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Cannabinoids, receptors and enzymes. Explaining the endocannabinoid system.

March 4, 2018

Cannabidiol is an effective health supplement because as humans we have an endcocannabinoid system (ECS for short) in our body to interact with it. While the endocannabinoid system's not intended to interact directly with cannabis, it interacts with the plant similarly to other naturally created compounds in our bodies.

The relationship between the endocannabinoid system and cannabis is still quite new and has yet to be studied seriously in the medical community. This is mostly due to the fact the plant has been categorized a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA, placing it directly next to heroin and other serious narcotics. As such availability and legality of research has been incredibly limited, a trend that until very recently was commonplace. Before the endocannabinoid system was discovered, humans were able to recognize the influence of cannabis when ingested into our systems but could not explain the scientific/biological processes behind it all.

Our ECS (endocannabinoid system) maintains our well being by keeping in check key biological aspects of our bodies. First and foremost it plays a pivotal role in keeping our body in homeostasis. In humans, this is the maintenance of a constant internal environment. This state is incredibly important to the way we function as humans.

To be at our best, our cells must work in many specific conditions. The ECS plays a key role in adjusting these conditions.

Homeostasis, a balancing act. And we are all tightrope walkers.

To maintain stability the body must constantly adjust and regulate specific factors and conditions as they change around us.

This is where it gets a bit technical....


The ECS is made up of three parts. Endocannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors and metabolic enzymes. These three items are found throughout the body, including the organs, tissue and brain.


The ECS uses endocannabinoids to control processes in the body. Endocannabinoids are specialized compounds created as the body needs them. When outside homeostasis, the body produces endocannabinoids to reclaim balance. Endocannabinoids send info to the cells that give the them a certain direction that will bring back homeostasis.


Excerpted from Made By Hemp


“Cannabinoid receptors observe the conditions outside the cell and send the information inside the cell. If conditions outside the cell change, the cannabinoid receptors notify the cell which prompts a cellular response. When an endocannabinoid binds to the receptor, the receptor relays the message to the cell. Cannabinoid receptors act as a telephone of sorts, sending a message across the cellular membrane.


The two major cannabinoid receptors are labeled CB1 and CB2. Both are found throughout the body; however, CB1 receptors are more prominent in the brain which CB2 receptors are found in abundance outside the nervous system.  As soon as they have performed their task, endocannabinoids are broken down by metabolic enzymes. The two major metabolic enzymes are FAAH and  MAGL . This final process makes sure that endocannabinoids are being used only for as long as they’re needed.”


Cannabinoids can be created by the body or by plants. The two main cannabinoids are THC and CBD which mimic the function of endocannabinoids. Lately, CBD has been of special interest as it does not offer a psycho-active experience like THC.


How does CBD interact with the body? CBD indirectly affects the signaling of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This prevents other compounds from binding with the receptors. CBD also inhibits the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, which allows for a greater prevalence in the endocannabinoid body.


CBD interacts with a number of different receptors and as such has been studied for various therapeutic benefits.


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