What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

by Summer Kucky on January 21, 2021

Endocannabinoid ReceptorsThe Endocannabinoid System (ECS) may be one of the most important systems in the human body when it comes to establishing and maintaining your normal bodily functions. For those of you who currently using CBD or are looking to try CBD, It is important to understand exactly what the ECS is and how it works with CBD to help improve your overall health.

The Endocannabinoid System is a complex, cell-signaling system which helps regulate a range of functions and processes. Research has concluded that the ECS directly affects sleep, mood, memory, appetite and so much more. Every living thing has an ECS and whether you use cannabis or not, it will still remain active and functioning. Let's discuss more what the Endocannabinoid System is, how it works, and how it’s functions affect your body.

How does the ESC Work?


Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body. They’re similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by your body.

Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids that help keep internal functions running smoothly:

  • anandamide (AEA)
  • 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

Endocannabinoid receptors

Cannabinoid receptors are of a class of cell membrane receptors in the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily. These receptors are found throughout your body and the Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action.

There are two main Endocannabinoid receptors:

  • CB1 receptors, which are mostly found in the central nervous system
  • CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells

Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The effects that result depend on where the receptor is located and which endocannabinoid it binds to.

For example, endocannabinoids might target CB1 receptors in a spinal nerve to relieve pain. Others might bind to a CB2 receptor in your immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders.

What does the Endocannabinoid System Do?

The ECS is a complex system, and researchers have yet to explore the full extent of its functions. However, what we do know about the Endocannabinoid system is that it may help to regulate and control the following functions: 


  • appetite and digestion
  • metabolism
  • inflammation and other immune system responses
  • mood
  • learning and memory
  • sleep
  • cardiovascular system functions
  • liver function
  • Stress reduction
  • skin and nerve function

These functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to the stability of your internal environment. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation.

How Does CBD Affect The ECS?

What’s unique about CBD is how it interacts with the Endocannabinoid system. It can bind to both CB1 and CB2 receptors which may have a beneficial impact on both the mind and body. Unlike traditional marijuana (THC), consuming CBD is non-psychoactive and does not get you high. While some CBD products may contain small amounts of THC, these amounts are under 0.3% and is not likely produce any psychoactive effects. 



Raypole, C. (2019, May 17). Endocannabinoid System: A Simple Guide to How It Works. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from


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