Cannabis Biology: The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system found throughout the entire body. Your body naturally produces endocannabinoids to help regulate the central nervous system (aka the brain) and the peripheral nervous system (aka the rest of your body). This means we have cannabinoid receptors located throughout our body, and we naturally produce endocannabinoids to regulate memory recall, mood, appetite and pain. When we introduce cannabinoids (aka medical marijuana) we create biological effects in the endocannabinoid system depending on what we ingested and how (aka varieties of highs; body vs. cerebral and everything in between).

Two receptors have been identified1 as CB1 and CB2. CB1 is mainly found in the brain, and CB2 is mainly found in the immune system, but they are both widespread throughout the human body. CB1 naturally accepts the neurotransmitter anandamide. Anandamide binds to CB1 to regulate memory, sleep, and pain stimuli in the brain. Anandamide binds to CB2 in the rest of the body to control the immune system.

Ok, that was a heavy intro to the basic science of cannabis. What is the one thing you should take away from this week’s lesson? Humans have marijuana receptors in their body. When medical marijuana is consumed, endogenous receptors are stimulated. Humans naturally produce cannabinoids in the nervous system to control memory, hunger, and pain.

Still too much?

Smoke pot. Get stoned. Feel better. Science!

Stop by Torrey Holistics, San Diego’s finest legal medical marijuana dispensary, and a Cannabis Consultant will be happy to share more knowledge and tips 1 on 1.

1. Grotenhermen, Franjo (23 July 2012). “The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis and Cannabinoids” Dtsch Arztebl Int. 109 (PMC3442177): 495–501.


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