How To Boost Your Endocannabinoid System


The human endocannabinoid system, what a dry subject. At least that is how it felt when I first sat down to educate myself about what this system does. However, once I really dug into the subject I was actually able to use what I learned to make improvements to my own health.

Just like you have an endocrine system, a circulatory system, and a nervous system,  you also have something called an Endocannabinoid system. This system regulates many of the body’s functions to maintain overall health and a sense of well being. What functions? I’m glad you asked.

The endocannabinoid system regulates functions in your brain, nervous system, digestive system, cardiovascular system, bones, immune system, and metabolism. Wow, right? The enormity of what this system does is why it is worth learning about, especially for those of us who may be dealing with health issues in any of those associated areas.

Where is this endocannabinoid system located? Simply put…your brain, your nervous system, your intestine, your immune system, your liver, your bones, your muscles, your pancreas, and your adipose tissue (fat). You know, the serious parts. Within the tissues of these locations are little receptors that express proteins and bind to specific cannabinoid-shaped molecules. They are called cannabinoid receptors. (A cannabinoid is a chemical compound naturally produced by enzymes in the body. It is this compound that activates the cannabinoid receptors and allows for a healthy endocannabinoid system.)

There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors: CB1 or CB2. Different body locations have either one or the other, or both. For example your brain has lots of CB1 receptors, your bones have CB2 receptors, and your gut has both. Knowing the location and type of receptor becomes valuable information when treating certain ailments and illnesses.


How do you know if your body is making enough cannabinoids to be working properly? Great question. I don’t exactly have the answer for that yet besides to look at conditions (such as depression, migraines, IBS, and fibromyalgia) that are also associated with a body that has a deficiency in cannabinoids. If you have something funky going on in one of the areas that is regulated by the endocannabinoid system, you might be deficient. Hopefully future studies come out to let us know when it is deficient before major illness sets in.

How does one get more cannabinoids if your body is not producing enough? Cannabis! Cannabis is a phytocannabinol and contains compounds that activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 is “turned on” by THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CB2 is “turned on” by CBN (cannabinol), compounds found in the cannabis plant.

Amazing, right?

Also, different cannabis strains contain different amounts of THC, CBN, and other compounds that work synergistically in the body. When using cannabis for certain ailments you can customize what receptors are activated by choosing the right strain and delivery method. For example, I go for high THC cannabis strains when I am dealing with migraines or depression to activate those specific CB1 receptors in my brain.

Knowing about this amazing system has increased the appreciation that I have for my body and the medicine that I use. Not only that, it has allowed me to understand my cannabis medicine better and maximize my use of it.

May your endocannabinoid system function well whether you happen to be giving it a boost with cannabis or not.


38 responses to this post.

  1. I absolutely am behind you on this. I have been wanting to learn more about the different receptors etc e tc. I am excited and cant wait to meet you. We seem to have quite a bit in common. I am an IIN student and plan on working with some you on this subject. I am vwry impressed and humbled with the info that you are putting out there for us to read. Keep on keepin on. 🙂

  2. Wendy, thank you for your kind words. I look forward to meeting you too! Love my IIN posse. xo

  3. Reblogged this on 4:20 Smokers Blog.

  4. You are a very good teacher, you know everyone can’t teach. I remember sitting in my micro class listening to a lecture and all of us student where just sitting there looking in the sealing trying to figure out what the hell he was talking about, you are very good. Thank You 😉

  5. Your sweet words energize my passion. Thank you.

  6. Posted by Thomas on September 3, 2013 at 8:34 am

    I’m not a biochemist or a microbiologist I have a MS in hydrogeology. But I spotted at least one error I felt was important to mention. You wrote “CB2 is ‘turned on’ by CBN (cannabinol), compounds found in the cannabis plant. I do know that the Cannabis plant doesn’t synthesise (manufacture) CBN (Cannabinol), because CBN is a breakdown product of THC and is found in abundance only in old Cannabis (stale, subjected to heat and/or light.

  7. Posted by Thomas on September 3, 2013 at 9:10 am

    However another compound, CBD (Cannabidiol) is synthesized from the same percursor compound as THC, and is believed now to be among the most therapeutic of compounds in Cannabis, if not the most therapeutic. The somewhat mysterious thing about CBD is that it apparently doesn’t bond with the cannabinoid recptors, but is known to modulate the action of THC. As you have written, there remains much to learn about Cannabis and its various compounds.

  8. Sweet, you only found one error. 🙂 From what I know about CBN, you are totally right, it “is a breakdown product of THC.” Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  9. Posted by Diane Helfer on September 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

    So what about the products offered now that are high in CBD and little to no THC? Are they effective?

  10. Well done, thank you. I’ll share to help others get an understanding of this very important system within us. It is no coincidence that there is cann in cannabis and in endocannabinoid. Blessings!

  11. Hi Diane,
    My experience with trying high CBD products is that they are very effective for my personal health conditions. Without trying high CBD medicines I would not have fully experienced what is possible with cannabis.

  12. Thank you for taking the time to write such nice comments and sharing with other people. May you always have an abundance of cannabinoids in your endocannabinoid system.

  13. Posted by David Calvo on September 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for the information and the open forum format.

  14. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! Have an awesome day.

  15. Wow, you seem like an incredibly intelligent dude… You should be letting more ppl know all this too.. Thank you…

  16. Wow, thank you for such kind words. I’m working on letting more people know everyday how cannabis can improve their health and wellbeing…it has become a passion. Thank you for reading and taking the time to leave a comment that brightens my day. OneLove.

  17. […] system function well whether you happen to be giving it a boost with cannabis or not. -TwiceBaked How To Boost Your Endocannabinoid System | twicebaked in washington __________________ Support disorganized […]

  18. Posted by James Taylor on August 10, 2014 at 3:09 am

    How about finding ways to boost it with non-cannabis items for those of us where it is still illegal?

  19. I am a doctor and a scientist. I would like to point out that it is also erroneous that CBN binds to CB2 receptor. That would be convenient, but not supported by research!

  20. Hi Dr.Sexton, Thank you for your two bits. Knowledge is appreciated here, where learning happens daily. Peace.

  21. Posted by Joshua on September 18, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Dark Chocolate not only helps produce endocannabinoids in the human body, but if your cannabinoid source runs out, it helps ease the transition

  22. Posted by Triveni on October 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I am interested in knowing more about the treatment of migraine with THC. Can you help? Thanks

  23. I personally use cannabis to prevent and treat migraines that I have had since childhood. Using it raw seems to help prevent them, using a good topical will shut them down, and vaping/smoking will mute them and allow you to get through your day. Keep researching!

  24. Posted by Jim Jozwiak on April 19, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    THC is so much stronger than the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide. This may down-regulate your CB1 receptors, which you don’t want. How about fish oil and a low-carb, high-fat diet to get those CB1 receptors to regenerate themselves?

  25. How can one boost their own natural production of cannabinoids, without supplementing with marijuana? I wanna grow my own weed eventually, but for now, I don’t have the cash or a decent supplier to get the right kind of medicine that I need.

  26. […] Cannabis, good sleep, regular exercise, meditation, and proper nutrition are the main daily tools I use to keep me lifted from depression, anxiety… and as dark as it is to say, even suicide. Taking care of my mental health is one of the main reasons I use cannabis because when my depression and anxiety are managed I also experience less pain and inflammation. How about that? […]

  27. Posted by C on July 28, 2015 at 6:47 pm

    I was really hoping for ideas on how to stimulate the endocannabinoid system without cannabis, specifically to ameliorate cannabis withdrawal.

  28. Posted by Yeye on September 28, 2015 at 10:08 am

    Well. Its not good to use cannabis if youre healthy with good functional endocannabinoid system. Body will down regulate its own anandamide if you abuse cannabis. Exercise if youre healthy to boost your own anandamide instead of cannabis. Use cannabis if not healthy/sickness/

  29. Posted by Yeye on September 28, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    And down regulation of cb1 receptor with chronic use.

  30. Hi C, Other ways to care for your endocannabinoid system: Cardiovascular exercise, omega-3 fatty acids, good nutition, and proper sleep.

  31. Hi Yeye, Thank you for your comments and I love to hear from healthy people on this planet who don’t have endocannabinoid deficiencies. Did you know that there are many ways to use cannabis that will not involve the cb1 receptors? Thanks for reading. -TwiceBakedinWA

  32. Feed yourself plenty of vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids from the food you eat to keep a healthy endocannabinoid system. And exercise. And sleep.

  33. Posted by Mike on January 1, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I want to quit weed and increase my endocannabinoids within my body to stop me being moody so this arrival is a bit of a fail….

  34. Hi Mike, There are ways to promote a healthy endocannabinoid system without cannabis. Exercise, good sleep, and eating healthy food are three ways you can do regularly to improve the moods. Best wishes for 2016 and thank you for reading! -Twicebakedinwa

  35. Posted by Kurt on January 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    You might try supplementing the precursors to your ECS. Most important is probably good EFAs. I prefer Udo’s oil, cod liver oil, and sunflower seed oil, as they contain specific phospholipids that are used by the ECS. Probiotics and an anti-inflammatory diet also help. For some details on using diet to support the ECS (diet info is near the middle of the document):

  36. Hi Kurt! Great notes for sure. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Posted by D: on April 1, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    I have to quit at least for a while because I think I genuinely abused it, possibly to the point where maybe my body isn’t making sufficient amounts on its own, if that’s possible. Another huge reason is I want a better job. It’s been two full days and I’ve been horribly restless yet listless and can hardly eat. I’m even more depressed than when I was (possibly incorrectly) self-medicating and then some. The advice given above is excellent and I plan on using it to the fullest but please, if anyone has more suggestions or strategies, I would be so grateful if you shared them, because my heart is as broken as it could be without an actual negative event happening and I feel like nothing will ever fill this void I currently feel. But I want to pick up the pieces and just feel ok at least. Thank you so much for reading this.

  38. Hi D:, Sounds like your spirits have needed a lift. Its easy to use cannabis as a go to feel good and it is possible to use more than is helpful. At least it is non-toxic and you can stop taking it without harming yourself. May you be able to find things to be grateful for to pull you through dark times. Don’t beat yourself up over using cannabis, just find a better way to use it- if it helps. Peace and love. -TBinWA

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