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FAQ - The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The Endocannabinoid system (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 (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system.

How does the Endocannabinoid System work?

The ECS itself is made up of three parts:

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors in the nervous system and around your body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with
  • Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids

Through those receptors interacting with the endocannabinoids, the ECS helps regulate a lot of important functions, such as:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function
  • Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Reproduction/fertility
  • Motor control
  • Temperature regulation
  • Memory
  • Pain

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. The most popular among these compounds are the (Δ9-THC), but Cannabidiol (CBD) is another vital component, which makes up about 40% of the plant resin extract.

How many different cannabinoids are there?

Of the 480+ various compounds present in the plant, 60-80 are termed cannabinoids.

What is homeostasis?

Homeostasis is any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival.

  • Homeostasis is a state of biological balance within the body.

What are the different cannabinoid receptors?

Cannabinoid receptors, part of the endocannabinoid system, are involved in the process of a variety of physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory

  • CB1 receptors are located in the brain and throughout the body, while CB2 receptors are found mostly in the immune and gastrointestinal system; although CB2 receptors are also found in the brain, they are not expressed quite as densely as CB1 receptors. In addition, THC (the psychoactive component of cannabis) binds more closely to the CB1 receptor than the CB2 receptor.
  • CB1: In the Brain
  • CB2: In the Gut
  • CB3?: Many scientists argue that we have not found all of the cannabinoid receptors that exist within the body and the existence of additional cannabinoid receptors has long been suspected, due to the actions of compounds such as abnormal cannabidiol that produce cannabinoid-like effects on blood pressure and inflammation, yet do not activate either CB1 or CB2

There are many peer-reviewed papers on Cannabinoid Receptors that can be found on Google Scholar

View our other sources and references.