Humans and many other animals have a complex cell-signaling system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating various physiological processes and maintaining the body’s internal balance, known as homeostasis.
The ECS consists of three main components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. Notable endocannabinoids include anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These endocannabinoids act as messengers, binding to cannabinoid receptors like CB1 (central nervous system) and CB2 (immune cells). The ECS manages processes like mood, memory, pain, appetite, and immune response, maintaining balance (homeostasis).
Moreover, the ECS can interact with exogenous cannabinoids from cannabis, including psychoactive THC and non-intoxicating CBD. This interaction has sparked research into medical cannabis applications for conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy, and anxiety, among others. Continuously, researchers study the ECS as a complex system to deepen our understanding of human biology and explore its potential therapeutic uses.