The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. ECS plays a role in regulating a range of functions including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, reproduction, and fertility. Most people don’t know ECS exists and is active even if you don’t use cannabis.
How it works:
There are endogenous cannabinoids (Endocannabinoids) produced by your body. The two main endocannabinoids that have been identified are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). They help to keep internal functions running and your body produces them as needed.
There are receptors all through your body that the endocannabinoids bind to so that it can send a signal to your ECS (Endocannabinoids) so it can take action. Along with the two main endocannabinoids there are also two main receptors. CB1 receptors which are found in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors which are found in the peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells. These endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effect changes depending on what endocannabinoid binds to what receptor.
There are enzymes that are responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids once they have completed what they were signaled for. There are also two main enzymes. That being the fatty acid hydrolase (breaks down AEA) and monoacylglycerol lipase (mainly breaks down 2-AG).
In conclusion there are many functions and the ECS is complicated and hasn’t been completely figured out yet. However, there is research that shows the ECS to help with the following processes.
appetite and digestion
inflammation and other immune system responses
learning and memory
cardiovascular system function
bone remodeling and growth
reproductive system function
skin and nerve function
These functions contribute to homeostasis which is the stability of your internal environment. Experts believe that maintaining homeostasis is the primary role of the ECS.
Written By: Madison Brown