Some of USA consume cannabis for its psychotropic effects, whereas others seek symptom relief. however cannabis wouldn’t get USA high or have variety of its therapeutic edges if our bodies didn’t already contain a biological system capable of interacting with its active chemical compounds, like THC.
Our endocannabinoid system does just that. But it isn’t there simply to allow USA to enjoy the results of our favourite strain. It serves a vital purpose for our health and well-being because it regulates key aspects of our biology. So, what’s it doing, and how does it work?
To understand the human Endocannabinoid System 101, it’s helpful to know a little about one of the most fundamental concepts in biology: homeostasis. And the best way to understand homeostasis is to think of Goldilocks and the three bears.
Is Your Endocannabinoid System in Balance?
Homeostasis is the concept that most biological systems are actively regulated to keep up conditions within a narrow vary. Our body doesn’t want its temperature to be too hot or too cold, blood sugar levels too high or too low, and so on. Conditions got to be excellent for our cells to maintain optimum performance, and exquisite mechanisms have evolved to draw them back to the aster zone if they move out. The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vital molecular system for helping maintain homeostasis—it helps cells stay in their Goldilocks zone.
The three key components of the Endocannabinoid System 101(ECS) are:
- Cannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells
- Endocannabinoids, small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors
- Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids once they’re used
- Cannabinoid Receptors
- Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and “listen” to conditions outside the cell.
- They transmit information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell, kick-starting the appropriate cellular response.
There are 2 major cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These aren’t the sole cannabinoid receptors, however they were the first ones discovered and stay the best-studied. CB1 receptors are one of the most abundant receptor types in the brain. These are the receptors that act with thc to induce people high. CB2 receptors are more abundant outside of the nervous system, in places like the system.
Endocannabinoids are molecules that, just like the plant cannabinoid thc, bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors. However, unlike THC, endocannabinoids are produced naturally by cells in the human body (“endo” means “within,” as in within the body).
There are two major endocannabinoids: anandamide and 2-AG. These endocannabinoids are made from fat-like molecules among cell membranes, and are synthesized on-demand. this means that they get made and used exactly when they’re needed, rather than packaged and keep for later use like many other biological molecules.
The third piece of the Endocannabinoid System 101 triad includes the metabolic enzymes that quickly destroy endocannabinoids once they are used. the two huge enzymes are FAAH, that breaks down anandamide, and MAGL, that breaks down 2-AG. These enzymes ensure that endocannabinoids get used once they’re required, however not for longer than necessary. This distinguishes endocannabinoids from several other molecular signals at intervals the body, like hormones or classical neurotransmitters, which can persist for many seconds or minutes, or get packaged and stored for later use.
FAAH and MAGL are the key enzymes of the Endocannabinoid System 101 system
Enzymes are molecules that accelerate chemical reactions within the body, usually for breaking down molecules. FAAH and MAGL are key players in the ECS because they quickly break down endocannabinoids. These enzymes break down endocannabinoids very quickly, however are not effective at breaking down plant cannabinoids like THC.
The 3 key components of the ECS is found within almost every major system of the body. when something brings a cell out of its goldilocks zone, these 3 pillars of the ECS are often called upon to bring things back, therefore maintaining homeostasis. owing to its role in helping bring things back to their physiological goldilocks zone, the ECS is often engaged only and where it’s required.
With the ‘pro-homeostatic action of the ECS’ we mean that this method of chemical signals gets quickly activated following deviations from cellular equilibrium.once such deviations are non-physiological, the quickly activated ECS attempts, in a very space- and time-selective manner, to revive the previous physiological scenario.
Endocannabinoid System 101 Regulation of Brain Cell Firing
Brain cells (neurons) communicate by sending electrochemical signals to each another. Each neuron must listen to its partners to decide whether it’ll fire off its own signal at any given moment. However, neurons don’t like to get too much input—there’s a goldilocks zone. If they get full by signals, it can be toxic. That’s where endocannabinoids come in.
Endocannabinoid system regulation of brain cell firing
As the example on top of illustrates, endocannabinoids travel backwards, which is why they’re called retrograde signals. Most of the time, data flow between neurons is strictly in one direction, from “sender” neurons that release neurotransmitter signals to “receiver” neurons that hear those signals. Endocannabinoids allow receiver neurons to manage how much input they’re obtaining, and they try this by sending retrograde signals back to active sender neurons.
But the brain isn’t the only organ that needs to maintain physiological state. each alternative system of the body, from the digestive to the system, must carefully regulate however its cells are functioning. correct regulation is crucial for ensuring survival.