Endocannabinoids are biological compounds that animals produce inside their bodies. As far as we currently know, all animals create some endocannabinoids.
These substances are so named because their structure and behavior mimic substances that cannabis and hemp produce. The very reason that cannabinoids like THC and CBD work on our bodies at all is because of how similar they are to endocannabinoids.
We don’t really understand all that the ECS and endocannabinoids do, but they are shockingly vital. They appear involved in almost every process our bodies go through to keep us alive.
Amazing Endocannabinoids: Cannabinoids From Hemp And Cannabis
Before science understood endo-cannabinoids, they understood cannabinoids. Substances like THC and CBD are cannabis or hemp produced. When ingested, they cause effects within the human body. By the way, they work on many animals as well.
The plant produces these compounds to help protect itself from disease and damage. They cause different effects within the body.
While THC creates mostly cognitive effects, CBD influences the body in a variety of other ways. It can allegedly reduce inflammation, stabilize mood, help the body fight off disease and battle insomnia. All of this is possible because these substances interact with the endocannabinoid system.
Amazing Endocannabinoids: The Endocannabinoid System
Just like you have a central nervous system, you also have an endocannabinoid system. These systems are terms for clusters of structures and biochemicals that work together toward common goals. Your brain and spinal cord are part of your central nervous system. Likewise, endocannabinoid receptors, certain enzymes, and neurotransmitters form the endocannabinoid system.
This system exists throughout the body. Receptors exist in the digestive system, the brain, the immune system and almost everywhere you can imagine.
The receptors accept compounds and enzymes and fatty acids interact with this system to help out in other ways.
Amazing Endocannabinoids: What Are Neurotransmitters
In short, neurotransmitters are substances the body secretes. These substances help cellular communication. They are chemicals released by the ends of nerve fibers. They help signals pass between synapses in the body.
This sounds a bit complicated, so for our purposes just understand that endocannabinoids are a type of neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between nerve cells in the body.
Amazing Endocannabinoids: Fun Facts About The ECS
Feeling psyched after completing a project or enjoying a square of chocolate? Your endocannabinoids may be fired up! They appear to engage in reward system behavior within the body. Their levels may even rise in the body during exercise.
Endocannabinoid Anandamide is known as the bliss molecule because of the euphoric state it creates in the brain. It binds with the same receptors that THC binds to and also appears to activate CB2 receptors. It’s a pretty important substance and the first endocannabinoid ever discovered.
Speaking of that discovery, the ECS was discovered in the 1990s, not very long ago! That’s hundreds of years of humanity with no knowledge of these amazing substances at all!
The most primitive animal science knows contains an ECS is the sea squirt. This animal is also known as a tunicate. They look like psychedelic kidneys in case you’re interested.