If you’ve ever been high, you can thank your Endocannabinoid System. Actually, if you’ve ever slept, eaten, felt pain, or had allergies, you can thank your Endocannabinoid System. Your Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, is a system within your body involved in a number of physiological functions, like sleep, pain, memory, digestion, and yes…feeling the effects of cannabis.
How it works
Though it sounds like they should only be found in cannabis, your body naturally produces cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. They’re chemical compounds that interact with receptors throughout your body, causing you to feel certain things. The cannabis plant produces hundreds of cannabinoids, but the two most studied are THC and CBD. When these cannabinoids enter your system, they interact with the receptors of your ECS to cause the effects you feel from cannabis. It’s similar to a lock and key system. The receptors are the lock, and the cannabinoids are the key. Once they’re put together, the effects are ‘unlocked.’
THC and CBD
Even though they’re both cannabinoids, THC and CBD interact differently with your ECS, which is why they don’t produce the same effects. You have CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are found throughout your body. The highest concentration of CB1 receptors are found in your central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal system. CB2 receptors are found primarily in your immune system. THC binds to your CB1 receptors, which is what causes the intoxicating effects you feel after consuming cannabis. However, CBD doesn’t bind well to CB1 or CB2 receptors, which is why you don’t feel the same effects as you would from THC.
When it all comes down to it, your ECS is pretty important. Not only for consuming cannabis, but also for your everyday life. Since your ECS is a physiological system, everyone will experience the effects of cannabis differently. That’s why it’s important to start low and go slow when it comes to cannabis consumption.