What Is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

What Is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

You may have heard of cannabinoids like CBD and THC, but have you heard of the endocannabinoid system? 

What is the endocannabinoid system?

You don’t need to have smoked weed to have an endocannabinoid system; we all have one! The endocannabinoid system refers to a complex cell signaling system in our bodies made up of receptors, enzymes, and a type of compound called endocannabinoids. 

What does the endocannabinoid system do?

While cannabinoids do play a part in the endocannabinoid system, that’s not all it’s there for. The endocannabinoid system plays an essential role in many different systems. While more research is needed to understand the effects and reach of the endocannabinoid system fully, it has been shown to modulate:

  • Pain (1)
  • Obesity (2)
  • Fertility (3)
  • Liver function (4)
  • Sleep (5)
What are endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids play a key role in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, as the name might suggest. These tiny compounds are produced naturally in your body to induce different responses depending on the type of endocannabinoid, and the amount of it produced. 

The two main endocannabinoids are anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). 

Other endocannabinoid compounds 

As well as endocannabinoids, there are other compounds that play an essential role in the functioning of the endocannabinoid system, such as:

  • Receptors: Various endocannabinoid receptors exist across our bodies, which endocannabinoids can then bind to and exert their various effects.
  • Enzymes: Enzymes play an important role in the management of the endocannabinoid system, helping to either synthesize or break down endocannabinoids. By acting in this way, enzymes can help increase the activity of an endocannabinoid or stop the effects when no longer needed. 


The Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the statements on this website. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult your health care provider before use.

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