What is the Endocannabinoid System?
What is the endocannabinoid system? You ask, well the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the master regulatory system found in all of the vertebrates. It consists of cannabinoids also known as endogenous (Internal) cannabinoids (lipid molecules), and their receptors known as cannabinoid receptors (CBs), and other receptor targets of lipid molecules. These cannabinoid receptors engage the endogenous compounds known as endocannabinoids (Anandamide, 2-AG, etc.), and the plant based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids), such as cannabis (Hemp) derived CBD and THC, also the synthetically sourced cannabinoids. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) encloses the biosynthetic and metabolic enzymes that create and break down these cannabinoids.
These ECS receptors are manifested throughout the body. Therefore, it is not incorrect to say that it has widespread physiological roles, including but not limited to mediating the pain, appetite, stress response, spinal cord, antiproliferative effects, anti inflammatory, weight control, blood pressure, regulation, lipogenesis, etc.
Our brain naturally produces these cannabinoids, on demand to maintain the physiological functions in homeostasis. Homeostasis means keeping things in a balance. Basically it is a molecular system managed by our brain to help maintain the bodily functions in balance. Scientists and researchers know very little about the complexity of ECS in its entirety. Since it was only discovered roughly 40+ years ago.
The two endocannabinoids discovered initially are Anandamide and 2-AG. These cannabinoids naturally produced by ECS are extremely similar to the phytocannabinoids naturally found in the cannabis plant both Hemp and Marijuana. We will only focus on the phytocannabinoids found in the hemp plant, one of the species of the cannabis sativa plant. There are estimated 540+ known compounds found in the cannabis plants, including cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenoids (terpenes).
The major difference between Industrial Hemp and Marijuana (both belonging to the Cannabis Sativa) is the Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) a psychoactive compound that gets the high effects or sensation is only found in high traces in marijuana. Cannabidiol (CBD) one of the 130+ cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant (Industrial Hemp) has low traces of THC compared to its cousin Marijuana.
Since CBD is very similar to the cannabinoids produced by our brain, it supplements the deficiency of our naturally produced cannabinoids to keep our ECS in balance by targeting the nerve ending receptors associated with our ECS.
ECS plays a significant role in regulating variety of processes and functions, including but not limited to: Pain, Mood, Sleep, Appetite, Inflammation, fertility etc.
Good explanation. Thanks. 👍😊