What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Read time: 1 Minutes

Created By: Nate Abegglen | Posted: 06-24-22

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a wide-reaching cell signaling network that works to keep the other major systems in our body — like the nervous, endocrine, immune, and reproductive systems – in balance (homeostasis). It is referred to as the “universal regulator”, Short for “endogenous cannabinoid system,” the ECS is named after the compounds found in Cannabis. Yep, that cannabis. One of the most important biological systems in the human body was discovered thanks to pot.

Cannabinoids are compounds that interact with the endocannabinoid system. A well-known cannabinoid is THC. But there are more.

A lot more.

Cannabis — the genus of plants associated with marijuana — has over 100 cannabinoid compounds. Many of these cannabinoids have nothing to do with feeling “high”. Such as CBD, a very popular cannabinoid that’s non-psychoactive.

What’s more, cannabinoids aren’t only found in Cannabis.

The big breakthrough that led to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system was that humans produce their own cannabinoids endogenously (or originating internally).

This led to the classification of three types of cannabinoids:

  • Phytocannabinoids (plant-derived, like THC and CBD)
  • Endocannabinoids (originating in human or animal tissues)
  • Synthetic cannabinoids (lab produced)

So, the human body contains a physiological system that not only reacts to external compounds like THC and CBD, but it also reacts to similar compounds created internally.

This reaction is what triggers our ECS system to signal cues to our body based on the needs to acheive homeostasis (or balance).  

Want to learn more? Access our full Endocannabinoid Beginner's Guide by contacting our team here

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