What is the purpose of the Endocannabinoid system?
The endo-cannabinoid system (ECS) is a system that was inadvertently discovered in the 1980s when researchers were investigating the harmful effects of cannabis to discredit its use. The ECS is a system that works with receptors (CB1 and CB2) for which cannabinoids are the chemical messengers. The system usually works with endogenous cannabinoids.
However, the cannabis study that led to the discovery of SEC showed that it was able to work with exogenous cannabinoids (phyto-cannabinoids, cannabinoids from plants), with a more effective and longer lasting response. So while endocannabinoids are produced only on demand and are destroyed immediately after use, exogenous cannabinoids have a much longer life span.
Thus the THC in cannabis binds to the CB1 receptors in the ECS and activates them in the same way as an endogenous cannabinoid. The effect of THC thus goes beyond the simple “high” commonly considered to be purely psychological and acts in the transmission of a number of information from the SEC.
CBD does not bind to the receptors, but blocks the THC-CB1 bond in order to limit the action of THC on the SEC. CBD has little influence on the CB2 receptor, but is an important factor in stimulating the body’s production of endocannabinoids.
The ESA is a system that acts by modulating a number of processes, including
• the transmission of pain,
• the immune response,
• metabolism etc.
Keeping these different processes in balance is called homeostasis. Homeostasis is a state of healthy balance of all processes in a body. And the SEC is the guarantor of this constant state of good functioning.
As knowledge of the endocannabinoid system is relatively recent, there are many elements or effects that are still poorly or not at all known.