The Endocannabinoid System
In this post we will explain the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and how CBD works with the ECS in plain English.
What does the ECS do?
The ECS is responsible for regulating and balancing many processes in the body. These include pain, memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and the reproductive function.
How does it work?
The system is made up of endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids — these are made by the body and include anandamide and 2-AG
Receptors — the two main receptions are the CB1 receptors (found in the central nervous system) and the CB2 receptors (found in your peripheral nervous system particularly in the immune cells)
Enzymes — fatty acids amide hydrolase breaks down the anandamide and monoacylglycerol acid lipase breaks down the 2-AG
The body produces the endocannabinoids which then bind to the receptors. The effect will depend on where the receptor is within the body and which receptor it binds to. The enzymes will then break down the endocannabinoids when they have carried out their function.
There are over 100 known phytocannabinoids found in the cannabis plant including CBD and THC. These bind to the receptors in the same way as the endocannabinoids that the body creates itself which is why there is so much medical research into phytocannabinoids. Research has already discovered that THC binds to our CB1 receptors and CBD binds to our CB2 receptors.
This explains why cannabinoids are purported to be a cure for all. The ECS is responsible for balance across so many process in the body. Sometimes our body does not produce enough endocannabinoids and it is thought that by adding phytocannabinoids we can help to bring balance to our ECS.