The endocannabinoid system, present in all mammals, is composed of neurotransmitters throughout the body. These transmitters are scientifically known as “retrograde neurotransmitters”, and share information with a myriad of cells in the body.
The retrograde neurotransmitters within this fascinating system are lipid-based as well as endogenous. Lipid-based cells found in the endocannabinoid system are a bio-molecule that is soluble in non-polar solvents. Naturally occurring lipid cells within the body do not dissolve in water or fatty acid. Endogenous means that these transmitters found in the endocannabinoid system are originally from tissue, organs, or cells.
The endocannabinoid system uses the information it receives from different cells in the body and reacts accordingly. An example of this is when a viral infection is present within a human. Also, this bodily system responds to these infected cells by trying to regulate bodily functions while fighting the infected cells.
There are several functions of the endocannabinoid system within the human body.
The roles of the endocannabinoid system include the regulation of:
- Anxiety/Social Behaviours/Stress Levels
- Regular Organ Functions
- Sleeping Patterns
- Immune System Functions
- Metabolism & Energy Levels
- Female Reproductive Organ Function
- Memory and Cognition
- Inflammation & Pain
This complex system of cells, neurotransmitters and molecules is vital for a long and healthy lifespan.
Where is the Endocannabinoid System Located?
The neurotransmitters in the endocannabinoid system are located across the entire body.
Your endocannabinoid system is vital to overall health. Exercise and a diety that is rich in fatty acids, such as Omega-3, will naturally boost the system. In addition, an endocannabinoid system is at its most efficient level when an individual is healthy with regards to diet and exercise.
How Does the Endocannabinoid System React to Cannabis?
What happens when a human consumes cannabis?
The endocannabinoid system transmitters begin a process in which neurotransmitters will attach themselves to cannabinoid receptors and proteins that already exist within the body. After the transmitters have bound themselves to receptors and proteins, the endocannabinoid system will begin to regulate important bodily functions such as the ones mentioned above.
This process will occur whether cannabis is consumed as an edible, smoked, or vaporized.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors that have been discovered in the endocannabinoid system present within humans. These receptors are known as CB1 and CB2. Both of these cannabinoid receptors and the way that they react to cannabis have shown a far-reaching capability for medicinal application. In addition, the wide variety of important bodily functions that cannabis can affect positively also give credence to the thought of using cannabis as a medicine.
What Functions Do CB1 Receptors Have Inside The Human Body?
The CB1 cannabinoid receptors are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal system, reproductive organs, urinary tracts, endocrine gland, and within white blood cells. This receptor was first cloned by scientists in 1990 and is also found in the spleen and within human tissue.
There are limited studies available, however, there is scientific evidence that the CB1 cannabinoid receptor can regulate sleeping patterns as well as pain and inflammation. Interestingly, the CB1 cannabinoid receptor is also responsible for the psychoactive effect of cannabis.
What Functions Do CB2 Receptors Have Inside The Human Body
The CB2 cannabinoid receptors are located in the nervous system, immune cells, the tonsils and the spleen, which also contains CB1 receptors.
CB2 cannabinoid receptors have the ability to alleviate inflammation associated with illness or injury as well as repairing damaged tissue within the human body. Not to mention, the CB2 cannabinoid receptors also regulate brain activity, the immune system, and the digestive/gastrointestinal system.
CB2 receptors are not as common within the brain or nervous system as CB1 cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabis has a far-reaching effect on the human body. Although cannabis medicine and science are still in their infancy, there is still evidence available that shows a positive interaction between cannabis and the human body.
The sources for this article have been listed below and provide excellent reading material if you are interested in finding out more.
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Effect of illicit recreational drugs upon sleep: cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.
The ECS Therapy Companion Guide. Nelson (2015).
Anti-inflammatory Activity of Linalool And Linalyl Acetate Constituents of Essential Oils. Peana, D’Aquila, & Panin. (2002)
Future’s Mirror: The Endocannabinoid System in Human Pathology. Lawrence Norman (2017).
Effects of Myrcene on Nociception In Mice. Rao, Menezes, & Viana (1990)
Central Effects of Citral, Myrcene, And Limonene, Constituents of Essential Oil Chemotypes. Do Vale, Furtado, & Santos (2002)