What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid System and CBD

You probably didn’t learn about this system in high school biology, but you couldn’t live without it – the Endocannabinoid System, or ECS. Although recently discovered, researchers are finding that this system plays a vital role in keeping you comfortable and your body properly functioning. Thanks to the ECS, you are not only able to feel the many properties of CBD, but you can also experience relief and relaxation without these natural products. We’re sharing the basics of the Endocannabinoid System and its components.

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

The ECS is a network of receptors, endocannabinoids (chemical compounds made within the body) and enzymes that break down endocannabinoids. By working together, these components help keep your body working the way it should in regard to:

  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Reproduction (fertility, pregnancy, etc.)
  • Pain sensation
  • Immune Response
  • Cell Life Cycle

Since the ECS is still being studied, it is possible that the system may have an impact on even more functions.

Let’s take a look at the components that give the ECS its abilities

Endocannabinoid System Receptors

Elements of the ECS

Cannabinoid Receptors

ECS receptors are located on the outside of cells, and endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) bond with them. The most abundant ECS receptor is the CB1, found primarily in the brain and central nervous system. The other receptors, CB2s, also exist in the brain but are mainly located in the peripheral nervous system and on immune cells.

Endocannabinoids

These cannabinoids (chemical compounds) are made within the body as they are needed. The two most common are 2-AG and anandamide, but as research continues, more may be discovered.

Metabolic Enzymes

These proteins break down endocannabinoids once the body is done using them. Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase (FAAH) breaks down anandamide while MGL breaks down 2-AG.

Do You Need The ECS?

Just because we’ve only recently uncovered the role of the Endocannabinoid System in the body doesn’t make it less valuable. In short, yes, you need your endocannabinoid system to live a comfortable life. If your Endocannabinoid System is not working correctly, you may experience discomfort or illness primarily related to your immune system or inflammation. This clinical endocannabinoid deficiency could result from your body’s lack of endocannabinoids or receptors, which would lead to an imbalance or prolonged pain, stress and poor sleep.

We gave you a brief look into the system responsible for CBD’s healing properties. Without the ECS, CBD probably would not have a significant effect within the body. Read our full article on the ECS for a more detailed look at this amazing system and how it interacts with the plant-based cannabinoids, THC and CBD.

 

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Sources

Leafly – What is the Endocannabinoid System and What is Its Role?
EchoConnection – What is Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency?