The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a part of your central nervous system. It is the part that is responsible for all of the wellness and recreational effects from CBD and THC.
This article will cover some of the most important aspects of the endocannabinoid system. Additionally, we will cover how exactly THC and CBD interact with this system.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System For?
Surely there is more to the ECS than just reacting to the stimulus of cannabinoids.
Scientists believe that the main role of the ECS is homeostasis, which is the process of achieving a physiological equilibrium. In other words, the ECS keeps our body balanced.
Pain regulation, sleep aid, cognitive processes such as memory and learning, hunger and temperature regulation, are all processes that the endocannabinoid system plays a part in.
The endocannabinoid system is not unique to humanity. In fact, all vertebrates, which includes fish and birds, produce endocannabinoids.
How Cannabis Interacts with the ECS
Endocannabinoids are molecules naturally produced in the bodies of vertebrates. These molecules are quite similar to those found in cannabis, cannabinoids. This similarity partly explains the effectiveness of cannabis on the ECS.
The ECS has structures called cannabinoid receptors, the two types of which are called CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 receptors are mostly brain-based, while CB2 receptors are based for the most part in the immune system.
Cannabinoids from cannabis products bind to these receptors, which in turn cause notable psychoactive and/or bodily effects.
CBD, or cannabidiol, mostly binds with CB2 receptors, which explains the emphasis on wellness effects.
THC, on the other hand, binds with CB2 and CB1 receptors. As a result, there is a psychoactive component to THC’s interaction with the ECS.
On a deeper level, THC ensures the release of dopamine, while CBD does not. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that is responsible for activating many pleasure and reward neurons in our brain. In less fancy terms, THC’s dopamine firing is what gets THC users high.
Key Takeaway: The ECS and Cannabis Are Made for Each Other
The ECS’s main function is homeostasis, or creating balance within the body.
When cannabis interacts with the ECS, many balance-creating activities, such as sleep aid and hunger regulation, are intensified.
So, when CBD makes you sleepy, or THC makes you feel hungry, then you know that it is because the ECS is primed to interact with those compounds from cannabis.
If you are looking to learn more about THC, CBD, and cannabis in general, check out our Learn page on the Hectare’s website!
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