Neuroreceptor diagram

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

When considering what types of circuits make up the human body, things like the circulatory system or digestive system might come to mind. Well, one arrangement that your teachers probably missed teaching in class was that of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) – found in any animal with a backbone and regarded by many in the medical cannabis field as the cornerstone for maintaining our body’s homeostasis.

As hemp continues to make a name for itself in households across the country, more conversations about our body’s ECS are sure to follow. So, why isn’t the endocannabinoid system more well-known?

The History of the Endocannabinoid System

Having only been on the radar of the scientific community since the 1990’s, there is still much to be learned about the remarkable role our endocannabinoid system plays in assisting our body’s most vital physiological processes. Much of what we know now about the ECS was discovered indirectly through biomedical research efforts into the intoxicating effects of marijuana. By uncovering the diverse network of CBD receptors behind the hallmark traits of THC, these same receptors were then traced to both the central and peripheral nervous system found in humans. Dr. L.A. Matsuda of the National Institutes of Mental Health’s Laboratory of Cell Biology is credited with being the first to discover both the structure and functional expression of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor – one of the two major CBD receptors known to exist.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors act like the eyes and ears of the cell, transmitting information about the dynamic conditions happening on the surface to the inner workings of the cell. This communication then helps determine the body’s appropriate physiological response. Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) are scattered throughout the body’s central nervous system and due to its molecular structure has been linked to providing relief to pain, nausea and other ailments. On the other hand, Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2) are more widespread in our immune system and help regulate digestion, inflammatory response, and our response to pain.

Neuroreceptor diagram

Okay, so what activates these cannabinoid receptors? That’s where endocannabinoids come in!

How Endocannabinoids Work

Composed of small molecules found within the cell’s membranes, endocannabinoids like 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide are produced on demand. By activating the different CBD receptors, these molecules help unlock the entire endocannabinoid system and play a vital role in maintaining your body’s homeostasis.

In addition to providing a slew of therapeutic benefits by acting on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, when bound to other receptors in the body, endocannabinoids have also been linked to promoting healthy blood pressure, help inhibit cancerous cell growth, and aid in pain relief. After the body utilizes the necessary endocannabinoid, the metabolic enzymes – FAAH and MAGL – come in to destroy any remaining molecules.

Long story short, our endocannabinoid system is a complex signaling network that helps ensure all of the systems in our body are working in tandem with one another. Through the activation of different receptors on the cells of our central, peripheral, and immune systems – different cannabinoids are stimulated to help bring our body to optimal homeostasis.

So, whether you are looking for supplements to aid in sleep or mood, Focus Hemp Co. specializes in delivering CBD products that help you feel balanced from the inside out.