With the rise in popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) infused health and wellness products, people became aware of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Studies show that these products produce their effects due to the positive effect on the ECS. Also, studies show that psychotropic drugs and compounds similarly produce their effects. Research on the functions of this system accelerated since more people began using therapeutic compounds like CBD. The purpose of this article is to explore various aspects of the endocannabinoid system (ECS); read ahead to know more about them.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of chemical signaling systems. Interest in it grew, especially among the general population after more people began using cannabidiol (CBD) infused health and wellness products. Research shows that it plays a vital role in functions and processes like sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, and fertility.
How Does The ECS Work?
The three core components of ECS are the following: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Their functions are explained in detail below; read on to know more about them.
Endocannabinoids: Endocannabinoids are endogenous cannabinoids naturally produced by our bodies. For example, the neurotransmitter anandamide is an endocannabinoid. Phytocannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can produce their effects because they have structures and functions like that of the endocannabinoids.
Receptors: The endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout our body, i.e. they are present internally and on the skin. The endocannabinoids, and cannabinoids like CBD and THC bind to them and influence the functioning of the ECS.
Two of the main endocannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors are concentrated in the central and peripheral nervous systems. The CB2 receptors are mostly associated with the immune system. Because of this, they are found on the skin as well as in the immune cells.
Enzymes: The function of enzymes is to metabolize endocannabinoids. Two of the well-known enzymes of the ECS are fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol acid lipase. The former breaks down anandamide and one of the reasons for CBD health benefits is that CBD inhibits the action of FAAH. As a result of this, anandamide levels in the brain increases.
On a final note, pharmaceutical companies and cannabidiol manufacturers are studying to understand the functioning of the ECS so that they can develop effective therapeutic drugs.