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How Does The Endocannabinoid System Work?

By MaryAnn Stanger ND  •  0 comments  •   6 minute read

Endocannabinoid system Diagram. What is the endocannabinoid system

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

As scientific research continues to unveil its complex functions, the endocannabinoid system has emerged as a fascinating area of study, with implications for numerous aspects of health and wellness.

This guide will deeply explore the endocannabinoid system, uncovering its role and importance. Whether you are new to the topic or seeking more insight, this guide offers a clear and accessible look into how the endocannabinoid system works with cannabinoids like CBD and its impact on human health. By the end, you'll have a solid understanding of this remarkable system and its effects on our well-being.


When Was The Endocannabinoid System Discovered?

Everyone has heard about the digestive system, the circulatory system, etc., but very few people know about the endocannabinoid system. Why's that? The system has just been recently discovered and has remained relatively understudied.

In the early 1960s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli 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 a rat's brain. 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.


Understanding The Endocannabinoid System

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 from the cannabis plant.

Let's examine the word endocannabinoid. Endo is a short form for 'endogenous,' which is translated to mean that it's produced naturally in your body. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. There are over 100 known cannabinoids, including THC and cannabidiol (CBD). In other words, endocannabinoid refers to cannabis-like substances or compounds 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.


The Endocannabinoid System: Its Role in Homeostasis

The endocannabinoid system plays a pivotal role in maintaining balance within the body, a state known as homeostasis. This important regulatory network acts as a control center, constantly monitoring various physiological processes and working to ensure they remain within a stable range.

 Women using CBD to maintain a balanced Endocannabinoid system

When internal or external factors disrupt this balance, such as fluctuations in temperature, stress, or injury, the endocannabinoid system kicks into action. It releases endocannabinoids or distributes cannabinoids—chemical compounds that bind to specific receptors throughout the body.

This binding triggers a chain of responses that help restore equilibrium. The endocannabinoid system's ability to influence functions such as discomfort, immune response, appetite, sleep, and mood exemplifies its role as a master regulator of homeostasis, contributing to the body's overall harmony and well-being.


How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?

The endocannabinoid system comprises three components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Stick with us as we take a deeper look into the endocannabinoid system.


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 maintain the body's internal environment and are produced as needed.

Endocannabinoid Receptors

Endocannabinoid receptors are found on the surface of your body cells. They detect changes in the body and communicate with 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 receptor's location and the endocannabinoid it binds to. For instance, endocannabinoids might bind to CB2 receptors in the immune cells, signaling inflammation in your body.



Once the endocannabinoids have done their job, enzymes 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

Using the three core components, the endocannabinoid system maintains homeostasis or balance in the internal environment.


The Endocannabinoid System and CBD Working Together

The endocannabinoid system and CBD (cannabidiol) form a dynamic partnership that has captured the attention of researchers and wellness enthusiasts alike.

CBD, a cannabinoid derived from the Cannabis plant, interacts with the endocannabinoid system's receptors, CB1 and CB2, though not directly binding to them. Instead, CBD influences these receptors by modulating their activity and enhancing the system's natural functions.

How does the endocannabinoid system work

This interaction extends to enzymes responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids, leading to increased levels of these compounds in the body. As a result, CBD's impact on the endocannabinoid system is linked to various potential benefits, such as managing pain, reducing inflammation, promoting relaxation, and supporting overall balance.

This intricate collaboration between CBD and the endocannabinoid system showcases the body's remarkable ability to harness external compounds for well-being, offering a promising avenue for holistic health approaches.


Other Factors That Influence the Endocannabinoid System

Believe it or not, other factors can influence the ECS just like cannabinoids do. Factors such as your lifestyle can have a heavy impact on the effectiveness of the endocannabinoid system. Let's talk about them.

Influence of Diet, Exercise, and Stress

Beyond external compounds, lifestyle factors also impact the endocannabinoid system. Diet and exercise can alter endocannabinoid levels; a balanced diet rich in essential fatty acids may promote healthy endocannabinoid function.

Similarly, exercise has been linked to increased endocannabinoid release, potentially contributing to the "runner's high." Conversely, stress can disrupt the system's equilibrium, affecting endocannabinoid production and receptor sensitivity.


Implications for Overall Well-being

The interplay between lifestyle factors and the endocannabinoid system profoundly affects well-being. Cultivating healthy habits, managing stress, and maintaining a balanced diet can contribute to a properly functioning endocannabinoid system.

This synergy underscores the body's innate ability to find harmony, emphasizing the intricate connection between our choices and the system's effectiveness in promoting holistic health.

The endocannabinoid system's responsiveness to external influences reflects its adaptability, illustrating the symbiotic relationship between our actions and this vital regulatory network.


Sum It Up!

What is the endocannabinoid system? The endocannabinoid is a complex system within the human body that helps us regulate vital organs and systems. The body naturally produces its endocannabinoids to aid in maintaining balance.

When cannabinoids like CBD are added to the endocannabinoid system, it is given more fuel to assist warning signals throughout the body for discomfort, mood, and sleep support. CBD use can effectively help improve the ECS's ability to maintain balance and overall health.

Other factors like remaining healthy by working out and staying away from stressful situations can also help improve the responsiveness and effectiveness of the ECS.


Why Should You Buy Zatural CBD?

Taking CBD will give your body the extra boost to keep your endocannabinoid system running at 100%. Our CBD comes from high-quality organic industrial hemp. Our product is just what your ECS needs to maintain homeostasis and overall well-being. Don't just take our word for it; give us a try today.

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For educational purposes only.

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


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