The Endocannabinoid System

08.04.2023 • Nicklas Olsen

The Endocannabinoid System

Introduction to the endocannabinoid system (ECS)

Today we will explore the endocannabinoid system (ECS), its discovery, functions, and how it affects our health and interacts with CBD. The ECS is super important for regulating a bunch of physiological processes, and it's crucial for our well-being.

An overview of: The Endocannabinoid System

Imagine the ECS is like a bridge between the body's immune system, communicating between cells, managing metabolism, appetite, sleep, digestion, mood, immune function, reproduction, and temperature control. It's named after the plant that led to its discovery: cannabis. It was actually through research on cannabinoids that scientists discovered the ECS.

Who was the first to learn about The Endocannabinoid System

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) took place over several years, with multiple scientists contributing to its identification and understanding. Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam played a significant role in the discovery process. In 1964, Mechoulam and his colleagues identified and isolated THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis. This groundbreaking research laid the foundation for further exploration of cannabinoids and their effects on the human body.

The first cannabinoid receptor, CB1, was discovered in the late 1980s by researchers Allyn Howlett and William Devane. They identified the receptor in rat brain tissue and found that it had a high affinity for THC. In 1993, the CB2 receptor was discovered, primarily in immune cells and peripheral tissues.

The first endocannabinoid, anandamide, was discovered in 1992 by Mechoulam, William Devane, and Dr. Lumír Hanuš. The discovery of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), another endocannabinoid, followed in 1995. This established the endocannabinoid system as an essential part of human physiology.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

To get how the ECS works, you gotta know its components, which include enzymes, receptor sites, and endocannabinoids. Enzymes create and break down cannabinoids, while receptor sites on cells receive them. Main receptors are CB1 and CB2. Endocannabinoids are naturally produced in the body and are similar to cannabinoids found in cannabis.

The ECS helps maintain balance in the body's different systems, which is called homeostasis. This balance ensures that the body functions optimally under various conditions.

ECS and CBD Interaction

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis. It's popular as a natural supplement since it can have many beneficial effects on the body. CBD interacts with the ECS, but its mechanism of action is different from THC.

CBD has a low affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors and mainly affects other components in the ECS, like enzymes and non-cannabinoid receptors. One well-known mechanism is that CBD inhibits the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase), which usually breaks down anandamide. This leads to increased levels of anandamide in the body, potentially improving mood, sleep, and pain relief.

Studies indicate that ECS can interact with other receptors in the body, such as the famous serotonin and the less known vanilloid receptors, which may explain some of the additional beneficial effects that people have been reported with the use of CBD.

We have CB1 & CB2 receptors in our body:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord
  • Fat cells
  • Liver
  • Pancreas
  • Skeletal muscles
  • Intestinal tract
  • Reproductive system

CB2 receptors are found in the following locations:

  • Immune cells
  • Intestinal tract
  • Liver
  • Fat cells
  • Bones
  • Reproductive system
CBD oil (10% / 1000mg CBD)

The Importance of the Endocannabinoid System for Health

The Importance of the Endocannabinoid System for Health Research shows that the ECS plays a huge role in maintaining our body's balance and health. Issues with the ECS can lead to various health problems like chronic pain, neurological disorders, inflammatory conditions, and immune function problems.

We as humans are still in the initial phase to learn how ECS works and therefore, we have a lot to learn about cannabinoids before we can know the true potential to treat different disorders. In the future, hopefully a better understanding of the ECS and cannabinoids like CBD could lead to new and more effective treatments for a range of diseases and conditions.

Potential pain relief without side effects:

The ECS is assumed to be involved in managing pain signals and the experience of pain. Regulating the ECS might potentially help relieve chronic pain, reduce inflammation, and improve pain management.

Likely stress and anxiety reduction:

The ECS is believed to play a role in regulating stress responses and maintaining emotional balance A well-regulated ECS could potentially help reduce anxiety, lower stress levels, and improve mood stability.

Potential for improved sleep quality:

The ECS is suggested to help our sleep cycle and promote a healthy sleep pattern. In some studies people reported better night sleep, which can be promising in treating insomnia, and reducing sleep disturbances in general.

Maybe better resistance against getting sick:

The ECS is thought to play a role in regulating the immune system, and a well-balanced endocannabinoid system might possibly help maintain a strong immune response, reduce the risk of infections, and improve overall health.

Possible appetite regulation and effect on metabolism:

The ECS is believed to be involved in the regulation of appetite and metabolism. A balanced ECS might potentially help maintain a healthy body weight, prevent obesity, and improve metabolic health.

A hope for people with neurodegenerative diseases:

Cannabis studies related to neurodegenerative conditions are on the rise as the world searches for potentially helping natural remedies for age related cognitive decline, as for an example Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Potential hearth health benefits:

Heart health is very important and therefore studies of the ECS and the relation to cardiovascular function, such as blood pressure regulation and inflammation is being done. The hypothesis is a well-regulated ECS might possibly help promote heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Potential for improved gut bio:

Our guts are important. Millions of bacterias live and control our inner wellbeing. The ECS is believed to be involved in functions as  motility, inflammation and gut-brain communication. We might see cannabinoids used for improving digestive health, reduce inflammation in the gut, and alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other gastrointestinal disorders.

It is important to know that above potential benefits are based on current research and understanding, it is safe to say that further studies are required to confirm and learn more about these findings.


The endocannabinoid system is a vital and complex system in our bodies that is assumed to play a key role in keeping us healthy. Research on the ECS and its interactions with cannabinoids like CBD keeps on expanding our understanding and opening up new possibilities for therapeutic interventions.

Important info: 

This article is an individual's personal opinion, not an official position of Raw Organics. Raw Organics CBD products aren't intended to diagnose, treat, or cure diseases. If you need that, seek medical help. Their CBD Oils are cosmetic products for external use.

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