The Endocannabinoid System explained

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) was first discovered in the 1990s by researchers investigating the effects of cannabinoids, the active compounds in cannabis. They noted that cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), interact in a specific way with the human body, leading to various biological effects.

Further research revealed that the human body also produces cannabinoid-like substances called endocannabinoids. These substances are responsible for regulating various processes in the body, such as the immune system, pain response and mood. It was also discovered that the body has receptors that specifically target endocannabinoids and that these receptors are distributed throughout the body.

The Endocannabinoid System is a complex network of molecules, cells and receptors involved in a large number of physiological processes in the human body. The ECS plays an important role in regulating the immune system, pain perception, sleep, mood and cognitive functions.

The ECS consists of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous (internally produced) cannabinoids, and receptors specific to cannabinoids. The main endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The main receptors for endocannabinoids are the cannabinoid receptors type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2).

CB1 receptors are mainly present in the central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mainly located in the immune system. Endocannabinoids bind to and activate these receptors, leading to a change in the activity of the cell on which the receptor is located. This can lead to a change in hormones, neurotransmitters and other substances involved in physiological processes.

Endocannabinoid System

The ECS can also be affected by exogenous (external) cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, found in marijuana. THC binds to CB1 receptors and can produce psychoactive effects, while CBD does not bind to these receptors but may have other effects such as pain reduction and anti-inflammatory.

Today, the ECS is seen as an important part of the human body and is being researched for its possible applications in the medical field, such as treating pain, stress, anxiety and even certain diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis.

You can read more about the Endocannabinoid System here.