Do you have even the slightest clue what an endocannabinoid system is? Would you be surprised to hear that you have one?
Most people are only familiar with the 11 major organ systems that make up our body – these being the circulatory, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, integumentary, skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, lymphatic, and digestive systems. However, it turns out that our body actually has a 12th system, the endocannabinoid system.
We know you must have plenty of questions, so in this post, we are going to answer them! We will dive into scientist’s discovery of this mysterious system and learn about what has been studied (and what has not). We hope that you will understand the body and the way that it functions on a whole new level, as well as understanding how the body responds to cannabis.
- What is A Cannabinoid?
- What is The Endocannabinoid System?
- Why is The Endocannabinoid System Important?
- What Are The Functions of The Endocannabinoid System?
- How Does CBD Affect The Endocannabinoid System?
- How Does THC Affect The Endocannabinoid System?
- Interesting Facts About The Endocannabinoid System
- Final Thoughts
What is A Cannabinoid?
Before we move onto the endocannabinoid system and the what cannabinoid receptors are made of, let’s get our footing by first understanding what precisely a cannabinoid is.
The mostly-loved marijuana plant is made up of many different chemical compounds, and each of these are responsible for creating different characteristics and functions of the plant. These are what gives cannabis both recreational and medicinal substance and are known as cannabinoids.
The two most famous cannabinoids are THC and CBD. These substances interact with the body through the Endocannabinoid system. We will touch on that later on in our post.
What is The Endocannabinoid System?
The ECS was first discovered, by an L.A doctor by the name of Dr. Matsuda, 25 years ago. At the time, scientists were trying to gain insight into the way that THC affects the body. What was uncovered was that the human body has a complex network made up of cannabinoid receptors in both its central (the body) and peripheral (the brain) nervous systems – this system was thus dubbed the Endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ‘endo’ part of this name is from the word ‘endogenous’, meaning internal or self-created. As for the ‘cannabinoid’, that part explains itself.
This complex network was just the beginning in understanding how our body responds to and makes use of cannabinoids. The question was then raised, why on earth does the human body have cannabinoid receptors if there are no naturally occurring cannabinoids in the body that would bind them?
Turns out, smoking or consuming marijuana is not the only way that our body receives cannabinoids, which makes for a rather groundbreaking discovery. The first cannabinoid-like compound found to be naturally produced by the body was Anandamide, which respectively modulates both the central and peripheral nervous system. This means that the ECS plays a role in maintaining our immune system as well.
Why is The Endocannabinoid System Important?
Our Endocannabinoid system may, in fact, be responsible for our health and balance, helping us heal from diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and neurodegenerative disorders. When our bodies are in a state of chemical equilibrium, this is known as homeostasis – and when it is not, that is when we can develop illnesses and diseases.
If our Endocannabinoid system is in a state of imbalance, we will be in a state of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency. The hypothesis is that this makes you hypersensitive to pain and can lead to migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS. Therefore, when we maintain our body’s natural balance by treating ourselves with organic cannabinoids from plants, we can correct and heal these symptoms and maintain our health.
Although this is still a theory, it is necessary to understand that cannabinoids may play a very real responsibility in balancing our bodies and keeping us healthy. For this reason, it has been said to be the ‘most important physiological system’ involved in establishing and preserving the health of the human body.
What Are The Functions of The Endocannabinoid System?
The full functions of the Endocannabinoid system have not yet fully been captured, so we are not sure about the complete picture just yet.
However, we do know that the ECS assists in fine-tuning the majority of our vital physiological functions and promotes homeostasis (a chemically balance in our body). This means it can affect our body’s function, from sleep, appetite, pain, inflammation, memory, mood, all the way to reproduction.
So, in layman’s terms, the Endocannabinoid system is responsible for aid to preserve the regulation of balancing our body’s chemicals. Therefore, ensuring that all of our bodily systems are working in harmony.
How Does CBD Affect The Endocannabinoid System?
CBD, when consumed as an oil or otherwise, and experienced through the body’s ECS, has the ability to help reduce pain and plenty of other symptoms, as well as produce a feeling of calm. CBD acts on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and although CBD may not actually bind with these receptors, it does affect them indirectly. CBD stimulates the endocannabinoid system, to assist it in providing homeostasis. This also means that CBD, by stimulating the ECS, can relieve and target many ailments and provide relief and healing to the body.
CBD, or cannabinoid, is a chemical compound found within the marijuana plant. CBD is not responsible for the euphoria experienced from consuming marijuana, but rather for pain relief and drowsiness. We answer this question more in depth as we discuss the use of dagga oil for cancer.
How Does THC Affect The Endocannabinoid System?
THC affects the ECS by effectively binding to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors. In this way, THC provides a high to the brain. Whilst THC is where all the fun is at when considering the cannabis plant recreationally, it is also the main compound known to fight cancerous tumors and other diseases of the body. THC helps the EDC to maintain the of the body, thus assisting the immune system in healing and removing illness.
What Is THC?
THC is the psychoactive chemical component to the marijuana high and is responsible for the euphoria experienced from consuming the plant, either via the oil or via the smoke. And yes, you can find cannabis oil in South Africa.
Interesting Facts About The Endocannabinoid System
The knowledge of ECS is growing more and more, as scientists dive deeper into it. There seem to be an unending amount of mind-blowing cannabis related facts being uncovered. Although we have touched on all the important facts above, here are just a few other fun ones to enjoy about the Endocannabinoid system :
- All mammals and non-mammals alike have an endocannabinoid system, which is why CBD Oil can even be used to treat your furry companions.
- Our body has more Endocannabinoid receptors than any other kind in our brain!
- The Endocannabinoid system explains how plant-based substances have such a therapeutic and healing effect.
- Exercise and diet can also boost the Endocannabinoid system.
With all the hype surrounding marijuana, its healing benefits, its economic benefits and its overall use to humanity, there are plenty of fascinating discoveries being made! Cannabis has recently been put in the spotlight, so this knowledge is not so underground anymore, and this gives us all a chance to gain knowledge and shed light on what the cannabis plant can really provide.
Marijuana has always enchanted those who use it recreationally, but even scientists have been fascinated by the plant for years! Understanding the Endocannabinoid system may spark intrigue in all of us, and makes us continue to push forward to comprehend how cannabinoids can serve us all going forward.
Now that you have had the Endocannabinoid system explained, we know that you will have a new appreciation for just how much magic nature is offering to us with her marijuana buds!