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What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

Published On:
June 14, 2023

Read time:
4 Minutes

A scientist using a magnifying glass to look at a cannabis plant

So, you’ve just had a relaxing session with a pre-roll you picked up from your nearest TNCC dispensary, and you’re enjoying a sense of tranquility and well-being. Have you ever wondered why cannabis affects you the way it does? Well, it all comes down to a fascinating system within your body known as the endocannabinoid system.

You might be thinking, “Endocanna-what?” Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short, is like your body’s very own cannabis command centre. It’s a remarkable network of receptors and chemicals that play a crucial role in keeping your body balanced and happy!

These “endogenous cannabinoids” or “endocannabinoids” are found in our brains, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. They’re very similar to the cannabinoids found in cannabis; it’s just that these molecules are naturally produced by our bodies.

If you’re curious to explore the inner workings of this magical system and how it interacts with cannabis, you’re in the right place. By the end, you’ll have a newfound appreciation for this hidden gem that helps you find your bliss with every session!

How the Endocannabinoid System Works

Allyn Howlett and William Devane first discovered the endocannabinoid system in 1988 at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine. As it so often happens with scientific discoveries, they were studying something else at the time—THC in this case.

The endocannabinoid system is still relatively new compared to our other biological systems, however, current research suggests it is involved in learning and memory. It’s also thought to be connected to hunger, although that connection is much less conclusive. However, given the known hunger-related effects associated with consuming cannabis (a.k.a munchies) there has to be something meaningful to this association, right?

 A cannabis cultivator explaining the function of the plant to a researcher

Controls Various Functions and Processes

As mentioned earlier, the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in plenty of our body’s functions that contribute to homeostasis, also known as the stability of our internal environment. Basically, it’s the largest receptor system and the master regulator of homeostasis in the human body linked to:

The System’s Core Components

Endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes all work together as the core components of this biological system.

Endocannabinoids, which are molecules produced by the body, bind to receptors in the body and brain to produce various effects. Meanwhile, enzymes break down endocannabinoids after they have been used, allowing the system to regulate itself.

Let’s break these steps down in further detail:


“Endo” refers to “within,” and therefore, it means the “cannabinoids within.” Studies show the body produces two types of endocannabinoids or lipid-based neurotransmitters:

Endocannabinoid receptors

Found all throughout the body, these receptors are what endocannabinoids bind to in order to signal that action needs to be taken. Endocannabinoids and receptors are thought to bind together when a system in the body is out of balance.

The two known endocannabinoid receptors include:


This component of the endocannabinoid system is responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids after they’ve carried out their particular function.

They’ve been identified as the following:

 a trippy yellow and red hued image of a woman turning away from the camera

The Endocannabinoid System and Cannabis

If you’re a consumer of cannabis, then you’re probably familiar with the two major cannabinoids found in THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).

THC is the compound known for bringing about that feeling of being “high.” It interacts with the endocannabinoid system by binding with the CB1 to CB2 receptors, which enables it to have effects on your mind and body.

On the other hand, CBD doesn’t bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors, nor can it make you high. While scientists aren’t exactly sure how it interacts with the endocannabinoid system, it’s believed that it actually prevents endocannabinoids from being broken down. This enables them to have a more significant effect on your body rather than your mind.

So, why does this all matter?

Well, in understanding the endocannabinoid system, you can better understand how and why weed does what it does. The human body is incredibly complex, but, as science continues to show us, most of what happens inside it can be explained.

Now, rather than just looking at a label and shrugging your shoulders when you see a strain contains THC and CBD, you can buy with confidence knowing how it works. And, let’s be honest—learning new things about your favourite herb is fun and a little trippy, right?

Treat Your Endocannabinoids to High-Quality Cannabis

As your trusted neighbourhood dispensary, we hope this journey into the fascinating world of the endocannabinoid system has left you feeling empowered and enlightened. Just like our carefully curated cannabis products, the ECS plays a vital role in unlocking the potential for well-being within your body.

At True North Cannabis Co., we believe that knowledge is the key to making informed choices. As you explore our wide selection of premium cannabis products, you can now appreciate how cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with your ECS, creating their unique effects.

Shop online or visit your nearest TNCC location, our knowledgeable staff is here to guide you toward the perfect product to complement your desired experience. Don’t forget to sign up for our VIP program to get access to exclusive promotions and deals, straight to your inbox!

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