Endocannabinoid system Diagram. What is the endocannabinoid system

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

Every time we talk about CBD and other cannabinoids, we mention how they may impact the endocannabinoid system, but what exactly is the endocannabinoid system?

Did you know that all mammals, including humans, have a whole system named after the cannabis plant?

In this article, we will let you know all about the endocannabinoid system; how and when it was discovered; as well as its role.

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The Endocannabinoid System Diagram

The Endocannabinoid system, popularly known as the ECS, is a complex cell-signaling system discovered between the late 1980s and early 1990s by scientists exploring tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a well-understood and known cannabinoid.

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are more than 100 known cannabinoids, including THC and cannabidiol (CBD).

Let’s examine the word ‘endocannabinoid.’ As explained, ‘Çannabinoid’ comes from the cannabis plant

Endo is a short form for ‘endogenous’ which is translated to mean that it’s produced naturally in your body. 

So, in other words, endocannabinoid refers to cannabis-like substances or compounds that are produced naturally inside your body.

This means that although often associated with cannabis, the endocannabinoid system is available in your system even if you don’t consume cannabis.

We are still very far from fully understanding the endocannabinoid system, but scientists suggest it might play a role in regulating vital body processes, including:

  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Immune System Response
  • Reproduction and Fertility, etc.

All these functions are linked to homeostasis, which will be our next topic of discussion.

How does the endocannabinoid system work?

The Endocannabinoid System; Its Role in Homeostasis

To understand how the ECS works, we need to understand homeostasis.

In simple terms, homeostasis refers to the body’s effort to keep your internal environment in a balanced or stable state. 

For instance, if an external factor, e.g. fever or pain, interferes with your internal environment, the endocannabinoid system kicks in to keep everything in order. 

The ECS tries to maintain a balance in your internal environment no matter what’s going on around you. Are your hormone levels too high? Is your temperature too low? Is your heart beating normally? 

Experts believe that maintaining this state of balance may be the primary role of the ECS.

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How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?

The endocannabinoid system is composed of three components;


Also referred to as endogenous cannabinoids, endocannabinoids are cannabinoid-like molecules produced by the human body. They include anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

Endocannabinoids help maintains the body’s internal environment and is produced as needed.

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Endocannabinoid Receptors

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of your body cells. They detect changes in the body and communicate to the cells, prompting them to take action. 

In short, they help maintain homeostasis by monitoring what’s happening in our bodies.

They are the same components that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bind to.

 Scientists have discovered two primary endocannabinoid receptors;

  • CB1 receptors
  • CB2 receptors

Both these receptors can be found throughout the body. However, CB2 receptors are more abundant in the immune system, tissues, and organs. CB1 receptors, on the other hand, are more concentrated in the brain and the central nervous system.

The endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effects will be determined by the location of the receptor as well as the endocannabinoid it binds to.

For instance, endocannabinoids might bind to CB2 receptors in the immune cells, signaling inflammation in your body.

endocannabinoid system function


Once the endocannabinoids have done their job, enzymes step in to break them down. This prevents them from going overboard, which may upset the balance in the opposite direction.

Two main enzymes are known for this function:

  • FAAH - Associated with anandamide breakdown
  • MAGL - which breaks down 2-AG

That’s how the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis or balance in the internal environment by using the three core components.

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How Was the ECS Discovered?

Everyone has heard about the digestive system, the circulatory system, etc., but very few people know about the endocannabinoid system. Why’s that?

This is mainly because the system has just been discovered recently, and it has remained relatively understudied.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israel scientist, identified and isolated THC for the 1st time. 

This meant that cannabinoids could now be isolated or separated, which gave birth to more studies on how cannabis could impact the human brain. 

In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was discovered in the brain of a rat. More studies followed, and more receptors were found. 

That’s how the ECS was discovered. Its name comes from cannabis since it’s the plant that led to its discovery.

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How Cannabinoids Such As CBD Comes In

Cannabinoids such as CBD are thought to have a positive interaction with the endocannabinoid system by binding to the cannabinoid receptors found throughout your body. 

This-- researchers believe-- may aid with various body conditions, including physical discomfort and mood imbalance.

Different cannabinoids may impact the body differently, and that’s why a cannabinoid such as THC, for instance, will have mind-altering effects while CBD won’t get you high.

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THC and the Endocannabinoid System

Research shows that THC may have the ability to bind directly with cannabinoid receptors, just like our endocannabinoids do. This is why it can lead to intoxicating effects or the high associated with cannabis use.

How Is CBD Different?

CBD won’t cause any mind-altering effects. It’s not known exactly how the compound interacts with the endocannabinoid system, but researchers suggest that it doesn’t bind directly to the cannabinoid receptors as THC does.

Instead, it may work by preventing the breakdown of endocannabinoids. Others suggest that CBD may also aid our body produce more endocannabinoids. This may enhance the functioning of the ECS, which may result in a healthier body.

However, this is a claim we can’t make here at zatural.com until more data is available.

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Where to Buy Hemp Oil Online in the USA

Now that we know what’s the endocannabinoid system, how it was named, and how it interacts with the various cannabinoids, perhaps you’re interested in trying some high-quality hemp oil?

If that’s the case, at zatural.com, we stock a wide range of premium hemp oil products. Our products are THC-free and rich in CBD. This allows you to benefit from cannabis without experiencing any mind-altering effects.

You don’t have to travel to our store since all our products are available at a click of a button.


Take Away

The endocannabinoid system is a unique cell-signaling system that plays a vital role in maintaining a state of balance in your body’s internal environment.

This involves maintaining body conditions such as blood sugar level, temperatures, hormones, etc. at an optimal level.

Although hemp products such as CBD oil won’t cure you or prevent symptoms, it may enhance how the ECS works by interacting with the cannabinoid receptors. 

This may boost your overall wellness since everything is the way it should be. 

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t bind directly to the CB receptors, and that may be the reason why it’s not psychoactive.

It’s better to treat hemp oil as a food supplement instead of medication. This means that you should not leave your medicines for CBD oil, for instance. 

Remember to contact us in case of any questions regarding our products.

For educational purposes only.

*FDA DISCLAIMER -These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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