The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a network of cannabinoid neurotransmitters (endocannabinoids), enzymes, and receptors in the body that function to maintain homeostasis. Various receptors are targeted through a negative feedback loop resulting in the synthesis and release of endocannabinoids. The ECS is currently regarded by researchers as a vital regulator of numerous behavior processes including pain, mood, addiction, learning, memory, and appetite.
There are two well-known endocannabinoids produced by the body: 2- Arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-AG) and Arachidonoyl-ethanolamine (Anandamide). They act as endogenous ligands, or proteins that pair with receptors. 2-AG is a full agonist of CB1 and CB2 receptors, and is the most prevalent endocannabinoid in the human body. Based on its high expression in peripheral immune cells, 2-AG is known to support anti-inflammation through immune suppression. The partial agonist of CB1 and CB2, Anandamide, has been found to play a significant role in pain management and emotional balance. Using these two endocannabinoids, the body regulates some of its most crucial behaviors.
CB1 and CB2 are cannabinoid receptors in the body that are targeted by Anandamide and 2-AG. CB receptors are G-protein-coupled, meaning they have a direct impact on some of the body’s automatic responses to stimuli. In the case of a finger injury, for example, the lymphatic system may produce an inflammatory response. However, the ECS could evaluate this behavior as unnecessary and initiate the coupling of endocannabinoids with CB1 and CB2 receptors to override the unnecessary reaction. These unique receptors are found in numerous places in the body. CB1 is primarily found in brain cells; CB2 is mainly present in the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the immune system, and white blood cells.
THE ECS AND CANNABINOIDS
Since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, researchers have come to more solidified conclusions concerning the positive physiological and psychological reactions the body has to Cannabis-derived stimuli. Personal experiences and research have revealed that using Cannabis-derived supplements could ease pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, spasms, and more. One understanding is that cannabinoids like CBD naturally interact with cannabinoid receptors throughout the ECS to promote balance and wellbeing throughout almost all areas of the body, similar to the already present endocannabinoids. Evidence also suggests that CBD and other cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG can enhance the function of the endocannabinoids already present in the body.