THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
HOE DOES IT WORK?
The ECS consists of three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes. Endocannabinoids, also known as endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules produced by your body. They are similar to cannabinoids, but they are produced by your own body.
So far, experts have identified two key endocannabinoids: anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Both help internal functions to run smoothly. Your body produces them as needed, making it difficult to know what the typical levels are for each. Endocannabinoid receptors are found all over your body. Endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to signal the ECS to take action.
The endocannabinoid system helps the body to stay in balance by regulating homeostasis (physiologically balance
balance). The system consists of two receptors, CB1 and CB2
CB1 receptors are mainly located in the brain, liver and lungs. They have a positive influence on the feeling of stress and anxiety, nausea, appetite and the immune system.
CB2 receptors are found throughout the body and are active in fighting tissue damage and inflammation.
Endocannabinoids can bind to both receptors. The resulting effects depend on where the receptor is located and to which endocannabinoid it binds to.
Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they have fulfilled their function. There are two main enzymes responsible for this: fatty acid amide hydrolase, which degrades AEA, and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which typically degrades 2-AG. The ECS is complicated, and experts have not yet determined exactly how it works or what functions it all has.
Research has associated the ECS with the following processes:
- Appetite and digestion
- Chronic pain
- Learning and memory
- Motor control
- Function of the cardiovascular system
- Muscle building
- Bone building and bone growth
- Liver function
- Reproductive System Function
- Skin and nerve function
- Inflammation and other
immune system responses
HOW DOES CBD INTERACT WITH THE ECS
Experts aren’t exactly sure how CBD responds to the ECS. But they do know that it doesn’t bind to CB1 or CB2 receptors like THC.
Instead, many believe it works by preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids. This allows them to have a greater effect on your body. Others believe that CBD binds to a receptor that has not yet been discovered.
While the details of how it works are still up for debate, research suggests that CBD may help with pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with multiple conditions.
HOW DOES THC INTERACT WITH THE ECS
Because of this, it can have a range of effects on your body and mind, some more desirable than others. For example, THC can help reduce pain and stimulate appetite. But it can also cause paranoia and anxiety in some cases.
By law, a maximum of 0.05% THC may be present in a food supplement.
The ECS plays a major role in keeping your internal processes stable. But there’s still a lot we don’t know. As experts gain more insight into the ECS, it could eventually hold the key to treating a variety of conditions.