Vapouround magazine ISSUE 21 - Page 56

FEATURE ASK THE SCIENTIST What is the endocannabinoid system? By Richard Cunningham, PhD Search for the ECS online and you’re instantly blinded by graphics and definitions only a scientist could understand. So, we asked our go-to scientist Dr Richard Cunningham to break it all down. DID YOU KNOW? THE ECS IS INVOLVED IN THE REGULATION OF A LARGE RANGE OF PHYSIOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS IN THE BODY INCLUDING MOOD, MEMORY, FERTILITY, PAIN-SENSATION AND APPETITE. First of all, what is a cannabinoid? A cannabinoid is a class of chemical compounds that bind to the cannabinoid receptors found within the human body. Generally, they are hydrophobic/lipid soluble molecules. This means they don’t mix well with water. A receptor is a protein molecule that receives chemical messages from outside of a cell and there are two main cannabinoid receptors found within the body. These are CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are found mainly in the central nervous system and also in organs like the liver, lungs and kidneys, while CB2 receptors are more associated with tissues of the immune system. 56 | VM21 IMMUNE SYSTEM TISSUES CB2 RECEPTORS CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM CB1 RECEPTORS