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Endocannabinoid System

What is the Endocannabinoid System? 

While biology is a required class across the United States, we’re willing to bet that you’ve never heard about the endocannabinoid system. Like every other system in the human body, the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in regulatory functions. Here, you’ll learn more about this body system, how it was discovered, how it functions, and how it interacts with cannabinoids like CBD

When Was The Endocannabinoid System Discovered?

To understand the origins of the endocannabinoid system, we must look to the epicenter of cannabis research, Israel. 

Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, known as the “father of cannabis,” began studying cannabis with the Israeli government’s approval in the 1960s. Mechoulam is known for discovering THC, among numerous other cannabis-related discoveries alongside many commendable researchers. Dr. Lumir Hanus was one of them. 

It was Dr. Lumir Hanus who discovered and isolated the first cannabinoid neurotransmitter, known as Anandamide. The name comes from the Sanskrit word, ananda, which means “joy” or “bliss.” 

The discovery of the neurotransmitter confirmed that the human body creates its own cannabinoids.  

The central cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, had been discovered in the 1980s in vitro studies. When the discovery of Anandamide occurred, it changed the way researchers think about cannabinoid receptors. 

This led to the discovery of the human body’s endocannabinoid system, as our body naturally creates cannabinoids to stimulate these specific receptors for regulatory purposes. 

How does the Endocannabinoid System Work? 

The endocannabinoid system is a system of receptors that are located throughout the body. You can find the two main endocannabinoid receptors, the CB1 and CB2 receptors, in the brain, our organs, throughout the nervous system, in tissues, and within the immune system. 

On a biological level, the endocannabinoid system’s role is to help the body maintain homeostasis or balance.  

For example, research has found that the CB1 receptor helps to control appetite.  

This is interesting, as we never learned about the endocannabinoid system when we learned about digestion, right?  

Further research demonstrates the therapeutic and medicinal potential that targeting the endocannabinoid system may have. The ability to modulate this system, and therefore impact the body’s overall health, “may hopefully be a major breakthrough,” reads one research review

While the human body creates its own cannabinoids as seen through the discovery of Anandamide, the endocannabinoid system also reacts to cannabinoids that are created via external sources, like the cannabis plant. 

For example, the endocannabinoid system sends signals to various parts of the body when THC is consumed. It does the same when CBD is consumed. It is through these responses that we are beginning to understand how cannabis products impact our bodies.   

The Endocannabinoid System in Nature 

Humans are not the only species with an endocannabinoid system. In fact, all vertebrate species have one. This has led specitiests to further explore how the system has biologically evolved and the ways in which it positively impacts our existence. 

In reality, we’re still discovering how vast and complex the endocannabinoid system is. We can attribute this lack of understanding to our society’s relationship with cannabis, and more specifically cannabis research, in general. Now, however, as legislation changes, we are learning more; as more studies are published, our understanding of how the system functions, and how we can manipulate it, expands. 

For example, to understand the full scope of the system and the evolutionary role it might play, researchers are turning to animals. Findings suggest that like humans, the animal endocannabinoid system may be a therapeutic target for pain and anxiety management, as well as for inflammatory conditions. Until further research is conducted and evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration, we are unable to make any claims regarding what the endocannabinoid system pathways “treat” medicinally.

The fact is, this biological system goes far beyond humans. It is clear that the potential, especially as more research is done, will be eye-opening. 

The Endocannabinoid System & CBD 

When you consume, inhale, or use CBD lotions, how does your endocannabinoid system react? In many ways, CBD activates your endocannabinoid system. While its effects look different for everyone (because everyone’s body maintenance and regulatory systems are different), examining how CBD initiates the CB1 and CB2 receptors is vital.   

Researchers have called the endocannabinoid system “our universal regulator,” speaking to the vast impact that targeting these biological pathways may have from a medical perspective. 

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The CB1 and CB2 receptors are located throughout the body, meaning they’re involved in numerous systems and functions. Here are a few of them: 

  • Numerous studies are exploring the mechanisms connecting the CB1 receptor and the central nervous system. One study suggests that the receptor may be a target for potential nervous system therapies.  
  • CB2 receptors are located in the brain. More specifically, research suggests that CB2 receptors express immunoreactivity, which is an immune reaction to antigens. 
  • Both the CB1 and CB2 receptors have been marked as potential therapeutic targets. One study reads, “…[these] receptors play an important role in many processes, including metabolic regulation, craving, pain, anxiety, bone growth, and immune function.”

These are just a few of the functions the endocannabinoid receptors are involved in. 

When you consume or use CBD products, the endocannabinoid system is a “delivery system” of sorts, taking Cannabidiol directly to where the body deems necessary.  

CBD Delivery Methods for The Endocannabinoid System  

Because this body system is so varied individual-to-individual, Infinite CBD has created a variety of CBD delivery methods. This allows you to customize how you deliver and target your endocannabinoid receptors. 

For example, our topical CBD products allow you to target your relief. If you’re experiencing muscle tension or need to recover from a tough workout, topical CBD is the best delivery method – endocannabinoid receptors in your skin address the targeted area specifically.  

At Infinite CBD, we strongly believe that each person’s endocannabinoid system is unique. Through the research, development, and creation of our premium Colorado hemp-derived CBD products, we aim to help people discover a routine that works best for their endocannabinoid system.