The Endocannabinoid System – Mysterious and Vital

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system that your body needs to maintain homeostasis or balance.

According to an article published in Harvard Health Publishing, “the ECS regulates and controls many of our most critical bodily functions such as learning and memory, emotional processing, sleep, temperature control, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses, and eating. The ECS is currently at the center of renewed international research and drug development.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The ECS comprises a vast network of internally produced cannabinoids (known as endocannabinoids) and cellular receptors (known as cannabinoid receptors) that are spread throughout our bodies. Cannabinoids are the name given to all chemical substances that help communicate and join cannabinoid receptors and the brain.

Cannabinoid Receptors

There are two types of cannabinoid receptors in our bodies: the CB1 receptor and the CB2 receptor

CB1 receptors are located throughout the nervous system. They sit on the part of the nerve that communicates with the next nerve. When CB1 receptors are activated, they slow the release of neurotransmitters. Scientists think that this slowing of transmissions could help explain why plant-based medicine can have an anticonvulsant (quality of medication that help to prevent or treat seizures or convulsions) effect. 

CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system, specifically in organs and cells involved with an immune response. Some examples of CB2 receptor locations are the liver and the spleen. For example, it’s through the CB2 receptors that neurodegeneration and blood-brain barrier damage is slowed in traumatic brain injuries.


Endocannabinoids is the shortened word for endogenous cannabinoids or cannabinoids from within the body. Our body makes these cannabinoids naturally. Each person’s body may make different amounts and have an abundance or deficiency of these cannabinoids. They’re responsible for inducing the feeling of the “runner’s high’ after exercise. They are even said to have therapeutic properties such as reduced pain, appetite stimulation and the inhibition of tumour growth.

How does the endocannabinoid system work?

Endocannabinoids work with the receptors like lock and key. The receptors are like the locks, and the endocannabinoids are like the keys. Once endocannabinoid receptors are engaged, they set off a process to slow down the nerve signal.

The ECS regulates the creation and sending of a message from one nerve to another. Different endocannabinoid receptor interactions have different impacts on the body and help regulate several critical functions.

In conclusion

Keeping your ECS functioning well is important to your overall health. You can regulate your ECS naturally or by supplementing it with phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids are plant cannabinoids naturally occurring in various plant species. These phytocannabinoids have a similar chemical structure to our endocannabinoids and therefore help internal processes when ingested. 

Just as our bodies sometimes require dietary vitamin and mineral supplements to bridge deficiencies in our diet, a supplementation of phytocannabinoids (via plant-based medicine) may help bridge endocannabinoid deficiency. 

If you would like to learn more about the ECS or plant-based medicine, you can speak to our pharmacists. They are extensively trained in plant-based medicines and are available to take your call.

Disclaimer: Heathershaw’s Compounding Pharmacy does not promote the use of plant-based medicines for all patients. Our pharmacists will refer you to an affiliated doctor or clinic who may further assess your clinical requirements. For medical advice, speak to your general practitioner. Plant-based medicines in Australia are accessed via the Special Access Scheme or Authorised Prescriber Scheme and are regulated by the TGA.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates. 

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