In this video animation, you will learn about the role of phytocannabinoids in the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is a biological system that plays diverse roles in regulating various aspects of health. ECS actions on the central and peripheral nervous systems are numerous, such as helping to moderate stress responses and pain sensations, supporting mood and memory, and performing immunomodulatory functions like reducing inflammation, to name a few.
The ECS was discovered in the 1990s by researchers studying bioactive compounds in the cannabis plant. The ECS is comprised of signaling molecules called endogenous cannabinoids or “endocannabinoids.” Certain plants, such as hemp, produce cannabinoids known as phytocannabinoids, that can interact directly with ECS receptors and inhibit the enzymes involved in breaking down the body’s own endocannabinoids, thus making them bioavailable longer.
Over 80 different phytocannabinoids have been identified, with cannabidiol, or “CBD,” being the best known. In the cannabis plant, other phytocannabinoids have specific and complementary properties and work together with other plant bioactive components, such as terpenes, which exert unique therapeutic effects. This is known as the “entourage effect.” There is an increasing body of research on the ECS and phytocannabinoids, with enormous opportunity for more discoveries related to human physiology.