What Do Endocannabinoids Do?
Our bodies need endocannabinoids and the ECS to ensure an array of survival functions. You’d be surprised at how important the ECS and endocannabinoids actually are!
Endocannabinoids and the ECS regulate the body by influencing internal biochemical communication.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do Within The ECS?
Endocannabinoids, the receptors they bind to, and the essential fats that break them down are collectively called the Endocannabinoid System.
Natural compounds created in cannabis called cannabinoids, while endocannabinoids originate inside the body. Your body, and the body of all vertebrates, make endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids’ role in the ECS is to bind to receptors or otherwise influence communication processes. When foreign cannabinoids enter through cannabis use, they are similar enough to endocannabinoids to produce similar effects.
Immune cells, organs, connective tissues, glands, and the brain all contain endocannabinoid receptors. When they interact with endocannabinoids, they create the healthy inner atmosphere we need to thrive.
Let’s review each known endocannabinoid and what they do.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Anandamide
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that attaches to CB1 receptors. This receptor also accepts THC from cannabis. Since they are similar enough to share a receptor, this tells us that they cause similar effects.
Anandamide and THC both impact memory, cognition, motor skill, pain, and hunger.
Anandamide achieves antidepressant and anti-anxiety success by stimulating nerve cell formation. It also promotes feelings of bills, higher awareness, happiness, and contentment. Some find it sharpens cognition while others feel daydreamy and relaxed.
Anandamide breaks lower rapidly which means it needs to be replenished frequently. A fatty acid known as FAAH breaks Anandamide down. That comes into play again later as we learn that some endocannabinoids slow FAAH down letting more Anandamide remain in the system.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: N Arachidonoyl dopamine
NADA stimulates the TRPV1 receptor, which in turn reduces inflammation and pain response in the peripheral and central nervous system.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Arachidonoyl serotonin
Arachidonoyl serotonin (N-arachidonoyl-serotonin, AA-5-HT) is a molecule that inhibits FAAH. Remember, FAAH breaks Anandamide down. More Anandamide in the body positively affects appetite, cognitive thought, and mood.
Arachidonoyl serotonin also blocks the TRPV1 receptor, which we just learned reduces pain.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: 2 Arachidonoylglycerol (2 AG)
This endocannabinoid attaches to our CB1 receptor and forms a stronger connection compared to Anandamide. It is prevalent inside the nervous system.
The endocannabinoid 2 arachidonoylglycerol is called the messenger molecule because it appears to pass through membranes easily. It can mediate inflammatory reactions and immune responses and may also reduce the spread of cancer cells.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: 2 Arachidonyl glyceryl ether
The endocannabinoid 2 AGE binds with CB1 and CB2 and also blocks TRPV1. After binding to CB2 receptors, it inhibits adenylate cyclase (a regulatory enzyme) and stimulates ERK MAPK (related to cellular communication).
All of this results in balance, pain reduction, boosted mood and the results both CB1 and CB2 receptors are known for.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: N-Arachidonylglycine
N-Arachidonylglycine is a byproduct of anandamide. It decreases pain and inflammation.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Docosatetraenoylethanolamide
Docosatetraenoylethanolamide (DEA) is also very similar in structure to anandamide. DEA and CB1 receptors connect better than Anandamide, similar to AEA.
Beyond that understanding, science has more to learn about this endocannabinoid.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Lysophosphatidylinositol
LPI performs a lot of regulatory functions behind the scenes to keep the body in balance. You can read more about that here.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Oleamide
CB1 receptors accept Oleamide, which is a structural protein. Primarily, oleamide builds up in the cerebrospinal fluid during deprivation. This means this endocannabinoid may treat mood and sleep disturbances.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Palmitoylethanolamide
This fatty acid affects neuropathic discomfort which reduces pain.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: RVD-Hpa
RVD-Hpa is just a hemoglobin derived peptide. It impacts the adrenal glands in the kidneys and can affect appetite.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Stearoylethanolamide
This is a mysterious endocannabinoid that science doesn’t completely understand. We look forward to more research to clarify its role in the human body.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do: Virodhamine
Virodhamine inhibits the CB1 receptor and stimulates the CB2. Like Stearoylethanolamide there is only limited research available into it.