The endocannabinoid system is a fascinating discovery and relatively new in the field of medical research. It all began with the first discovery of cannabinoids in 1964 by Dr Raphael Mechoulam. A professor at Hebrew University in Israel, Mechoulam was the first person to successfully isolate cannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
It was not until 1992 that Dr Mechoulam and his team discovered a naturally occurring cannabinoid produced within our body. They called this cannabinoid Anandamide (meaning bliss in Sanskrit) This important discovery lead Scientists to discover two primary receptor sites that interacted with this endogenous (inside the body) cannabinoid, CB1 and CB2. They named this system in the body from the initial discoveries of the cannabis plant over 30 years prior. They called it the Endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid system is comprised of receptor sites and our own cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). This system is widespread, found in the brain, organs, glands, connective tissue and immune cells. The endocannabinoid system plays an important regulatory function in many physiological roles including sleep, appetite, pain sensation, stress response, mood and memory.
The CB1 and CB2 receptors help regulate hormone and neuro-hormone activity. They serve to ‘excite’ or ‘inhibit’ depending on what is needed in the system overall. A wonderful protective and regulatory system that can keep your body in perfect balance.
So you can see how important a discovery the endocannabinoid system is to modern medical research. The interaction of cannabinoids at receptor sites help regulate every physiological system. Creating homeostasis in the body (balance) working within the digestive system, nervous system, immune system, endocrine system and muscular system.
In general, there are three types of cannabinoids:
Endocannabinoids – those produced by the body
Phytocannabinoids – produced by plants such as CBD
Synthetic cannabinoids – engineered in a lab
All three types of cannabinoid interact with our receptor sites keeping our bodies in balance.
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