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Learn how MDbio products restore your endocannabinoid balance and maximize health

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

ECS System endocannabinoid system outline chart for cb1 and cb2

Found throughout the human body - and in fact found within all vertebrate animals (fish, birds, reptiles, mammals, etc.) -- the Endocannabinoid System is a sophisticated internal biological “control system” that was only discovered in the 1990s. Endocannabinoids are molecules that the body generates internally to regulate and moderate the body’s physiology. A dynamic, complex matrix of cellular receptors, neurotransmitters and enzymes, the ECS works to maintain “homeostasis,” a dynamic steady-state system that allows the body to respond to environmental changes or physiological problems as they arise. Homeostasis regulates vital life functions, keeping the organism well, balanced and whole. For instance, shivering is the body’s way of generating heat when cold, and sweating cools the body when it’s hot.

Although the ECS is now understood to have evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in humans, its significance, scope and applications to health are still being discovered and applied to human health. Excitingly, the role of endocannabinoids in therapeutic medicine, and the ability of plant-derived phytocannabinoids to support health and wellness are gaining more and more interest and acceptance from researchers around the world.

The ECS is the largest system of biochemical receptors in the body, located in the brain, central nervous system, various organs and the immune system. When a person’s health is stressed due to illness, injury or other problems, the ECS manages the situation to bring the body back into balance. This way, the body’s internal state remains stable and continues to function properly even when challenged by changing conditions, physical problems and upsetting times or a difficult environment.

Balance, Homeostasis and Joy

When you’re feeling good, you can do more and be more engaged. Feeling healthy supports the possibility of finding joy in everyday life. Maintaining physical and mental balance lets you ride the waves of change so you can face challenges, both new and familiar. It supports your emotional, personal, family, professional and social sides with more confidence and less worry.

Homeostasis, the body’s ability to maintain and regulate equilibrium, is a dynamic “steady state,” like a car that can idle at a stop light but move forward when the light turns green. Keeping the body in balance supports the possibilities of growing, thriving, and experiencing joy.

Get to Know the ECS

The ECS may be the most important self-regulating system in the body. Systems controlled and regulated by the ECS include:

  • Metabolic processes
  • Immune system
  • Central nervous system
  • Cardiovascular system
  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Reproductive system
  • Skeletal system

The Endocannabinoid System is an important mediator for:

  • Sleep
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Appetite
  • Stress response
  • Pain
  • Mood
  • Inflammation
  • Addiction

Three-Part System, Plus “Entourage”

The Endocannabinoid System can be divided into three parts:

Cannabinoid Receptors

Receptors are protein molecules found on cell surfaces and within cells of the body. When a receptor contacts a substance that binds to it, the receptor sends a biochemical signal that modulates cellular pathways that respond to the signal, directing the cell’s activity. Currently, two major cannabinoid receptor molecules are known to be produced in humans. These are called the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Most CB1 receptors are located in the nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord, and are also found in the liver, lungs and kidneys. They are especially plentiful in the brain tissue. Bodily functions regulated by CB1 receptors include appetite and memory.

CB2 receptors are mainly involved in the immune system and in blood-producing (hematopoietic) cells, as well as the brain and other tissues.

Research suggests that other novel cannabinoid receptors are also present in the central nervous system in endothelial cells. Cannabinoid receptors react to different endocannabinoids in varying ways, and these are still being discovered.

With positive signals, the ECS responds to challenges, returns the body to homeostasis, and restores processes that are out of balance, maintaining health.


Endocannabinoids are lipids (fatty molecules) produced within the body itself (“endogenous”) that activate cannabinoid receptors.

Different endocannabinoids have specific roles in the body, and bind to each receptor differently. Several kinds of endocannabinoids have been identified in humans, and more are being investigated. The plant-based version of cannabinoids found in Cannabis and its nonintoxicating “cousin” hemp are similar to those found in the body. These bind to endocannabinoid receptors in various ways and locations, interacting with body and brain tissues.


Enzymes are molecules that catalyze biological reactions. In the ECS, different enzymes control the impact of cannabinoids, helping the body break them down after their job is complete, and recycling them into new molecules.

“Entourage Effect”

Hemp (Cannabis plants with very low levels of THC) is rich in phytocannabinoids, but also in other natural substances including terpenes and flavonoids (natural substances found in fruits, vegetables, spices, leaves, stems, roots, bark, flowers and tea).

Flavonoids have highly beneficial effects on health, are generally powerful antioxidants, and are one of the reasons why “eating the rainbow” of colorful plant foods daily is an important part of achieving health. Additional natural components of hemp extracts include terpenes and terpenoids (related phytochemicals) and polyphenols, among others.

Together, these constituents are present in whole-plant hemp extracts, and are believed to work together in the human body, creating what is called the “entourage effect.” The theory is that the “full-spectrum” of phytocannabinoids found in carefully produced extracts work together in a harmonious, synergistic fashion, enhancing each other’s effects. Some ingredients such as cannabidiol (CBD) may actually mitigate or block the effects of THC.

(Note: the Cannabis extract used in MDBio products is derived from hemp sources with less than 0.3% THC. It is nonintoxicating, does not produce a “high,” and will not register on THC tests.)

Benefits of CBD

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent beneficial ingredients in Cannabis. Because the ECS itself was only discovered in the 1990s, CBD research is still in its early stages, scientifically speaking. However, considerable evidence already suggests CBD has advantages in supporting human health.


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a plant-based CBD product for certain forms of epilepsy.


Studies in humans and animals show that CBD acts on the ECS and pain-sensing systems to reduce pain.


Research indicates that CBD has an anti-inflammatory effect, which can also relieve pain.


Some studies show that topical CBD applications can relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.


CBD may relieve anxiety and stress, possibly by affecting levels of the brain hormone serotonin.


Studies have shown that CBD has a positive effect on serotonin levels in the brain; low serotonin may have an influence on mood as well as pain.

Sleep Disorders

Research indicates CBD can help support sound sleep. A large study of people taking CBD for pain, anxiety and other conditions reported their sleep improved.

Other Conditions May be Helped by CBD (Partial List)


Parkinson’s Disease

Nausea and vomiting

Autoimmune/Inflammatory conditions