The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, refers to a system made up of endocannabinoids. The term “Cannabinoid” refers to compounds found in cannabis plant and “endo” is short for “endogenous,” which means that it is produced naturally inside of your body.
The term “endocannabinoid” simply means cannabis like substances that are naturally produced by our body. The system is present and active in both humans and mammals whether or not they use cannabis or CBD products due to the fact that endocannabinoids are molecules produced by your body.
The ECS involves three vital components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. The discovery of the ECS is considered to be a breakthrough in understanding how our body works to protect itself from various imbalances and help achieve homeostasis.
These endocannabinoids then work by binding to the two main endocannabinoid receptors in our body – CB1 and CB2 . This process signals the ECS that it needs to take action. The CB1 receptors are most commonly found in our central nervous system whereas the CB2 receptors are mostly found in our peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells.
Endocannabinoids can bind to either of these receptors and the resulting effect depends upon where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.
The third core component in the ECS, are enzymes that are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their function.
Recent research has proved that the ECS carries out various functions and has been linked to a host of processes including sleep, mood, inflammation, muscle formation, memory and recognition among others.