What is an endocannabinoid system?
The endocannabinoid system is the manufacture of components within the human body that play an important role in our internal biological system.
It is responsible for the regulation and balance (homeostasis) of the human body to certain stimuli. It has an impact on appetite, metabolism, immunity changes, communication between cells in the human body and much more.
More importantly, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in the physical and psychological effects of cannabis on the human body.
It is through this system that the active components of cannabis, known as cannabinoids, react with your body’s biological system and through these receptors the beneficial effects of cannabis are passed on.
Therefore, the name is created from the name of the active elements. Endo (meaning inside the body) and cannabinoid (the active ingredient in cannabis that the receptors react with).
The endocannabinoid system has tremendous potential to adapt the way the human body functions, and a healthy endocannabinoid system is essential for the balance of all processes in your body.
This system is the main object of interest for medical research, mainly because of their great therapeutic potential. Although doctors and scientists have discovered the basics of how this amazing system works, we still don’t know much about it and many of its features are yet to be discovered.
Components of the endocannabinoid system.
The endocannabinoid system consists of several components that work together to form a complete and fully functional system, which helps to regulate and control the body’s response associated with the effects of cannabinoids. These elements include:
- Cannabinoid receptors on the surface of the cell wall
What is an endocannabinoid system? Cannabinoid receptors
Cannabinoid receptors located on the surface of cells. Think of these sockets as a keyhole, which will only work when you insert the right key.
There are many types of cannabinoid receptors, but only two of them have been thoroughly studied and researched. They are the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Each receptor responds to different types of cannabinoids, but there are also cannabinoids that do not distinguish between these prescriptions and respond to both.
The expansion of these receptors in the human body explains why cannabinoids have such important effects on us. CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain and spinal cord. They are highly concentrated in those parts of the brain that are associated with behavioral effects. More importantly, they are also found in the hypothalamus and amygdala. They are responsible for regulating appetite, managing stress and anxiety, limiting nausea, and processing memories and emotional responses.
CB1 receptors are also present at nerve endings, where they reduce pain sensitivity (one of the main reasons why cannabis is used for pain relief).
CB2 receptors are usually found in immune cells of the peripheral nervous system. At the time of their activation, they trigger an immune response to inflammation, which has an important role in the treatment of many chronic diseases.
What is an endocannabinoid system? Endogenous cannabinoids
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids which naturally create human body. They are neurotransmitters, created based on the demand of the endocannabinoid system when the body signals that they are needed.
Other endocannabinoids, which are currently being intensively studied, are virodhamine, noladin and N-arachidonyl dopamine (NADA), but their effects have not yet been fully discovered.
Anandamide is the first endocannabinoid to be discovered. In high concentration they occur mainly in the nervous system.
They have only a partial ability to bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors. This means that even when connected to the keyhole (socket), it does not fit perfectly as it should. Therefore, it can only run less effective physiological response.
Unlike 2-AG, which is found in the brain in higher concentrations and can fully rely on both endocannabinoid receptors and thus elicit a physiological response.
Once the body does not need the effect of cannabinoids, it is broken down with the help of the third component of the endocannabinoid system. This brings us to enzymes and their effects on the biology of the body.