The endocannabinoid system is one of the concepts that is most often mentioned when talking about CBD, but even so, it is an element that many people do not know about.
But in this section we will explain in a simple and easy to understand way what the Endocannabinoid System is and how it relates to the use of CBD.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, is a biological system that several living beings present. This system is made up of various receptors, endocannabinoids and enzymes that allow communication between cells to regulate various physiological processes.
If we talk about these components of the SEC we can describe them as follows:
- Receptors .- Elements that receive information to generate a response.
- Endocannabinoids .- Molecules generated by the body itself. Their structure is very similar to those found in cannabis and hence their name.
- Enzymes – substances that regulate the speed of chemical reactions in the body.
Together, these elements help maintain homeostasis in the body, creating an essential and highly relevant structure.
To keep in mind the importance of this system, here are some of the functions they regulate that are the subject of much scientific research.
- Pain sensation and modulation
- Various activities of the immune system
- Movement control and various motor functions
- Addictive behaviour
Where is the Endocannabinoid System found?
This system, which you may not have heard much about, is distributed in various places in the body and is mainly made up of various receptors, which are housed in certain organs or structures of the body, allowing them to communicate with each other.
The SEC has several types of receptors, of which studies have mainly focused on 2 of them:
– CB1 receptors
– CB2 receptors
– CB1 +CB2 receptors
CB1 receptors are mainly found in the central nervous system, vascular system, lungs, reproductive organs and muscles.
CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system, immune system, colon and spleen.
But there are sites where CB1 and CB2 receptors coexist, such as the liver, pancreas and bones.
Apart from these, there are several others, but their functioning and interaction within the SEC and their behaviour towards endocannabinoids are still under investigation.
What is the relationship between the Endocannabinoid System and CBD?
The endocannabinoid system was identified in 1990 when research was being done on THC, a well-known cannabinoid. And when they saw that there was some interaction and response in the Endocannabinoid receptors, they started to carry out research based on another cannabinoid they had isolated, CBD.
Scientific research began on the premise that the body produces several endocannabinoids such as Anandamide, the best known endocannabinoid, and 2-arachinodilglycerol (2-AG). In that study in the 1990s it was found that external cannabinoids, such as phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD, also interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors and exhibit a number of physiological responses.
Since then, several studies can be found on CBD and the endocannabinoid system.
What is the function of the Endocannabinoid System?
The main function of this system, according to studies, is the regulation of the body’s homeostasis.
The ECS is involved in several neuronal functions. It is also present in the modulation of the immune system and the cardiovascular system. Furthermore, because of the CB1 receptors in the brain, it correlates with the pharmacological actions of cannabinoids. Moreover, having CB1 and CB2 receptors in various organs involved in energy balance and nutrient absorption explains their action in regulating food and energy balance.
How does CBD interact with the Endocannabinoid System?
To date, there is a great deal of research on this subject, as unlike THC, which activates CB1 and CB2 receptors, CBD has little affinity for them, but modulates several receptors or even inhibits the binding action of certain receptors.
If one had to define a word to describe the interaction of CBD with the body, MODULATION would be the major effect it has.
Thanks to its non-psychotropic action, CBD is present in several research studies that help to determine its range of action in the body.
But there is still a lot of research to be done on this complex system and its interaction in the human body.
The Evolution and comparative neurobiology of endocannabinoid signalling
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Multiple Funcitons of Endocannabinoid Signaling in the Brain | Anual Review of Neuroscience