The Endocannabinoid System and the Human Body

We have put together some information on commonly associated scientific terms with cannabis   

Endocannabinoid System

A good place to start in order to understand how cannabis interacts with the human body is to understand the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). All animals including human beings have an ECS in their bodies. This system comprises of receptors that are present across the Central Nervous System (CNS) of living beings, suffice to say these receptors (primarily CB1 & CB2) exist everywhere in the body from head to toe.

How ECS works

Simply put, receptors such as CB1 & CB2 can be thought of as locks and cannabis constituents (like CBD or THC) can be thought of as keys that fit perfectly into each other. So, when the ‘key’ attaches itself with the ‘lock’ a reaction is triggered that aids in Homeostasis within living beings.


It can be defined as the state of balance of internal physical & chemical conditions of living beings. For example - it is due to homeostasis that we perspire during a hot summer day in order to maintain the equilibrium of body temperature.

Cannabis Plant Constituents


Terpenes are hydrocarbons that naturally occur in plants and are responsible for their aroma and flavour. Generally, a plant produces only one type of terpene. For example, limonene in lemons produces the fresh citrus flavour and aroma.  The Cannabis plant is unique in that it produces more than 100 terpenes (such as Myrcene - in Mangoes, Pinene - in Pine, Linalool - in Lavender, etc). Research indicates that terpenes not only catalyse the entourage effect but also have therapeutic benefits of their own.

Terpene Benefits


Found In





Muscle relaxant, pain relief, sedative, anti-inflammatory

Musky, herbal



Boosts energy, focus, & memory

Pine, woody


Black Pepper

Pain relief, anti-depressant, anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory

Spicy, woody, pepper



Improves mood, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, relieves nausea

Citrus, lemon



Anti-inflammatory, appetite suppressant, pain relief, anti-tumor

Woody, earthy



Anti-anxiety, sedative, pain relief, anti-bacterial

Floral, sugar, citrus



Anti-oxidant, sedative, anti-bacterial

Pine, Herbal


 Sources -



Cannabinoids are chemical compounds within the plant that facilitate homeostasis (state of equilibrium) when they interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body. There are more than 100 cannabinoids found in cannabis. Most well-known cannabinoids are THC and CBD


Flavonoids are chemical compounds widely found in plants that are responsible for their colour. There is sporadic research on the potential benefits of Cannabis flavonoids. However, some research indicates that they have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits

Full Spectrum Cannabis Products

Cannabis products that contain all the above plant constituents (cannabinoids + terpenes + flavonoids) are known as full-spectrum cannabis products. These products are known to have greater effects than just a single isolated compound like CBD. This theory that all the constituents of cannabis work synergistically to produce the greatest effects also known as ‘Entourage effect’ was first postulated by Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam and most recently popularised by Dr. Ethan Russo.  


  Raphael Mechoulam                        Ethan Russo                              Source:                                                                                          


Further Reading

Research Paper – ‘Taming THC’ by Dr. Ethan Russo -

Endocannabinoid System -