What Does Your Endocannabinoid System Do?
You know how your Mom checks in on you, just to make sure you’re ok? Or you check in on your kids, your friends, or even your pets to make sure they have what they need, they are not in any danger, they are well fed, and in a good mood. Well that is what your endocannabinoid system is doing for you all the time!
Thanks to all the recent cannabis research, scientists have discovered the existence of this complex communication system of receptors throughout the body that have the responsibility of maintaining your well being and balance, or homeostasis. The Endocannabinoid system regulates inflammation, stress, metabolism, immunity, mood, pain response and appetite.
The system is comprised of two main types of receptors: CB1 which are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, and CB2 which are found in peripheral organs and key immune cells. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are more numerous than any other system of receptors in the body, which explains why they are helping to regulate so many important functions like metabolism, mood, immunity, and even inflammation which is the root of most major disease.
Your body makes its own endocannabinoids like anandimide which binds to these receptors, however phytocannabinoids like THC also bind to these receptors and produce a much stronger effect. CBD (cannabidiol) another phytocannabinoid found in both hemp and cannabis is often thought to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors as well, but that is not the case. CBD never actually binds to the receptors, instead it helps boost the effectiveness of your endocannabinoids like anandimide, and it helps enhance the effectiveness of other phytocannabinoids like THC which you may have heard referred to as the entourage effect. Much like taking a multivitamin to fortify many biochemical activities in the body, CBD is what helps fortify the endocannabinoid system making all cannabinoids work longer and more effectively.
As research progresses, there is strong medical evidence indicating the endocannabinoid system will be a therapeutic target for many diseases and chronic conditions in the body including cancer, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, arthritis and many others. CBD and THC along with the other cannabinoids found in cannabis provide a direct route to improving and enhancing the functioning of your endocannabinoid system thus improving your overall well being and balance, just like Mom would have wanted!
FEBS J. 2013 May; 280(9): 1918–1943.Published online 2013 Apr 22. doi: 10.1111/febs.12260
Modulating the endocannabinoid system in human health and disease: successes and failures