It has been discovered that Cannabinoids and The Endocannabinoid System are important in maintaining health and balance in our bodies.
The Endocannabinoid System was discovered in the 1990’s by researchers who where studying the effects of cannabis. What they discovered was a vast network of receptors throughout the human body. Surprisingly found not just in mammals, this network was found in many thousands of different species.
Why Endocannabinoid System?
Endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors form the endocannabinoid system. The discovery of this signaling system between the cannabinoid receptors in the human body with the cannabinoid receptors found in cannabis was named The Endocannabinoid System after the plant that lead to the discovery.
Endocannabinoids are natural cannabinoids made by the body and have been found in most of our important organs. Our bodies have cannabinoid receptors which are located on the outside of cells. Together they allow communication and coordination between cells.
It has been discovered that these cannabinoid receptors turned out to be the most abundant type of neurotransmitter receptor in the body. These discoveries have lead to further research in treating illness and disease with cannabis knowing the endocannabinoid system interacts with so many vital parts of our body.
What are Cannabinoids?
- endocannabinoids – produced by the body
- phytocannabinoids – produced in cannabis plants
Phytocannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in cannabis plants. There are over 100 cannabinoids in cannabis, many are being studied for their therapeutic properties. The two most well know cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
THC short for Tetrahydrocannabinol, it is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that make the consumer feel high. CBD short for Cannabidiol, it is the non psychoactive compound in cannabis which is being recognized as being an anti-inflammatory as well as having a multitude of health benefits.
What Does The Endocannabinoid System Do?
Regarded as one of the most important systems in the body, The Endocannabinoid Systems main goal is to maintain homeostasis. (the ability to maintain a constant and balanced internal environment) It is involved in establishing, maintaining and promoting human health.
Cannabinoids receptors within the endocannabinoid system can only be triggered by 2 things.
- The natural endocannabinoids that are produced by our own bodies.
- The external cannabinoids found in cannabis, THC and CBD.
Studies have found that by introducing external cannabinoids such as THC and CBD to the body helps reduce many symptoms in many health conditions.
How Does it All Work?
We have talked about endocannabinoids and how they are produced by the body. To date researchers have found 2 main types of endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoyl glycerol (2-AG). What they have found is these endocannabinoids are produced on demand, only when they are needed..
Because the Endocannabinoid System helps maintain balance in our bodies medical professionals believe that illness arise when our bodies fail to produce enough cannabinoids. Where the receptors are located throughout the body, shows how important endocannabinoids are for day-to-day bodily function. When the Endocannabinoid System is disrupted functions in the body can fall out of balance and illness can occur.
Research into cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is going to make some incredible discoveries in the years to come in regards to their role in health and fighting illness.
To read more about THC & CBD and how it all works check out this article where we look at the science behind the cannabinoids. THC, CBD and The Entourage Effect.