The Endocannabinoid System
The endocannabinoid system influences nearly every bodily function. Without endocannabinoids, many normal processes begin to go awry.
Not long after the first cannabinoid was isolated from the cannabis plant, scientists discovered the human body produces similar substances.
These endogenous cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, are neurotransmitters that perform a wide range of functions in the human body. From regulating pain to reducing anxiety, cannabinoids and their receptors play a huge role in maintaining mental, physical, and emotional homeostasis.
Mechanism of Action
Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating component of the cannabis plant, has generated significant interest among scientists and physicians in recent years—but how CBD exerts its therapeutic impact on a molecular level is still being sorted out. Cannabidiol is a pleiotropic drug in that it produces many effects through multiple molecular pathways. The scientific literature has identified more than 65 molecular targets of CBD.
Although CBD has little binding affinity for either of the two cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), cannabidiol modulates several non-cannabinoid receptors and ion channels. CBD also acts through various receptor-independent pathways—for example, by delaying the “reuptake” of endogenous neurotransmitters (such as anandamide and adenosine) and by enhancing or inhibiting the binding action of certain G-protein coupled receptors.