Key Pieces of the Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoid molecules, and metabolic enzymes. Cannabinoid receptors are like key-holes that can be found on the surface of cells and are plentiful throughout the gut, spleen, liver, heart kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, and even the reproductive organs. Endocannabinoids are a group of 21-carbon molecules that fit and activate these cannabinoid receptors in the nervous system. Specialized metabolic enzymes then break down the endocannabinoids when they are no longer necessary or once they are used up during normal processes.
A receptors’ job in our body is to communicate and change the conditions of our cells. There are many kinds of receptors, but the two major receptors that interact with cannabinoids are labeled CB1 and CB2. These are commonly called the “cannabinoid receptors” and are the two most well-studied cannabinoid receptors.
As you can guess from the name receptors ‘receive’ something. In the case of our body, receptors are tiny areas that receive molecular compounds. These receptors are like a lock that only accepts specific keys. External compounds can influence a receptor by fitting into that lock, or by blocking or antagonizing the normal receptor process.
CB1 receptors are mostly found throughout the brain and even skin and muscle tissue and THC fits into your CB1 receptor like a glove. In the neuro-tissue there is a high concentration of CB1 receptors, that combined with THC’s fit, likely contributes to the psychotropic effects (the “high”). There are hardly any CB1 receptors in the brainstem (responsible for core functions like breathing and heart rate). This information supports the reason why no deaths have been attributed to a THC overdose.
CBD only loosely fits into your CB1 receptor and alters how other cannabinoids fit into the receptor. Because of the partial fit in the CB1 receptor, CBD can have a dampening effect on THC, lowing the intoxication sensation and without contributing to the high.
CB2 receptors are found mostly outside of the nervous system, including the immune system and gastrointestinal tract. Stimulation of the CB2 receptor is not associated with psychoactive effects because of its location and has become a point of focus of anti-inflammation and anti-cancer studies.
Cannabis and the Human Body
When you consume cannabis, the cannabinoid THC from the plant fits into the CB1 receptors in the brain and creates a high. One of your own endocannabinoids, anandamide, typically attaches to the same receptor. THC and anandamide are very similar in structure, but anandamide does not intoxicate like THC. Anandamide is called the “bliss” cannabinoid. It plays a role in the neuro generation of motivation and pleasure, and is thought to cause runner’s high, among other regulatory functions.
Remember the metabolic enzymes involved in the ECS that are responsible for clearing out cannabinoids? One of those enzymes (FAAH enzyme) breaks down anandamide, but it can’t break down THC, which may disrupt anandamide processes. CBD, on the other hand, stops the FAAH enzyme from breaking down anandamide, which is why CBD is being studied as an anxiety combater.
Hemp, which is very low in THC and high in CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, has the potential to influence many parts of our body through the endocannabinoid system.
Here at Cannadips, our goal is to make an outstanding product from hemp, that tastes great and makes these compounds highly available to your body. Cannadips CBD is a totally unique alternative to other CBD options out there. Check out our product line — we think you’ll find something good.