The Endocannabinoid System
Our body's system to maintain homeostasis.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) works in concert with your Central Nervous System to regulate organs and physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.
The ECS (Discovered in 1992) is a complex of receptors in the body whose purpose is to regulate various organ systems, with the goal of achieving homeostasis (A state of balance inside the body).
The ECS works internally with Endocannabinoids, a group of cannabinoids produced by the body. The two prominent being 2AG and Anandamide. These cannabinoids are produced from fat-like molecules within cell membranes, and are synthesized on-demand.
The ECS Receptors sit on the outer side of the cell membranes constantly gauging the state of your body. If the receptors sense a problem (ie. Inflammatory response), it calls for endocannabinoids to be produced and transported to the receptors in and surrounding the affected area. The ECS Receptors also connect with cannabinoids outside the body (Phytocannabinoids) that are produced by Cannabis and other plants.
The Endocannabinoid System Receptors
CB1 receptors are primarily in the brain and throughout the spine. When these receptors are activated, they are involved with memory, perception, and movement. The CB1 receptor appears to be responsible for the mood-enhancing effects of Cannabis, and is the pathway for the negative, dysphoria-inducing, and frank psychotomimetic effects in susceptible individuals. 2-AG has a strong connection with this receptor. THC, CBD, and Anandamide only have a partial connection
Although CB1 and CB2 receptors share considerable structural similarities, their location and effects differ. Among other actions, CB2 receptors are thought to serve an important role in immune function, pain management, and inflammation. CB2 receptors reduces nociception (the sensory nervous system's response to certain harmful or potentially harmful stimuli. ie. Inflammation) and pain (especially nerve pain). THC, CBD, 2-AG, and Anandamide have partial connections to this receptor.
GPR18 receptors are mostly found in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, and testicular areas. This receptor helps with anti-inflammatory activity and cell apoptosis. Anandamide and THC connect strongest to this receptor. CBD has a partial connection.
GPR55 receptors are primarily found in the brain (Cerebellum), bones, Jejunum, and Ileum (Both are parts of the intestine). This receptor is involved with pain relief, bowel symptoms and diseases, and proliferation of prostate and ovarian cancers. THC, 2-AG, and Anandamide connect as an agonist. CBD connects to this receptor as an antagonist.
GPR 119 receptors are mainly found in the Pancreas and Intestinal Tract. Although this is not a true cannabinoid receptor, it is a target of the endocannabinoid system. This receptor works with areas involved in obesity and diabetes
TRPV1 Receptors are concentrated around the blood, bone, marrow, kidney, liver, stomach, ovaries, and tongue. This receptor engages bowel ailments & diseases, osteoarthritis, and other areas where cronic inflammation exists. TRPV1 also regulates body temperature. Anandamide connects to this receptor as an agonist.
TRPV2 Receptors are concentrated in the skin, stomach, lungs, and kidneys. This receptor provides anti-inflammatory effects, along with engaging liver cirrhosis, Rosacea, Muscular dystrophy, Glioblastoma, and other major inflammatory diseases. THC and CBD activate this receptor.
Anandamide is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that binds to the THC receptors. It's been called the “bliss molecule,” aptly named after ananda, the Sanskrit word for “joy, bliss, or happiness.” Anandamide is reported to produce effects similar to THC at CB1 receptors, via G-protein coupled inhibition of adenylate cyclase. These effects include antinociception, hypomotility, and reduced memory. Anandamide is also known to be an activator of TRPV1, which is involved in regulation of body temperature and nociception. Studies suggest that anandamide is less potent and has a shorter duration of action than THC.
2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) is an endogenous ligand of the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), members of a family of GPCR's best known for mediating effects of the active components of marijuana. The brain and peripheral tissues contain abundant levels of 2-AG. 2-AG connects to CB1, CB2, and GPR55. 2-AG is the most abundant endocannabinoid found in the body, and like anandamide, is thought to play an important role in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management. It is also thought that 2-AG may also play a role in the inhibition of cancer cell proliferation.