Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System

Why is it called the Endocannabinoid System?

Endocannabinoid System or ECS – What is it, and why do we call it by this name? 

Endocannabinoid improper noun; – (indo-can-nah-bih-noy-d):
 Endocannabinoids and their receptors can be found throughout the body of any species that has a central nervous system, naturally. CB1 receptors are in the brain, and CB2 receptors are in peripheral organs such as arms, legs, and especially within the gastrointestinal (gas-troh-in-test-in-all) region (stomach). The system that controls the distribution of these is called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).  

It goes without saying that Cannabis and cannabinoids are synonymous. 

The fact is, that the endocannabinoid system was named after the very plant that helped with its discovery within the body:  Cannabis.

Discovering the Endocannabinoid System

Discovered in the 20th century in 1992 by Raphael Mechoulam, our Endocannabinoid or Endogenous Cannabinoid System ( ECS consists of numerous cannabinoid receptors that are naturally occurring in the mammalian brain, and play a pivotal role in physiological processes such as mood, memory, pain, and appetite

The two main ECS receptors CB1 and CB2 can be found within the brain and as you are moving throughout the bodies’ nervous system the receptors appear in the peripheral organs and tissues within the entire body.

Endocannabinoid System Receptors (CB1 & CB2)

The endocannabinoid system regulates the body by taking in the various cannabinoids, including THC and CBN.

The receptors, however, have a profile that needs to fit in order for them to be activated or stimulated. 

In the image above:

You will notice that there are CB1 and CB2 receptors that are lined up with CBN and THC.

CBD does not have a receptor lined up with it in the graphic.

CBD by itself does not directly fit into CB1 or CB2 receptors without extensive saturation (consumption of CBD in larger doses over a longer time) before it will begin to stimulate and interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Ensemble EffectThe ensemble effect (also referred to as the entourage effect) is the reason that full-spectrum hemp extracts are growing in popularity.

The full range of cannabinoids such as CBN, THC, CBG, CBA, THCV, etc. assisting the CBD, where the presence of more cannabinoids both in variety and milligram, will increase the potency and efficiency that much more.

Fastest Way To Get CBD Benefits

When more than 3 cannabinoids are introduced into the system, where CBD and THC are both included, you get the basic openings to the ensemble effect, which allows faster saturation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors and quicker reaction to the CBD.

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Brain and Body

CB1 Receptors

  • Brain / CNS / Spinal Cord
  • Cortigal Regions
  • Cerebelum
  • Brainstem
  • Basal Ganglia
  • Olfactory Bulb
  • Thalamus
  • Hypothalamus
  • Thyroid
  • Upper Airways
  • Liver
  • Adrenals
  • Ovaries
  • Prostate
  • Testes

CB2 Receptors

  • Eye (CB1 & CB2)
  • Stomach
  • Heart (CB1 & CB2)
  • Pancreas (CB1 & CB2)
  • Digestive Tract (CB1 & CB2)
  • Bone (CB1 and CB2)

Non-CB1 and non-CB2 receptors are located in cells of the blood vessels: Epithelial cells of arterial blood vesels (Non-CB1 and non-CB2).

CB2 receptors are located in the cells of the Lymphatic and Immune System: spleen, thymus, tonsils, and blood lymphocytes.

Understanding How The Endocannabinoid System Works

The endogenous cannabinoid system is a major part of the human body’s regulatory systems, for things such as eyesight, digestion, the nervous system, our heart, and so much more. Essentially the EndocannabinoidSystem is existent in the body in most if not all vertebrates.

Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond. Here’s one example: autophagy, a process in which a cell sequesters part of its contents to be self-digested and recycled, is mediated by the cannabinoid system. While this process keeps normal cells alive, allowing them to maintain a balance between the synthesis, degradation, and subsequent recycling of cellular products, it has a deadly effect on malignant tumor cells, causing them to consume themselves in a programmed cellular suicide. The death of cancer cells, of course, promotes homeostasis and survival at the level of the entire organism.

Dustin Sulak, DO

In short, the above is saying that the Endocannabinoid system is responsible for the preservation, elongation, and improvement of the human body and promote quality of life, even for those who at one point believed that they would surely die from their terminal disease.

Let’s look at how this all comes together.

 What’s the purpose?

As it turns out, medical studies being published regularly in regards to the endocannabinoid system are all involved with stimulating it and using it to treat certain human ailments. 

Here is an example using peppers and the capsaicin oils derived from them.

When stimulating our various CB1 and CB2 receptors, as well as TRPV1 and TRPV2 receptors, with cannabinoids, we experience various side effects based on the cannabinoids and terpenes consumed, and the experience will vary or even differ greatly, based on what is called the method of delivery.

The method of delivery entails the way in which one consumes cannabinoids and terpenes, which may include:

  • Oral (Eating / Drinking)
  • Topical Application (Skin cream, lotions, etc.)
  • Vaporizing (Extracts, eLiquids, vape pens, etc.)
  • Smoking 

Stimulation of the various receptors is most effectively possible through digesting certain foods and oils that contain known stimulants. 

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