The Endocannabinoid System in Humans

Picture was taken from Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand which is a Registered charity. 

In this article, I am going to take you through The Endocannabinoid System in Humans and how it works in with all the other systems in the human body.

The Endocannabinoid System uses Cannabinoids that are made in our body and finds cannabinoid receptors in the body.  These receptors will only receive cannabinoids (like CBD and THC).  This is why CBD can be so effective on the health of our bodies.  Read more

Below is a video of “Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., who is considered “the father of cannabis research,” he will present the inaugural Mechoulam Lecture, which will commemorate the groundbreaking discoveries that have made contemporary cannabis science possible” (Institute of Cannabis Research Published May 2017

How does the ECS integrate systems within our body?

Nervous System

The Nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord and all nerves in our bodies. Certain sensations and stimuli are registered by the nerves, the nerves send that information to the brain and it decides how to react. The Nervous system also controls some of our vital functions, like breathing, heart rate, and digestion. Deduction, reasoning, and memory are also affected by the nervous system.

The ECS works with the Nervous System to make sure it doesn’t let us experience over stimulation or exhaustion, by helping us to stay calm, but alert and ready to deal with challenges and any things arising in everyday life.

The Nervous system has two neurotransmitters, one for excitement (Glutamate) and one to keep your nervous system calm (GABA).

Glutamate – When you have too much glutamate in your system, you feel anxious, rushed and out of control. Extreme levels of glutamate have been seen in diseases such as Autism, ALS, Parkinson’s, schizophrenia, migraines, restless leg syndrome, Tourette’s, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy.

Gaba – When Gaba levels are too low, you will find you have trouble relaxing or calming down, you can feel anxious, have panic attacks, become aggressive and unsociable.

The ECS has the job of delicately balancing the Glutamate and Gaba in your Nervous System.


Cardiovascular System

As most of us know, this system is the heart, blood and blood vessels.

The heart pumps blood through blood vessels and around our body transporting oxygen and removing waste. Cannabinoid receptors are found in the muscle tissue of the heart.  These receptors cause Vasodilation to happen and this results in a decrease in blood pressure, they can also weaken the force of heart contractions, giving the same results in reducing blood pressure

The ECS plays a vital role in controlling heart rate and blood pressure.


The Gut

Have you ever had a “Gut Feeling” about something? I am sure we all have.

This is a real thing. Did you know that apart from the brain, your gut has the next highest concentration of neurons in the body? Your spinal Cord is linked to these neurons, which is why “certain feelings give you that gut feeling”. Amazing stuff.


New studies about whether there is a link between microbiome in your gut, mental state, and the ECS, suggest there is a critical link that needs to be explored further.

They believe that by taking a gut biome from someone with good mental health and putting it into a person with low mental health, can increase the persons’ mental health. This means that by improving the gut and a healthy microbiome, the ECS will be able to improve mental health.

There are Endocannabinoid receptors all throughout your gut and digestive system.

The ECS helps to control the desire to eat and to regulate metabolism (metabolism is the ability of your body to break down calories and move food through your digestive tract).

Different cannabinoids can stimulate it like CBD and THC or they can suppress it like THCV (THCV, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, is a compound in cannabis that offers a unique array of effects and medical benefits that sets it apart from other cannabinoids like THC and CBD).

When your ECS is running right, your gut will use food to its benefit and more efficiently, making you feel on top of the world.

Endocrine System

Did you know that the Endocrine System not only regulates your blood sugar it also keeps watch of your energy levels and your libido? Well, it also controls our hormones.

These hormones help with many functions in our bodies, such as growth, repairing cells, reproduction, metabolism, sexual development, mood, sexual function, and stress responses.

There are two hormones, Oxytocin, and Vasopressin that are vital to the functioning of the Endocrine System in the Brain, the ECS has a huge role in creating these hormones!

The ECS plays a huge role in ensuring that the right amount of hormones are being released at the right time and at the right amount, it will alter and change the levels to ensure homeostasis.

When the ECS gets over or under stimulated (by high or low levels of endocannabinoids) endocrine disorders such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, and other problems can take place in the endocrine system.

Immune System

When the immune system is in Homeostasis, it is balanced.

If the immune system becomes overactive, it will attack the bodies own cells causing mayhem and major health concerns (like autoimmune disorders) and when your immune system is under active it can’t fight off viruses and infections in the body.

Immune cells have cannabinoid receptors, they produce cannabinoids and break them down once used.

What’s your immunity level?

So, the best idea is to keep your immune system balanced, to do this you need the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

The ECS is entwined with the immune system and works to maintain homeostasis within it.

The ECS balances the immune system with the help of CB1 and CB2 (remember the cannabinoid receptors I mentioned before).

In the immune system, these receptors regulate our Lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell), and this is the most vital part of keeping the immune system in homeostasis.

Without ECS, our immune system would wreck havoc!

Skeletal System

The Skeletal System is composed of all our bones and cartilage, its main function is to support our body, help us to move and protect our internal organs. This system also produces blood cells.

There are Cannabinoid Receptors in the Skeletal System that keeps an eye on our bone mass, they also respond to any bone damage and tell the body when to replace skeletal cells.

The ECS is responsible for making sure our bones stay strong enough to support us, so when the ECS is balanced, we are maintaining optimal bone health. If the body cannot keep optimal bone health, Osteoporosis is caused, and if the body is overbalanced it can cause bone overgrowth disorders.

The ECS is vital in regulating and maintaining balance in our bone cell growth and health.

I hoped this has helped you to understand how essential it is that the endocannabinoid system in Humans is to create a state of optimal health.

You are welcome to take a look at MCANZ and find out more about the Medicinal Cannabis Council, which is a Registered Charity.

They have just published their first survey, and are looking to survey anybody that has used or does use Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes, I encourage you to complete the survey.

Their research will be invaluable to understanding more about CBD and THC and the benefits it has to the Endocannabinoid System.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions, we would love to hear from you.

Kind Wishes

2 thoughts on “The Endocannabinoid System in Humans”

  1. I am unsure why the New Zealand Government is pussyfooting around their decision on legalizing CBD products and decriminalising Marijuana as it seems from all the research you have done and I have and so many other Kiwis, something needs to change and NOW
    Thanks, Daisy

    • Absolutely Vicki. Thank you for your passionate comment and for reading our article.
      Change will happen, watch this space.

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