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The human body produces its own cannabinoids

Kelleen Peters

The human body produces its own cannabinoids

The human body produces its own cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are not only found in the cannabis plant but are also naturally produced within the human body. The human body has what is called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which consists of receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes that are involved in various physiological processes. The two primary types of receptors in the ECS are known as CB1 and CB2 receptors.

  • CB1 Receptors: CB1 receptors are primarily found in the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. These receptors play a key role in regulating functions such as pain perception, mood, appetite, and memory.

  • CB2 Receptors: CB2 receptors are predominantly located in the peripheral nervous system, including immune cells. They are involved in immune system function, inflammation, and pain regulation.

The human body produces its own cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, which interact with these receptors. The two most well-studied endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Endocannabinoids are produced as needed and act as signaling molecules, similar to neurotransmitters, to help regulate various physiological processes and maintain balance, or homeostasis, in the body.

The endocannabinoid system is involved in a wide range of functions, including:

  • Pain perception and modulation

  • Inflammation

  • Immune response

  • Mood regulation

  • Appetite control

  • Memory and learning

  • Neuroprotection

  • Cardiovascular function

  • Digestion

  • Sleep

The interaction between the body's endocannabinoids and the receptors in the ECS helps to maintain the body's internal equilibrium and respond to external stressors or changes in the environment. Some researchers believe that the manipulation of the ECS through the use of cannabinoids, whether from the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids) or synthetic sources, can have therapeutic effects by targeting the ECS to treat various medical conditions. This is the basis for the use of medical cannabis and cannabinoids in the treatment of conditions like chronic pain, epilepsy, and more.

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