Hemp CBD 101: What is the Endocannabinoid System

Hemp CBD 101: What is the Endocannabinoid System

June 19, 2019

No doubt with all the talk of hemp, cannabis in general, cannabinoids, and CBD these days nearly everyone has heard about the endocannabinoid system but do you know what it is? 

In the early days we knew that THC was a cannabinoid but did not know how it worked in the body.  In the 1990s scientists discovered molecules that had the appearance of cannabis that were produced in the body (UCLA Health) and found that there were specific receptors for these molecules in various parts of the body.   The initial discovery was made by Devane and others (Devane et al.) and they isolated anandaminde from a pig’s brain which was discovered to bind to the endocannabinoid system in the brain and mimicked THC.  Over time, discoveries have been made and cannabinoid receptors have been found in many parts of the body and are involved in numerous body processes.

Where are cannabinoid receptors located?

Cannabinoid receptors were initially discovered in the brain, but they’re been found in many other parts of the body as well; this is why the whole body sees such positive effects of cannabinoids when they’re ingested. Other organs where these receptors are found are in the bones, skin, muscles, and nearly every organ in the entire body

What is the difference in CB1 and CB2 receptors?

CB1 receptors are found throughout the body but mostly in the central nervous system and some in the peripheral nervous system.

CB2 receptors are found mostly in the peripheral nervous system and concentrated in immune cells which is why they work to reduce inflammation. (Leaf Science)

Documented effects

Research studies in this area are accelerating and we’re learning more about this system and the positive benefits it can have every day.  Some of the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids are as follows:

  • Antianxiety
  • Anticonvulsive
  • Antinausea
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-tumor properties
  • Appetite stimulant
  • Muscle relaxation

The following image is not exhaustive of all the cannabinoids (there are over 100) or all the benefits, but does show some of the benefits the cannabinoids can have on the body.


The endocannabinoid system and cannabinoids have truly been a game changer and have the potential to provide a lot of health benefits.  Studies are repeatedly showing numerous health benefits one can have from taking cannabinoids.