Back to top
  • Open Daily at 10am
  • Call Ahead for Curbside Pickup
  • 443-438-3659

How Does The Endocannabinoid System Work?

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a regulatory system in the human body that is connected to major organs, the immune system, nervous system, and areas of the brain. It plays a crucial role in maintaining the body’s internal balance, known as homeostasis, by monitoring molecular signaling throughout the body. The ECS is involved in almost all primary physiological functions, making it a vital component of overall health.

The Discovery of the ECS

When exploring how the human body works, scientists typically discover the “system” before identifying the receptors and chemicals that trigger it. However, in the case of the ECS, the discovery process was reversed. In 1990, researchers identified and isolated the CB1 receptor, followed by the discovery of CB2 receptors a few years later. Simultaneously, American scientists in Jerusalem found the endocannabinoid anandamide, a crucial component of the ECS. These discoveries led to the unveiling of the ECS, a system capable of regulating various biological functions in the body.

Components Affecting the ECS

The ECS operates by releasing endocannabinoids when an imbalance is detected, which then bind to receptors located throughout the body. These receptors, known as CB1 and CB2, interact with endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and synthetic cannabinoids to trigger a range of biological responses. Endocannabinoids like anandamide are naturally produced by the body, while phytocannabinoids are found in plants like hemp and can also activate ECS receptors. Synthetic cannabinoids, although effective, can lead to adverse effects due to their chemical composition.

CB1 and CB2 Receptors

The ECS relies on two primary receptors, CB1 and CB2, to communicate with different parts of the body. CB1 receptors are predominantly located in the brain, influencing mood, emotion, and appetite, while CB2 receptors are found in the immune and central nervous systems. Both receptors play essential roles in regulating physiological functions and maintaining internal balance.

Impact and Potential of the ECS

Research suggests that the ECS influences various bodily functions, including memory, appetite, metabolism, stress regulation, immune response, and sleep patterns. By understanding how the ECS functions, we can harness its potential to promote favorable biological reactions and overall well-being. Consuming naturally produced cannabinoids is believed to be the most effective way to leverage the benefits of the ECS while minimizing potential risks associated with synthetic compounds.


[1] Russo, E. B. (2016). Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. NCBI. [Source]

[2] Zou, S., & Kumar, U. (2018). Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. NCBI. [Source]