The Endocannabinoid System

We all have one. But why does it matter? 

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), is a network of receptors all throughout your body. And these receptors check on what’s happening around them to help your body adjust. In fact, the ECS helps us maintain homeostasis, regulating different systems like sleep, inflammation, pain, memory, mood and appetite.

But back to the receptors in the Endocannabinoid System – there's two major types. And these receptors bind to cannabinoids – compounds naturally found in our brains and bodies...and in the cannabis plant.

2 Major Types of Receptors in the ECS

CB1: These receptors are located throughout the brain and central nervous system.And they interact with and activate THC, the part of the cannabis plant that gives us psychoactive effects. Psychoactive might seem like a scary word, but it literally means “acting on the mind.” So, caffeine = also a psychoactive. 

CB2: These receptors are usually located in our organs and tissues associated with the immune system. Examples include tonsils, thymus, lymph nodes, spleen, and white-blood-cell-making bone marrow. 

So how do cannabinoids help us?

While the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our ECS listen to what’s going on in our bodies, the cannabinoids talk, giving our ECS information that gets the body get back to balance (homeostasis) and well-being (immune-system regulation.)

THC and CBD are two of the most well-known cannabinoids found in cannabis. They’ve helped patients suffering from pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, inflammation, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease, cancer and more. 

The Most Common Cannabinoids

Psychoactive

Compounds that “act on the mind,” like caffeine, for example.

THC
  • Combats insomnia 
  • Eases nausea
  • Stimulates appetite 
  • Creates an uplifting, euphoric feeling
  • May lessen tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease
  • Has been reported to relieve pain from a variety of symptoms including HIV, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and more
  • Binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brains 
  • The most well-known and prevalent cannabinoid in the plant
CBN
  • Acts as an antibacterial and anti-convulsant 
  • Can be used effectively as a sleep aid or sedative
  • Creates a milder uplifting, euphoric feeling 
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, seizures, Crohn’s disease, chronic post-operative pain, eye pressure and more
  • May help regulate the immune system
THCV
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with PTSD, Parkinson’s disease, seizures, Alzheimer’s disease and more
  • May offer stress relief and help reduce or prevent anxiety or panic attacks 
  • May help repair the nervous system
  • Creates a motivated and euphoric, yet alert feeling for daytime use
  • Suppresses appetite
  • May increase the strength and onset of THC’s psychoactive effects

Non-Psychoactive

Not producing an effect on the mind or mental processes, such as changes in perception or behavior.

CBDV
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with seizures, Crohn’s disease, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and more 
  • Has been shown to help reduce inflammation throughout the body 
  • Possibly beneficial in the treatment of pain, nausea, seizures and mood disorders
  • CBD
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with cancer, seizures, PTSD, inflammation, pain and more
  • Gives patients a calming effect, without the euphoric, uplifting effects of THC
  • Has shown to help decrease the severity and frequency of seizures and
    spasms in some patients
CBC
  • Acts as an antibacterial/antifungal 
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease neuropathy, chronic post-operative pain and more
  • May encourage the human brain to grow by increasing survival odds of new brain cells
CBG
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with glaucoma, cancer, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome 
  • Has been known to relieve eye pressure in some people
  • May help fight inflammation, pain and nausea
THCA
  • Helps relieve symptoms for patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Parkinson’s disease 
  • Helps relieve pain and inflammation 
  • Stimulates appetite

What’s all this talk about terpenes? 

They give lemons their bright, citrus scent. And they give pine trees their deep, fresh aroma, too. That’s because terpenes are found in the oils of every plant, including cannabis. Different terpenes give different strains of the cannabis plant their own scents, flavors, colors, and even their therapeutic abilities. They can help us sleep, relax our muscles, elevate our moods and more.

Scientifically speaking, terpenes are naturally occurring compounds found in our bodies, in nature and in the cannabis plant. 

Just like cannabinoids (THC, CBD, etc.), terpenes:

  • bind to the same receptors throughout our brains and bodies
  • form in the same trichomes (small crystals on the surface of cannabis plants)

And when certain cannabinoids and terpenes interact together in our bodies, they create what we call The Entourage Effect. Together, they give us greater physical and psychological effects than what one of them alone could provide. The positive results can be felt when treating pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, cancer and much more.

COMMON TERPENES FOUND IN CANNABIS

Limonene 

This terpene contains the same chemical that gives lemons, limes and oranges their recognizable citrus scent. Limonene acts as both an anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative. AKA: They may have an effect on reducing or preventing the spread of cells...perhaps even cancer cells.

Benefits

  • Stress relief
  • Elevates mood
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Aids digestion
  • Acid reflux relief 

Aromas

  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Lime
  • Mint
  • Juniper

Also found in

  • Fruit rinds
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
Linalool

If you enjoy the smell of lavender, then you’ve enjoyed linalool. This terpene also gives off floral and spicy notes. It helps us sleep, it could be an effective anti-depressant, and it’s been used for hundreds of years. 

Benefits

  • Anti-anxiety 
  • Stress relief 
  • Anti-convulsant 
  • Anti-depressant
  • Muscle relaxant 

Aromas

  • Floral
  • Spicy
  • Woody 
  • Some citrus 
  • Birch
  • Lavender 
  • Rosewood
  • Laurels 
  • Coriander 

Also found in 

  • Lavender 
Myrcene

What do mangoes, hoppy beer, and pizza topped with fresh basil have in common? They all give off myrcene, in the same way that many strains of cannabis do. Myrcene, which produces gorgeously earthy, fruity and spicy aromas, is thought to offer sedative and anti-inflammatory benefits, while acting as a strong pain reliever.

  • Benefits
  • Antiseptic
  • Analgesic 
  • Anti-microbial
  • Antioxidant 
  • Anti-carcinogen 
  • Muscle relaxant 

Aromas

  • Earthy
  • Spicy balsamic 
  • Basil
  • Clove
  • Mango
  • Lemongrass 

Also found in

  • Mango 
  • Lemongrass
  • Hops 
Pinene

If you go for a hike in the mountains, stop and take a deep breath while standing among the pine trees. Notice how you breathe a little easier? That’s because of the pinene in the air. Fun fact: This powerful terpene can also give off notes of rosemary and dill.

Important fact: It can help improve airflow to the lungs and make you feel super alert and alive. 

Benefits

  • Bronchodilator (helps improve airflow to lungs)
  • Anti-inflammatory 
  • Topical antiseptic 
  • Promotes alertness
  • Analgesic 
  • Anti-convulsant 

Aromas

  • Alpha
  • Pine 
  • Rosemary
  • Olive
  • Sassafras 
  • Bergamot
  • Beta 
  • Hops 
  • Dill
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Cumin 

Also found in

  • Pine needles 
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Turpentine 
  • Conifer trees
  • Orange peels