What is Endocannabinoid System and How Do CBD and THC Affect It?

What is Endocannabinoid System and How Do CBD and THC Affect It?

Oct 18th 2022

A few years back, most of us did not know what the endocannabinoid system was. After the research proved CBD and THC effective to treat and manage health conditions and the legalization of these compounds; we want to discover the endocannabinoids system.

So, without further do, let’s take a look at what it is and how CBD and THC affect it to improve our health.

What is Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The endocannabinoid system is a cell-signaling system in your body. It was identified back in the 1990s when researchers were exploring THC. THC is one of the well-known cannabinoids (compounds) found in the cannabis plant.

The researchers are constantly working to determine the exact results and efficacy of the endocannabinoid system. However, it is known that it plays a significant role in regulating various functions of your body. It includes sleep, stress, anxiety, inflammation, appetite, and fertility.

Please note that the endocannabinoid system exists in your body by default and is active even if you don’t consume CBD, THC, or any cannabinoid.

How does Endocannabinoid System work?

The endocannabinoid system consists of three major components:

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors
  • Enzymes


Endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body and are also known as endogenous cannabinoids. They are similar to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant but, they are produced by your body.

However, researchers have identified two primary endocannabinoids:

  • anandamide (AEA)
  • 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

These endocannabinoids are produced by your body as needed and play a vital role in running internal functions smoothly.

Endocannabinoids Receptors

Your has receptors, the endocannabinoids bind to them to give them signals that the endocannabinoid system needs them to take action.

The main receptors are such as CB1, found in the central nervous system mostly, and CB2, present in your peripheral nervous system mostly, especially in the immune cells.


Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids after they have completed their function. There are two enzymes, fatty acid amide hydrolase (breaks down AEA), and monoacylglycerol acid lipase (breaks down 2-AG).

Functions of the Endocannabinoid System

Well, most of us often wonder, why we have cannabinoid receptors, the answer to this question is that these receptors help the endocannabinoid system to regulate various functions of our body and keep us healthy

Researchers found that the endocannabinoid system regulates these processes:

  • Appetite
  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Memory
  • Sleep
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Liver functions
  • Bone growth

How Does THC Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a cannabinoid extracted from the cannabis plant. This compound is psychoactive and makes you high. It interacts directly with your body by binding to receptors, like endocannabinoids. It has a wide range of effects on your body and mind, and some effects are more desirable than others.

THC might help you reduce your appetite and pain but it might cause anxiety and paranoia in some cases.

However, experts are constantly striving to produce synthetic THC cannabinoid that produces only beneficial results.

How Does CBD Affect the Endocannabinoid System?

CBD is the second major cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant and is not psychoactive at all so it will not make you high.

When it comes to CBD interacting with the endocannabinoid system, experts are not sure how it interacts but they know that it does not bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors like THC.

However, many researchers believe that CBD does not break down the endocannabinoids allowing them to work efficiently. On contrary, many other researchers believe that CBD interacts with receptors that are not discovered yet.

Related: New to CBD? This Complete Guide has All the Answers you Seek!

Ending Note

The Endocannabinoid system work on regulating various functions of our body and managing it by taking THC or CBD-based products will help you to reduce the intensity of your underlying health condition. Please remember that taking CBD and THC is not a medical treatment but a way to manage your condition.