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These connectors spread throughout the body – attached to cellular membranes – and are possibly more numerous than any other connective system. There are several reasons why we can feel the certain effects that a cannabis strain can have and differentiate them! The endocannabinoid system is a biological system that was found almost 40 years ago. There is some research that points out that the ECS might help regulate a variety of functions like sleep, mood, memory, appetite and pain sensation.
Endocannabinoids that aren’t produced in the body and are found outside of the body are called cannabinoids, or phytocannabinoids for those found in plants. These cannabinoids are found in plants, foods, and herbs and can help stimulate the ECS. While THC binds to the CB1 receptor directly to create a high, CBD interacts differently with the ECS. Rather than binding to the cannabinoid receptors, CBD indirectly affects the signaling of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. This prevents other compounds from binding to the receptors, which explains how CBD diminishes the effect of THC, as it inhibits THC from binding to cannabinoid receptors.
Additionally, CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, which allows for a greater prevalence of the endocannabinoid in the body. Cannabinoids can be created by the body, by plants, and synthetically.
Anandamide is also called the “bliss molecule” due to its mood-elevating effect on the brain. Sometimes the body doesn’t naturally produce enough endocannabinoids for the endocannabinoid system to work properly. There are ways the ECS system can be stimulated to improve function and increase endocannabinoid production.
The discovery of cannabinoids led to the discovery of a number of endocannabinoids, or cannabinoids produced inside of the body. Lumir Hanus and William Devane discovered the first one, anandamide, at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1992.
Phytocannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, can also affect the ECS by attaching to either its CB1 or CB2 receptors – sometimes both. Endocannabinoids are one of the two types of cannabinoids that activate the cannabinoid receptors within the endocannabinoid system. But more importantly, they are the cannabinoid molecules that our bodies produce naturally. The cannabinoid receptors comprise the entirety of the endocannabinoid system and allow it to function.
Studies show that the endocannabinoid system may have evolved over 500 million years. In fact, all vertebrates produce endocannabinoids – this means that mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles all produce them. First thought to only be in the brain, endocannabinoid receptors are in fact found throughout the body in skin, glands, organs, and connective tissue. a biological system that is composed of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. The ECS is believed to regulate many different functions in humans such as sleep, appetite, mood, and pain.
CBD and THC are the two main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant that mimic the function of endocannabinoids. In particular, the benefit of CBD has been an interesting area of study as it does not create a high like THC does. The ECS uses its endogenous cannabinoids, anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol, to help regulate the functions of neurons, immune cells, and other tissue and organ systems.