You’re about to learn all about
The Endocannabinoid System.

Sounds complicated. But we’ve kept it simple.

Scroll down to absorb the knowledge.

And stay with us - it’ll all be clear by the time you finish enjoying the experience.

(if you’re keen, we’ve also added a bunch of resources
to the bottom of this page to help you learn more)

Your Endocannabinoid System helps restore balance in your body by supporting its other functions

That balance is scientifically referred to as “homeostasis”

To get your head around homeostasis, imagine your body as the surface of a lake

When everything’s alright and the surface is still, you are in a state of homeostasis


But that state is constantly disturbed by everyday challenges, like worrying

And it’s disturbed by more physical things, like pain

In response, your body activates a number of systems to restore homeostasis

restoring homeostasis

One of those systems is
The Endocannabinoid System (a.k.a. “ECS”)

Your Endocannabinoid System is made from...

endocannabiniod enzymes

Enzymes

(they make and break parts of the system)

endocannabiniod endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids

(they deliver messages)

endocannabiniod receptors

Receptors

(they pass messages onto your cells)


When homeostasis is disturbed, the enzyme creates the endocannabinoid

homeostasis disturbed

This binding tells the connecting cell how to respond to the disturbance, and how to restore homeostasis

Once an endocannabinoid has done its job, it gets broken down again by enzymes

endocannabinoid broken down by enzymes
endocannabinoid broken down by enzymes

These receptors are attached to cells all over your body - including those inside your brain.

maintaining homeostasis

That means that when endocannabinoids bind with them, they impact lots of different functions - all in the name of maintaining “homeostasis”

There are two main types of receptor in your Endocannabinoid System

CB1 helps regulate things like anxiety, fear, appetite

CB1

is particularly keen on helping to regulate things like anxiety, fear, appetite, and energy

CB2 helping to regulate immune and inflammatory responses

CB2

is more interested in helping to regulate immune and inflammatory responses

There are also different types of endocannabinoid

endocannabiniod enzymes

Anandamide

also known as the “bliss molecule”, binds mostly to CB1

endocannabiniod endocannabinoids

2-AG

binds to both receptors and is mainly involved in supporting immune functions

They’re called “endocannabinoids” because they’re “endogenous” to your body

(which just means you produce them naturally)

Now for the weird part...

Your Endocannabinoid System is also compatible with components of the cannabis plant

These components are known as “phytocannabinoids” as opposed to “endocannabinoids”

Phyto” means plant - as these phytocannabinoids come from the cannabis plant.

And two of them are pretty high profile:

thc tetrahydrocannabinol

THC

(a.k.a. “tetrahydrocannabinol”)

cbd cannabidiol

CBD

(a.k.a. “cannabidiol”)

THC mimics the effects of anandamide - plugging straight into the same receptors

THC mimics the effects of anandamide

But THC acts like a supercharged version of anandamide - overactivating its connecting systems all at once to create a “high” feeling

However, as it’s psychoactive, THC can bring with it some side effects such as anxiety, especially in high doses

CBD receptors alter how cannabinoids interact with the receptor

Now, CBD doesn’t connect to your receptors in the same way

Instead, it is believed to alter how other cannabinoids (phyto or endo) interact with the receptor

That means you may experience more of the desirable effects of THC when CBD is present

With anandamide, CBD seems to get in the way of the enzyme’s ability to break down anandamide after it has done its job

That means you may experience the desirable effects of anandamide for longer

experience the desirable effects of anandamide for longer

Meanwhile, CBD is active at a range of other targets, including CB2, where it helps with anti-inflammatory functions

CBD and CB2 are active where it helps with anti-inflammatory

All of this works together in one of the most complex systems inside your body

A system that we’re learning more about each day.

To get to know more about your Endocannabinoid System, see the latest summarised studies below...