What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)??

January 06, 2020 2 min read

The human body has an entire Endocannabinoid System (ECS) specifically designed to interact with the natural compounds found in the hemp plant. ECS is  one of the most vital and vast receptor systems for sustaining good health. It affects many of our biological processes. Not just for humans, but also for all vertebrate animals, such as dogs and cats. 

The ECS contains cannabinoid receptors, the “locks” and a group of diverse chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the "keys." Endocannabinoids are found in the immune system, the central nervous system, the brain, organs, connective tissue, and glands. Cannabinoids exert their effect by naturally interacting with your body's ECS receptors, the body's biological system that plays a crucial role in maintaining homeostasis. 

Why does CBD work so well with your ECS? There's a simple reason why hemp works so well with the ECS. It has a built in set of keys to the kingdom. Hemp contains elevated levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), an active phytocannbinoid that works synergistically with other phytocannabinoids and compounds like terpenes and flavonoids. 

What does the ECS do? The primary objective of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis. The word homeostasis comes from the Greek words for the "steady. This includes physiological and cognitive processes such as anxiety and stress, pain-sensation, fertility, mood and memory, appetite, inflammation, along with mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.

Cannabinoid receptors are spread throughout our bodies and found in the central brain and nervous system, peripheral nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and connective tissue. The ECS has a series of receptors on cells throughout the body designed to accept cannabinoids  There are two main types of receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) that receives cannabinoids:

  • Endocannabinoids: Endogenous-fatty-acid cannabinoids produced naturally in the body. (e.g. anandamide and 2-AG)
  • Phytocannabinoids:Cannabinoids predominantly concentrated in the oily resin of the buds and leaves of cannabis plants. The most predominant cannabinoids are: THC, CBD, CBN, THC-A, CBD-A, THCV, CBDV, CBC

CB1 is mostly found in the Brain, Lungs, Vascular System, Muscles, Gastrointestinal Tract, Reproductive Organs, Immune System, Liver, Bone Marrow, Pancreas, Kidneys and Heart. 

CB2 is mostly found in the Spleen, Bones, Skin, Immune System, Liver, Bone Marrow, and Pancreas.

Metabolic enzymes, FAAH and MAGL, are used by the ECS to accelerate chemical reactions and efficiently break down cannabinoids once they've served their purpose.

Understanding your relationship with the Endocannabinoid System and homeostasis is essential for life as it holds the keys to living a healthy and happy life.