Three major keys of the endocannabinoid system

401, alzheimers, anti-anxiety, anxiety, Boston, buy cbd, buy cbd oil, buy cbd online, buycbd, cannabidiol, cannabinoid, cat cbd, cbd, cbd dabs, cbd factory direct, CBD for Health, cbd for pain, cbd gummies, cbd health, cbd life, cbd oil, cbd rhode island, cbd wax, chronic pain, colorado direct produce, Connecticut, dog cbd, endocannabinoid, endocannabinoid system, Experience cbd, factory direct cbd, hemmpzilla cbd shot, hemp oil, hempzilla, hempzilla cbd, hempzilla cbd cartridge, hempzilla cbd gummies, hempzilla cbd shot, hempzilla dog cbd, hempzilla gummies, Hempzilla Pet CBD, hempzilla pig cbd, hempzilla pitbull cbd, hempzilla sherbs vape, hempzilla strawburry vape, hempzilla vape, hempzilla wax, hempzillacbd, insomnia, Juul, liquid cbd, liquidcbd, Maine, mass, massachusettes, New Hampshire, pet cbd, PTSD, rhode island, the endocannabinoid system, Vermont, Zilla Pods -

Three major keys of the endocannabinoid system

Key Pieces of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

Because of its crucial role in homeostasis, the ECS is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Its key pieces evolved a long time ago, and the ECS can be found in all vertebrate species.

The three key components of the ECS are:

  • Cannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells
  • Endocannabinoids, small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors
  • Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are 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 two major cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These aren’t the only cannabinoid receptors, but they were the first ones discovered and remain the best-studied. CB1 receptors are one of the most abundant receptor types in the brain. These are the receptors that interact with THC to get people high. CB2 receptors are more abundant outside of the nervous system, in places like the immune system. However, both receptors can be found throughout the body (Figure 1).

endocannabinoid system cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 in the body
Figure 1: Where are CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the body?
The CB1 and CB2 receptors are key players in the endocannabinoid system (ECS). They are located on the surface of many different types of cells in the body. Both receptors are found throughout the body, but CB1 receptors are more abundant in the central nervous system, including on neurons in the brain. In contrast, CB2 receptors are more abundant outside of the nervous system, including cells of the immune system.

Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids are molecules that, 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 (Figure 2). These endocannabinoids are made from fat-like molecules within cell membranes, and are synthesized on-demand. This means that they get made and used exactly when they’re needed, rather than packaged and stored for later use like many other biological molecules.

Anandamide and 2-AG are the two major endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body
Figure 2: Anandamide and 2-AG are the two major endocannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are a class of molecules characterized by their ability to activate cannabinoid receptors like CB1 and CB2. Anandamide and 2-AG are the two major endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body. THC is the psychoactive plant cannabinoid produced by Cannabis. All three of these cannabinoids can activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors, although each one has a different potency at each receptor.

Metabolic Enzymes

The third piece of the endocannabinoid triad includes the metabolic enzymes that quickly destroy endocannabinoids once they are used. The two big enzymes are FAAH, which breaks down anandamide, and MAGL, which breaks down 2-AG (Figure 3). These enzymes ensure that endocannabinoids get used when they’re needed, but not for longer than necessary. This distinguishes endocannabinoids from many other molecular signals in the body, such as 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
Figure 3: FAAH and MAGL are the key enzymes of the endocannabinoid system.
Enzymes are molecules that accelerate chemical reactions in the body, often for breaking down molecules. FAAH and MAGL are key players in the ECS because they quickly break down endocannabinoids. FAAH breaks down anandamide, while MAGL breaks down 2-AG. These enzymes break down endocannabinoids very quickly, but are not effective at breaking down plant cannabinoids like THC.

The three key components of the ECS can be found within almost every major system of the body. When something brings a cell out of its Goldilocks zone, these three pillars of the ECS are often called upon to bring things back, thus maintaining homeostasis. Because of its role in helping bring things back to their physiological Goldilocks zone, the ECS is often engaged only when and where it’s needed.


Leave a comment

Tags