What is the endocannabinoid system? What is the role of the endocannabinoid system? What is the relationship between CBD and the endocannabinoid system? How does the endocannabinoid system work?
In this blog, we answer all these questions and more, providing more than a simple introduction to the endocannabinoid system so that the cannabis consumer has the information necessary to get the most out of all types of cannabis consumption.
Endocannabinoid System 101
In an attempt to organize the plethora of information available and synthesize as best as possible, there are three things that everyone should know about the endocannabinoid system; a kind of endocannabinoid system for dummies, if you will.
The first is that every human being on the planet has an inbuilt endocannabinoid system. The second is that our endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors. The third is that the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant interact in different ways with the receptors in our endocannabinoid system and it’s in this way that the cannabis plant is able to cause different effects on the human body.
When was the endocannabinoid system discovered?
A group of researchers in Israel were the first to discover cannabinoids in 1964, identifying in particular the psychoactive cannabinoid called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), but it wasn’t until 1988 that the endocannabinoid system was first identified and that endocannabinoid system research first began.
What researchers began to realize was that endocannabinoids, the set of highly particular molecules naturally produced in the human body, help to mantain a well functioning immune system and a well functioning nervous system, both of which are essential to health and wellbeing.
Endocannabinoid system discovery also began to reveal that the cannabinoids found in cannabis could have positive effects on human health by binding or interacting with the endocannabinoid receptors. Our endocannabinoid system enhances the body’s own ability to maintain homeostasis (balance) and health. When we suffer from endocannabinoid system deficiency, so does our health.
What do we know about Endocannabinoid System Receptors?
In this endocannabinoid system overview, we’d like to highlight the two types of endocannbinoid receptors in the human body: namely CB1 and CB2. Each receptor type interacts with cannabinoids in a different way and triggers different effects within the human body as a result.
CB1 receptors can be found throughout the brain and central nervous system. Research shows they are also present in the kidneys, liver, lungs, digestive tract and eyes. CB2 receptors are generally located in the peripheral organs, including the tissues of the immune system, the tonsils, thymus, spleen and bone marrow.
What’s most interesting, is that it’s the placement of CB1 receptors that makes it impossible to overdose on cannabis. CB1 receptors aren’t located in the basal regions of the brain, which are the regions of the brain that are responsible for vital human body function, which is why cannabis overdoses simply don’t occur. Indeed, the endocannabinoid system and the brain is a topic for detailed analysis and further discussion at a later date.
The Endocannabinoid System and CBD
One final area worthy of analysis and exploration is the endocannabinoid system and CBD oil. The most interesting thing to note about CBD is that it has a rather low affinity for endocannabinoid receptors. This means that, by choice, our endocannabinoid receptors seem to prefer to interact with other cannabinoids, like THC.
We also know that CBD is both a weak antagonist and an interesting binder for the CB1 receptor. In particular, endocannabinoid system research shows us that CBD significantly reduces the psychotic potential of THC and that it does so by modifying the way in which THC affects the CB1 receptor.
When it comes to CB2 receptors, we know that they are responsible for the emergence of inflammation. CBD is an inverse agonist of the CB2 receptor, weakening its efficiency and helping to reduce inflammation.
If you’d like more information on the endocannabinoid system, or if you’d like us to clarify anything else we’ve mentioned here in this blog, feel free to contact us directly via the form on our contact page. We’re here to help.