The endocannabinoid system is a biological system made out of endocannabinoids, enzymes and receptors responsible for physical and psychological effects within the body. When there are deviation from homeostasis in the body’s functions the endocannabinoid system is activated and begins to respond accordingly by synthesizing endocannabinoids, which act as neurotransmitters. When neurotransmitters are created they are picked up by specialized cannabinoid receptors which sit on the surface of cells.
Cannabinoids produced naturally within the human body in response to needs within the larger physiological system and are used to be used for the body’s regulatory functions. 2-AG and anandamide are the two well known endocannabinoids. They are short-order neurotransmitters that act backwards on presynaptic cells which control the volume at which communicating signals are sent, they affect the duration and intensity of the wide range of physiological processes under their control.
The endocannabinoid system has two receptors: CB1 and CB2, each responds to different cannabinoids but some cannabinoids can interact with both. CB1 receptors are found throughout the body but are more present in the brain and spinal cord. CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system and are especially concentrated in immune cells, when activated they work to reduce inflammation. Endocannabinoids interact with these receptors and transmit information about changing conditions to kick start a response with the goal of helping the body achieve homeostasis.
FUNCTION OF THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
As the endocannabinoid system helps ensure that the body’s immune and central nervous system are working correctly. Modulating the endocannabinoid system opens pathways to maintain stable internal conditions, necessary for survival.