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What is the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a widespread neuromodulatory system that plays important roles in central nervous system (CNS) development, synaptic plasticity, and the response to endogenous and environmental insults. The endocannabinoid system is made up of three main components.

The three components

The endocannabinoid system performs multiple functions in our body, and the goal of this system is to maintain a stable internal environment, AKA our internal homeostatic regulator.

The endocannabinoid system consists of three main components:

  1. A widespread network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body including cannabinoid receptor type 1 and type 2 (CB1 and CB2)

  2. Endogenous cannabinoids or endocannabinoids (eCBs) such as anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)

  3. Various endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes including fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL)3



Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body.

They’re similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by your body.

Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far:

  • anandamide (AEA)

  • 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

These help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as needed, making it difficult to know what typical levels are for each.

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