Understanding the Endocannabinoid System

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a cell-signalling system found within the human body that regulates and controls many of our critical day-to-day bodily functions. Things like learning, emotional processing, sleep, mood, appetite, memory, fertility, pain control, and immune responses are examples of the many areas of our lives that the ECS impacts and helps regulate. The ECS is a deep network of naturally occurring chemical compounds (endocannabinoids), receptors, and enzymes found throughout the entire body, with the highest concentration found in the human brain.

Production of endocannabinoids within the body is influenced by immediate feedback, ramping up or slowing down production as needed to manage things like hunger, body temperature, mood, fatigue, etc. These endocannabinoids have similar molecular structures to the cannabinoids naturally found within the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids and endocannabinoids bind to the receptors throughout your body, and the enzymes break down and expel them once they’ve served their purpose.

Learn more about the endocannabinoid system in this Harvard Health article: The endocannabinoid system: Essential and mysterious.

How are cannabinoids processed?

Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system by binding with endocannabinoid receptors, just like the endocannabinoids produced naturally by your body. They are then broken down by the enzymes and processed by the body once their jobs are done. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors found within your body. CB1 receptors are found mainly within the central nervous system (brain cells, etc.), and CB2 receptors are found mainly in your peripheral nervous system (immune cells, etc.)

Endocannabinoid System

Image source: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-endocannabinoid-system-essential-and-mysterious-202108112569

Though our understanding of how cannabinoids like THC and CBD are processed by the ECS is still incomplete, recent studies spurned by the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis in jurisdictions throughout the world have helped us gain a better understanding in recent years of this remarkable system. The more we learn, the further we are able to develop cannabis products that can do a lot more than cause inebriating and euphoric effects.

Alternatives to smoking cannabis

As research continues to prove the positive health effects cannabinoids can produce within the body thanks to the ECS, more and more doors are opening to use cannabis for much more than recreational use. The more we learn, the better we can understand the benefits of specific cannabinoids (like THC, CBD, CBG, etc.) and develop processes and technologies to isolate these compounds into products that can be ingested, vaped, or used topically. (Learn more about some exciting progress in the future of ECS research here.)

Cannabis distillate products have opened a new market for people that want to experience the benefits of this remarkable plant, without wanting to start smoking or get “high”. As we dive further into the ECS, we learn more and more about how our body processes these compounds and can produce better products to treat a range of human health issues.

If you’re a hemp or cannabis cultivator, processor, or product formulator in need of high-quality cannabis distillate, we walk to talk! Our turnkey mobile labs arrive at your facility within 4-6 months and require a $0 lab CAPEX. Please contact us to learn about becoming an extractX partner.

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