Discovered in the early 1990s by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the father of medical cannabis research, the endocannabinoid system forms the basis for understanding how cannabis affects our organism. The endocannabinoid system is a key regulator of various bodily functions.
There is hardly a functional process that is not influenced by it to some extent.
Despite the outstanding importance of the endocannabinoid system as a key regulatory mechanism in the biochemistry and physiology of the body, knowledge about this system is still quite limited, especially among German physicians.
This is exactly where we at canncura see a great need for education and training.
In the initial consultation, which you can conveniently carry out digitally from home, our trained doctors will not only inform you about cannabis as medicine, but also about the ECS and its tasks.
Structure of the ECS
What are cannabinoids?
Phytocannabinoids belong to the class of cannabinoids. These chemical compounds are found in the cannabis plant. They bind to the cannabinoid receptors and thus influence the release of messenger substances in the brain. The two most well-known phytocannabinoids are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Endocannabinoids (the bodys own cannabinoids) also belong to the class of cannabinoids. These are made by our body and mimic the way phytocannabinoids work. The two primary endocannabinoids are AEA (arachdionylethanolamine), also called anandamide after the Sanskrit word for “bliss”, and 2-AG (2-arachidonylglycerol).
The role of endocannabinoids is to maintain homeostasis (balance). They ensure that our cells communicate with each other effectively, but not excessively.
There are two main receptors in the ECS – CB1 and CB2.
A receptor can be thought of as a lock to which a corresponding substance fits like a key (if it has the right structure). If the key gets into the lock, further chemical processes take place inside the cell.
CB1 receptors are predominant in the central nervous system, where they curb excessive transmission of messenger substances. As soon as nerve cells release an excessive amount of chemical messengers, the endocannabinoids act as a kind of brake to ensure a balance.
CB2 receptors are distributed throughout the body, particularly in the cells of the immune system and gastrointestinal tract.
Endocannabinoids activate CB2 receptors located on cell membranes. Once activated, CB2 receptors trigger numerous immune-altering effects that depend on the type of cell and its environment. The activation of CB2 receptors leads to a reduction in the release of inflammatory messengers (cytokines). This has positive clinical implications.
The ECS is largely under enzymatic control. The level of endocannabinoids is determined by the balance between making enzymes and breaking them down. They ensure that the endocannabinoids are used when they are needed.
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