What is endocannabinoid signaling

Is Your Endocannabinoid System In Balance?

The endocannabinoid system

The endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) is an extremely complex signal network with a far-reaching effect in the body. A particularly interesting therapeutic application of the ECS is its effect on the immune system, what some scientists refer to as immune cannabinoid modulation. Simply put, the ECS can regulate and change the properties, balance and overall function of the immune system.

Although the immunomodulatory mode of action of the ESC has not yet been fully researched, there is a lot that is known. First of all, certain cannabinoids, when optimally dosed, can reduce the inflammatory response in patients with autoimmune diseases. Cannabidiol proves to be particularly effective in this regard.

Autoimmune diseases include:

  • multiple sclerosis
  • arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Encephalomyelitis
  • Parkinson's

How do you find the balance?

Nowadays in particular, it is becoming clear to many people what meaning the term “balance” has in everyday life. It is extremely important for our physical and mental health to find a good balance between work and leisure. Nutritionists have found that a balanced ratio of omega-6 fatty acids (which are often inflammatory and therefore viewed negatively) and omega-3 fatty acids (which are viewed positively) can have a wide range of effects on the state of health

Switching from omega-6-rich foods (e.g. French fries, potato chips or pastries) to healthier omega-3-rich alternatives (e.g. salmon steak, sardines or leafy vegetables) has a positive effect on the cardiovascular system System, brain and metabolism.

It is very similar when it comes to the balance between the various endocannabinoids.

What are cannabinoid receptors?

Cannabinoid receptors have a serpentine structure and represent an important class of cell membrane receptors. Comparable to a locking device, the receptors correspond to the “locks”, while the ligand substances that are attached to them act like “keys”. They have about seven sections through which the outer cell membrane is passed. Cannabinoid receptors are also linked to G proteins.

This is the basis for the signaling processes in which a molecule or substance, e.g. from cannabis, docks to the outer areas of these receptors. The three most important ligands that attach to cannabinoid receptors are lipophilic ("fat-loving") and contain endocannabinoids (synthesized in the body), phytocannabinoids (plant-based, as is the case with cannabis) and synthetic cannabinoids.

The cannabinoid receptors are further subdivided into the two main main types, CB1 and CB2. They show some similarities, but primarily differ in which tissue or organ system they are assigned to in the body.

CB1 is mainly found in the brain, but is also found in the lungs, kidneys, liver, fat, heart muscles and bones. CB1 receptors are primarily associated with the psychoactive and euphoric aspects of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mostly found in the immune system and in the blood cells and, to a lesser extent, in the nervous system, liver, intestines, muscles and bones.

How can cannabinoid receptors contribute to the balance of the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid balance results from the relative contribution of CB1 activity in relation to CB2 activity over a given period of time. From a scientific point of view, there is increasing evidence that CB1 dominance can be associated with an increased perception of stress, anxiety, paranoia, increased appetite and a reduced tendency to nausea / nausea as well as pain and improved immune monitoring. The latter is related to certain types of cancer.

A decrease in inflammation and tissue damage as well as improvements in metabolic health, insulin signaling and sensitivity, feeling of satiety and energy balance are associated with a CB2 dominance. Based on this information, some scientists are focusing on certain CB1 blockers that can improve many symptoms of metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of influencing factors that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. In particular, it concerns high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, abdominal obesity and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Some studies have already shown that peripheral CB1 inhibition can reduce blood pressure and blood sugar levels and improve cholesterol levels. Furthermore, a breakdown of belly fat is promoted, which reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type II diabetes.

What makes a balanced endocannabinoid system?

The latest biochemical and behavioral discoveries show that an “ideal” activation of CB1 receptors promotes antidepressant neurochemical changes and behavioral effects, as were also found in rodents. The importance of a balanced endocannabinoid system is made even clearer on the basis of these findings.

The endocannabinoid system controls the spread, differentiation, maintenance and immune competence of the often neglected skin organ system (e.g. skin cells and hair). A targeted manipulation of the endocannabinoid balance to normalize skin cell growth and inflammation can be of great benefit in the treatment of many skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema, acne, dermatitis, systemic sclerosis).

The comparisons drawn in the first example between the balance of the polyunsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids (PUFA) and the balance of CB1 endocannabinoids and CB2 endocannabinoids provide an even clearer statement.

This is because dietary intake of polyunsaturated fats has been shown to affect levels of anandamide and 2-AG (the two most well-known endocannabinoids in humans).

The balance between poly-saturated omega-6 and omega-3 acids is therefore an important modifier in activating and suppressing cannabinoid signaling in cells.

To illustrate this point, Hutchins-Weise and other scientists have published the findings of an experiment with rodents in which an immobilization-related atrophy (tissue atrophy) is shown in connection with a dietary supplement in the form of fish oil.

The omega-3 levels resulting from the administration of the fish oil caused significant changes (increased CB2 receptors but decreased levels of 2-AG and CB1 activity) in the endocannabinoid system of the mice. This was done because the crucial muscle was sensitized to counter the effects of immobilization and hindrance on the hind limbs.

What happens when the endocannabinoid system is out of balance?

As mentioned earlier, proper balance is vital. Finally, studies have shown that shifting the scale too far in the direction of inhibiting the CB1 receptors impairs fertility and increases the risk of depression and mood disorders, as well as immunosuppression (suppressing the immune response).

Excess CB1 signaling is linked to increased psychoactivity, systemic inflammation, cardiovascular risks, diabetes, and obesity. In contrast, overactivation and dominance of CB2 can lead to impaired immune functions and wound healing.

Also read the article on endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome.

Note: In this article we report on prescription CBD or cannabidiol. This article makes no suggestion as to the possible purpose. Promises of use are left to the pharmacists.