The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a biological system found in ALL vertebrates. This system is comprised of neurotransmitters and receptors that fit together like a lock and key. The purpose of the ECS is to maintain the body’s “balance”, or as we clinicians call “homeostasis”. The neurotransmitters involved in the ECS are similar in structure to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Our bodies naturally produce cannabinoid-like compounds. They are called ANANDAMIDE and 2-AG.
The receptors that these compounds fit into like a lock-and-key are distributed throughout our bodies:
CB1 Receptors are primarily found in the Brain, Spinal Cord, and Central Nervous System
CB2 Receptors are primarily found in the Peripheral Organs and Immune Cells.
In fact, human’s initial exposure to these natural endocannabinoids occur during breast-feeding, as mother’s breast milk has the compound 2-AG. As with any biological system, there can be defects acquired, either at birth or over one’s lifetime.
There is a growing body of data showing that defects within the ECS can play a role in many disease processes. That is why supplementation with plant-based (phyto) cannabinoids, administered via different delivery methods, have been shown to provide relief for many patients with various medical conditions.