Discovering the Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System is a vital part of our bodies. You likely, however did not learn about this system in health class. This is because it wasn't until just a few decades ago that researchers discovered its existence. The discovery of the Endocannabinoid System began in 1964 but it was many years later that we put together all the pieces of the puzzle. In 1964 an Israeli scientist named Raphael Mechoulam identified and isolated THC, a phytocannabinoid found in cannabis. In 1988, researchers William Devane and Allyn Howlett discovered the first cannabinoid receptor within the brain of a rat. 

This was followed by the discovery of the second cannabinoid receptor in 1993. The first endocannabinoid being Anandamide aka "The Bliss Molecule" was found in 1992. This was followed by the discovery of the second endocannabinoid, arachidonoylglycerol or "2-AG in 1995. This is when researchers started working backwards to figure out how these all pieces worked together. It is then that they discovered what many consider to be the single most important system existing within the body, the Endocannabinoid System. 

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The Mammalian Endocannabinoid System

 Every mammal on the planet has an Endocannabinoid System or ECS for short. The ECS has been recognized by the NCBI "as an important modulatory system in the function of the brain, endocrine, and immune tissues." The Endocannabinoid System works with two types of cannabinoids, endogenous cannabinoids, and phytocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids) like anandamide aka "The Bliss Molecule" are naturally occurring within the human body. Phytocannabinoids or plant-based cannabinoids occur in plants like cannabis. Cannabis contains many different phytocannabinoids such as THC, CBG, CBD, and others. 


Activating the Endocannabinoid System

Throughout the Endocannabinoid System , there is an abundance of receptors. These receptors are activated by the production of endocannabinoids or absorption of phytocannabinoids. CB1, CB2, and CB3 receptors are located in connective tissues, immune cells, glands, organs, and throughout the brain. The primary responsibility of the Endocannabinoid System is to create a state of homeostasis within the body. 

When cannabis activate the ECS, it triggers two-way communication between nerves and cells. This communication is vital to your body's ability to natural heal itself of various ailments. It is thanks to the Endocannabinoid System that cannabis is able to help so many patients with various types of conditions and symptoms.


The Bridge Between Mind and Body

 The Endocannabinoid System is the bridge between mind and body helping to regulate and maintain essential body functions.  Some of the areas that are regulated by the Endocannabinoid System include pain, mood, appetite, sleep, and memory. As research continues surrounding this essential mammalian system, it is likely that we will learn the ECS plays an even more significant role in our overall health and happiness.