Cannabinoids & Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a unique communications system found in the brain and body that affects many important functions. It is made up of natural molecules known as cannabinoids, and the pathways they interact with. Together, these parts work to regulate a number of activities, including mood, memory, sleep and appetite. Cannabinoids produce their effects by interacting with specific receptors (CB1 & CB2), located within different parts of the central nervous system. Simply put, cannabinoids regulate how cells communicate - how they send, receive, or process messages.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) takes part in regulating a wide array of bodily functions and signaling, such as pain, memory, mood and much more. THC and CBD are perhaps the most known of cannabinoids, but there are over 100 identified cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, which each interact differently with our ECS. Studies done on single cannabinoids have found them to have an effect on our ECS, but more interestingly, a mix of multiple cannabinoids can have an even stronger effect, as the cannabinoids help boost the effect of each other – a reaction also known as the entourage effect.
Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant, which have an effect on our bodies and minds when consumed. The most notable cannabinoid is the phytocannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another major constituent of the plant. At least 113 other distinct cannabinoids have been isolated from cannabis."
The word cannabinoid refers to chemical substances that join the cannabinoid receptors of the body and brain (endocannabinoid system). Research has found that the cannabis plant (hemp/marijuana) produces over 100 cannabinoids. The two most commonly known are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the chemical responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
The effects happen when the cannabinoids come into contact with our endocannabinoid system – a vast and complex network of receptors in our nervous system. The receptors in our endocannabinoid system, such as our CB1 and CB2 receptors, are found all over the body and react in different ways when they receive a signalling component, such as a cannabinoid. Furthermore, the reaction to a cannabinoid is very individual, as the network of receptors differs in amount and sensitivity in each human body. This explains why some people feel nothing when consuming cannabis oil, where others may feel an immediate effect.
The main difference between the two cannabinoids is that THC has psychoactive effects, meaning it makes a person ‘high’, whereas CBD is thought to have an anti-psychoactive effect that controls or moderates the ‘high’ caused by the THC. CBD is also thought to reduce some of the other negative effects that people can experience from THC, such as anxiety.