Your Endocannabinoid System is a very important part of your body. Learn how THC and CBD effect your body and the role your endocannabinoid system plays in your overall health.
Check out Leafly's video on the endocanabinoid system!
The Endocannabinoid System
Your body is made up of many complex systems that help you fuction every day. Once of those systems is called the endocannabinoid system. This system is made of 3 main components. They are Cannabinoid Receptors, Endocannabinoids and Metabolic Enzymes. These 3 key components play a crucial role in keeping our bodies in Homeostasis.
What is Homeostasis? Homeostasis is the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.
Thats the Dictionaries explanation! Lets put this in a way we can understand it. Basically Homeostasis keeps your you balanced. It makes sure your temperatures dont get to hot or to cold. It keeps your body right in the middle. This doesn't just have to do with your body temp. It plays a role in so many of your daily activities. Whats interesting is how your endocannabinoid system helps to maintain the homeostasis state.
Below are 3 key components that make up your endocannabinoid system:
Cannabinoid Receptors - located throughout the body, are part of the endocannabinoid system, which is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
Endocannabinoids - (ECS) is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system and the brain.
Metabolic Enzymes - They are a loosely defined class of enzymes that regulate metabolic pathways in energy homeostasis, including glucose, lipid and amino acid metabolisms.
The 2 main Cannabinoid Receptors
These are not the only ones but they are the most studied.
CB1 - The CB1 receptors are primarily located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, but they are also found in some peripheral organs and tissues such as the spleen, white blood cells, endocrine gland and parts of the reproductive, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.
CB2 - The CB2 receptors are mainly found on white blood cells, in the tonsils and in the spleen. The immune cells also express CB1, although there are fewer of them than CB2. In the immune system, one important function of the cannabinoid receptors is the regulation of cytokine release.
How does your Endocannabinoid System react to THC and CBD?
THC can bind directly to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. That means THC communicates the things it needs you to do (get sleepy, get hungry, feel less pain) directly to our endocannabinoid system.
CBD is more of an "influencer". It cannot bind directly to our CB1 and CB2 receptors, but it can (and does) change our body's ability to bind to cannabinoids. In doing so, it acts as a catalyst to modify how other cannabinoids affect us, and boosts our own natural levels of endocannabinoids.
This is one of the reasons we see many products today that have a blend of BOTH CBD and THC: simply put, adding a small amount of THC to CBD, or vice-versa, allows each to do a better job.
The research and evolution of knowledge of what our Endocannabinoid System does, and how THC/CBD and other cannabinoids each play a role in it, is ongoing. Check back soon for more information!