What does Endocannabinoids mean?
In biology, the term endocannabinoids is actually shorthand, reffering to the body’s cannabinoid receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system.
In humans and animals, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors that located throughout the body, but heavily concentrated in certain areas.
In mammals, the cannabinoid receptors, or endocannabinoids, that make up the ECS are located in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The receptors consist of neuromodulator lipids and their receptors.
The ECS is more casually known as the body’s “own” cannabinoid system; it is involved in a variety of physiological processes, including appetite, pain sensation, mood, memory, and mediating the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
The ECS is also involved in voluntary exercise and may be related to the evolution of the runner’s high in human beings and related aspects of motivation or reward for loco motor activity in other animals.
There are two primary endocannabinoid receptors that have been identified: CB1, first cloned in 1990, and CB2, first cloned in 1993. The CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues, and are the main molecular target of the endocannabinoid ligand (binding molecule), Anandamide, as well as its mimetic phytocannabinoid, THC.
One other main endocannabinoid is 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), which is active at both cannabinoid receptors, along with its own mimetic phytocannabinoid, CBD. 2-AG and CBD are involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions, and pain management.
Endocannabinoids are very important for bio-regulation. The main role of the ECS is in cell-signaling, and, since endocannabinoids are hydrophobic, their main actions are limited to paracrine (cell-to-cell) or autocrine (same cell) functions, rather than systemic effects.
This definition was written in the context of Cannabis