Endocannabinoid system (ECS) and How does CBD and THC affect it?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a molecular system responsible for controlling and balancing many processes in the body, including immune response, cell-mediated communication, appetite and metabolism, memory, and more. In the 1990s when researchers were examining THC a well-known Cannabinoid found in cannabis This complex cell signaling program was identified.
In 1998, Vincenzo Di Marzo, the world’s leading cannabinoid scientist, described the physiological processes of emotions, appetite, sleep, memory, and pain in the human body as control biological system that maintains the balance of the body. Perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health is an endogenous cannabinoid that contains endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins found throughout the body. i.e. the brain, organs, tissues, glands, and body cells.
The Cannabinoid system performs different functions in each tissue, but the purpose remains the same which is homeostasis. The Endocannabinoid system affects all body processes to some degree.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was identified and separated for the first time in 1964, by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the goddess of cannabis research. THC is historically known for its psychoactive properties.
Mechoulam classified cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychotropic cannabinoid with antioxidant and neuroprotectant properties. These cannabinoids are called Phytocannabinoids because they occur naturally in plants. Being able to differentiate these Phytocannabinoids for the first time was a critical step in the acquisition of the endocannabinoid system.
Mechoulam said using a plant that has been around us for thousands of years, we have discovered a very important new physiological system. We would not be able to get there if we did not look at this plant.
These findings led to an explosion of research examining the endocannabinoid system. The system has been implicated in many physical functions and we now have valuable information about therapeutic drugs, biochemistry, and clinical effects of endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids have been found to play a role in the pathogenesis of many diseases and are believed to play a protective role in many medical conditions. Diseases such as emesis, pain, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, anorexia, epilepsy, glaucoma, schizophrenia, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity, autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s and Tourette’s disease can be treated with drugs that regulate the endocannabinoid system
Experts are still trying to fully understand ECS. But as much as we know it is regulating various activities and processes, including:
- heart condition
ECS is present and active in your body whether you use cannabis or not. ECS contains three key components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
In 1990, the first time the endocannabinoid system was defined by a molecular biologist, Lisa Matsuda, and her colleagues at the National Institute of Mental Health, they found THC-sensitive receptors in the brains of lab rats.
Shortly afterward, Matsuda’s study led to the discovery of two endocannabinoids:
- Anandamide (AEA)
- rachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body by the brain. These endocannabinoids bind cannabinoid receptors to target cells throughout the body, triggering an enlarged or reduced cellular response as metabolic enzymes that destroy or produce more endocannabinoids. This work produces a variety of effects ranging from anti-inflammatory responses to pleasure.
These receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to these receptors to indicate that ECS needs to do something.
There are two main endocannabinoid particles:
CB1 receptors are abundant in the central nervous system (CNS), especially the cortex, basal ganglia, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Most of the CB1 receptors are present in axon terminals and pre-axon segments.
CB2 receptors are more abundant in the nervous system, especially CB2 receptor cells are expressed at much lower levels in the CNS as compared to CB1. This receptor is mainly found in microglia and vascular structures.
Endocannabinoids can bind to any receptor. The resultant effect depends on the receptor site and where the endocannabinoid binds.
For example, endocannabinoids can target CB1 receptors in the spinal cord for pain relief. Sometimes bind to the CB2 receptor cells to indicate that your body is experiencing inflammation, a common symptom of autoimmune disorders.
Enzymes are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids once they have done their job.
There are two enzymes involved in this:
- fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA
- monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which is usually reduced by 2-AG
CBD vs THC
Cannabis (Marijuana or Hemp) is a plant that makes a thick substance full of compounds called cannabinoids. There are about 500 chemicals in this plant. They trigger drug-like reactions in the body.
CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products.
THC and CBD are in both marijuana and hemp. Marijuana contains more THC than hemp, and hemp contains more CBD.
CBD and THC contain the same chemical formula of 21 carbon atoms, 30 hydrogen atoms, and two oxygen atoms. The difference lies in the arrangement of atoms. That gives CBD and THC different types of chemicals, and they affect your body differently.
Both CBD and THC work with receptors that release neurotransmitters in your brain. It can affect things like pain, emotions, sleep, and memory.
Hemp and Marijuana are derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. Official hemp should contain 0.3 percent THC or less. CBD is sold in the form of gels, gummies, oils, supplements, extracts, and more.
THC is a key compound of cannabis that produces high sensitivity. It is also found in oils, foods, mixtures, pills, and more.
Both of these compounds interact with your body’s endocannabinoid system, but they have very different effects.
Apart from their similar chemical properties, CBD and THC do not have the same effects on brain function. CBD has an active sense, not in the same way as THC. It does not produce the high yield associated with THC.
THC binds to cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors in the brain. It produces a feeling of superiority or happiness.
CBD binds strongly, in that case, to CB1 receptors. CBD requires THC binding to the CB1 receptor and, in turn, can help reduce some of the side effects of THC, such as euphoria or sedation.
CBD and THC have many of the same therapeutic benefits. They can provide relief in many similar situations. However, CBD does not cause the euphoric effects that occur with THC. Some people may choose to use CBD due to the lack of this side effect.
CBD and THC are derived from the same cannabis plant. But these two combinations have distinct features that set them apart. THC is associated with high mood or mental functioning effects, and CBD is best known for its health benefits. Before using any, be sure to consult your doctor and consider how this will affect other medications you are already taking.
People must become familiar with local laws before obtaining and using CBD or THC. All of our products are legal according to H.R. 2: The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018