What Is the Endocannabinoid System: Potential Role in Humans’ Body & Current Discoveries

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The Endocannabinoid system is the central homeostatic regulator in the human body. It influences by its nature many physiological systems of the body. Even in ancient times, this system was overlooked as a possible therapeutic target.

What is the endocannabinoid system? Even before, it was not known about the consequences of diseases of the system of the patient’s body. Still, there are incredible success stories of cannabis and hemp medicines, in particular cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiolic acid (CBDC). Is the endocannabinoid system real? The answer is obvious. Many medical scientists have turned to the endocannabinoid system and its functioning.

Over the years, more compelling evidence has emerged to support Dr. Ethan Russo’s theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, particularly relevant to conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. Given the great number of diseases associated with endocannabinoid abnormalities, such as cancer, epilepsy, and a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, this area will be properly studied in the future.

The system interacts not only with hemp compounds but a wide range of other natural compounds. CBD is still considered a key compound as having shown the highest efficiency to date. Its therapeutic value is growing day by day. CBD studies have highlighted a myriad of potential pharmacological uses. The exact mechanism of action of these compounds remains a mystery. Yet their pharmacological characteristics provide information on how they work.

How the Endocannabinoid System Works?

CBDA is an acidic antecedent to CBD components. Its extension is initiated by heating that removes the carboxyl group from the CBD. What does the endocannabinoid system do? The interaction of CBDC with the endocannabinoid system is rather restrained. Thus, its healing properties are sometimes excused. CBDA acts on many receptors which are extremely important for various ailments.

It implies the current system provides the necessary properties for overcoming some pain sensations arising from a variety of conditions and usually induces action at certain receptors. CBDC comprises some similarities to other receptors of the endocannabinoid system. It inhibits key inflammatory mediators including  COX-1 and COX-2. Its action on COX-1 is important as this enzyme holds promise for overcoming illnesses. COX-2 is an enzyme effective for inflammatory processes in the human body. Restraint of the enzyme helps manage disease symptoms.

Inhibiting these enzymes can have the same effects as separate medications with a related action including acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin), naproxen, ibuprofen, or tolmetin. How does the endocannabinoid system work? The pharmacological action of CBD is quite uncommon. It exerts a rather insignificant effect on CB1 and CB2 receptors. Still, it blocks the actions of compounds that stimulate the receptors like THC. The following characteristic of CBD is necessary as it suppresses THC psychoactivity. It is beneficial for those using THC to treat diseases accompanied by pain and spasticity. Diminishing psychoactivity reduces the side effects of THC along with medicinal cannabis. This balance is regulated by injecting CBD along with THC. 

The enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is responsible for the intracellular degeneration of anandamide. Therefore, CBD has been shown to hinder this enzyme. CBD reconstructs anandamide levels, restoring the clinical endocannabinoid insufficiency seen in various conditions. A clinical study done with CBD for the treatment of schizophrenia found that it resulted in a meaningful raise in serum anandamide levels. It has been considered to be the beginning of the marked clinical progression. 

The therapeutic research has shown that CBD and CBDA work in combination. This is particularly noticeable with common diseases such as epilepsy. The combination of compounds is required as conditions often cause inappropriate regulation of the physiological systems of the body. Scientists investigated the pathophysiology of those diseases. They have highlighted some points from the obtained results. They additionally found out which disease mechanisms are more active. Furthermore, CBD and CBDA have ridiculous healing properties as they complement each other.

Acidic cannabinoids such as CBDA are able to enhance the absorption and metabolism of CBD as well as other phytocannabinoids. Administering CBD with CBD reduces the amount of CBD needed to achieve the same level of efficiency.

When Was Endocannabinoid System Discovered?

The endocannabinoid system was discovered back in the 1940s. In the 1980s, US President Ronald Reagan was trying to scientifically substantiate the harmful effects of marijuana on the human brain. He allocated tens of millions of dollars to the researchers. Scientists were not able to identify any facts confirming the statement of the head of the White House. The Reagan administration then funded an additional investigation.

Ironically, in 1988, they led researchers to the discovery of the first endocannabinoid receptor. An endocannabinoid system discovery along with endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) investigation led to the discovery of metabolic enzymes. Moreover, enzymes interact with the other specific human receptors. Such a discovery prompted the search for molecules that connect with them and also their ligands.

A cannabinoid ligand anandamide was found in 1992, and 2-AG (2-arachidonoylglycerol) was discovered three years later. Today, doctors state that anandamide and 2-AG are the main agents of the endocannabinoid system. Such noticeable neurotransmitters interact with their corresponding receptors in the patient’s body performing various functions. Anandamide and 2-AG are termed “endocannabinoid”. The following compounds are formed and localized in the human body extracted to phytocannabinoids from a plant.

Who Discovered Endocannabinoid System?

American chemist Roger Adams isolated the first cannabinoid as “cannabidiol” (CBD). Decades later, an Israeli investigator under the name Raphael Mechulam separated tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). He later determined that THC provokes psychotropic effects of cannabis, while CBD does not produce any euphoric or psychotropic effects. These observations played a principal role in endocannabinoid system discovery. Still, its influence was not well understood for many years.

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