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
One of those systems is
The Endocannabinoid System (a.k.a. “ECS”)
Your Endocannabinoid System is made from...
When homeostasis is disturbed, the enzyme creates the endocannabinoid
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
These receptors are attached to cells all over your body - including those inside your brain.
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
There are also different types of endocannabinoid
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 mimics the effects of anandamide - plugging straight into the same receptors
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
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
Meanwhile, CBD is active at a range of other targets, including CB2, where it helps with anti-inflammatory functions
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...