CBD Relates to the ECS

When researching CBD, it’s hard not to come across the Endocannabinoid System, and naturally, most beginner’s wonder what the correlation between the two is.

While the Endocannabinoid System, as described in this article, is a network of receptors, enzymes, and cannabinoids found within the body of most mammals, CBD or cannabidiol is a cannabinoid that is produced in cannabis.

When introduced into the body, studies have found that CBD can interact with the various components of the Endocannabinoid System to help maintain and moderate its function.


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