The Endocannabinoid System
Cannabis and the naturally occuring chemicals it produces have an effect on the human body because they interact with the Endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a human biological system, comprised of endogenous (produced by the human body) cannabinoid like compounds like Anandamide and 2-AG, the enzymes that synthesize and degrade the endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.
What does it do?
ECS is crucial for bioregulation as it plays a fundamental role in the human body’s ability to maintain homeostasis. A person is in a normal, healthy state of being when their body is in homeostasis. The ECS is an intricate part of the body’s chemical communication system that makes homeostasis possible.
The ECS is involved in regulating a variety of physiological and cognitive processes including, but not limited to appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.
Currently there are two primary types of endocannabinoid receptors scientists are focusing on: CB1 and CB2. They are from a very common class of cell membrane receptors called “G-protein-coupled receptor superfamily”. When activated, they modulate information transmission between cells.
Cannabinoid receptors exist throughout the human body including the central and peripheral nervous systems. CB1 receptors are predominantly expressed in the brain and mainly interact with THC, whereas CB2 receptors are mainly found on the immune system and mainly interact with CBD.