How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?

There’s a recently discovered system in our body called the Endocannabinoid System (the ECS for short). All humans and animals have this system, it’s in our DNA but wasn’t discovered until the 1960’s and we’re still learning much about it.  One of the main ways the body maintains its physical and emotional balance is through this system, which why maintaining it’s health has become so important. The purpose of the ECS is to work with, communicate, and regulate wellness with a variety of systems in our body. These systems include the Nervous System, Cardiovascular System, Endocrine System, Digestive System, Immune System, Respiratory System, and more. Because the ECS is connected to and communicates with so many of our body systems, it has a magnified impact on our bodies.




Here’s the actual definition of the Endocannabinoid System (from Wikipedia): “The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors (CBRs), and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system remains under preliminary research, but may be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes, including fertility,[1] pregnancy,[2] during pre- and postnatal development,[3] various activity of immune system,[4] appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.[5][6] “


The ECS has two main Cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are spread all throughout the entire body. We can think of these receptors like ‘locks’, which are in
need of a ‘key’ to release them and allow them to work. So, also within our bodies are these naturally produced molecules, which are like ‘keys’ that specifically ‘unlock’ the power of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These molecules are called: Anandamide and Arachidonoyl Glycerol (2AG). These are Endocannabinoids. They’re molecules our human bodies naturally make to work with, and ‘unlock the power’ of our CB1 and CB2 receptors.


The ‘locks’ and ‘keys’ send signals to each other, and help control millions of chemical reactions that occur within the body. This is what forms the primary chemistry and/or function of the Endocannabinoid System. This complex and expansive system of receptors is a vital, cell-signaling body system.




The hemp plant contains Phyto-cannabinoids – which essentially are cannabinoids that come from a plant. CBD is just one of the cannabinoids in the hemp plant. CBD, and all the other cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, mimic our human-made Endocannabinoids. When these cannabinoids are introduced to the body, it can’t distinguish between them, because they mimic our naturally produced ones so well. So when hemp is introduced to the body, it gets a fresh flood of cannabinoids that interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.


Plant based cannabinoids, similar to our human produced endocannabinoids – fit as a ‘key’ to our CB1 and CB2 receptors and ‘unlock’ their power – promoting health and balance to our body. When you’re using hemp derived CBD, this is how and why it’s working in your body. And, why it can have such an incredible and compounded effect. And honestly, why so many people are finding success with using CBD products.


Next week, more on the effects of the Endocannabinoid System.


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