Experts Explain the Endocannabinoid System and How It Could Change Medicine in the Future

The endocannabinoid system is largely understudied, but experts say it could be key to a change of direction in the medical industry.

Levin Health

According to Levin Health, an Australian company focusing on the research of medicinal cannabis Melbourne- and Australia-wide, the endocannabinoid system is a network of chemical signals and receptors throughout our brains and bodies. It plays a role in regulating and controlling many of our critical bodily functions, such as memory, emotion processing, sleep, temperature regulation, pain control, inflammatory and immune responses1.

Research has found that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a fundamental role in human development, health and disease2. It's thought that an imbalance in this physiology can lead to stress and illness. 

Levin Health explains cannabinoids may help reintroduce that balance in a process known as "homeostasis". 

Dr Rickcord, GP and cannabinoid prescriber based in NSW, says endocannabinoid medicine has the potential to be at the forefront of modern medicine.

Despite this, he also says there's a lack of understanding about how the endocannabinoid system works.

Other experts agree. Simone O'Brien, founder of the Australian Cannabis Nurses Association (ACNA), is calling for education about the endocannabinoid system to be included in undergraduate nursing degrees.

The historical stigma associated with cannabis could be to blame for the limited clinical application of medical marijuana Australia-wide. However, to appreciate the effects that different cannabinoids could have, a full understanding of the ECS is crucial. 

A 2020 study3 explains how the ECS is intricately involved with human immunology, psychology, developmental process, neural plasticity, signal transduction, and metabolic regulation. Understanding the system is critical when exploring its therapeutic potential in various diseases.

One major breakthrough found that specific genes in some human chromosomes are activated by endocannabinoids, cannabinoids and marijuana use4

Endocannabinoids play a role in things like temperature regulation, blood pressure regulation, and the positive feelings after exercise or in relaxing environments.

The endocannabinoid system in humans wasn't discovered until the 1990s, but Dr Rickcord predicts that it will be at the heart of a "revolution" in medicine in the next five or ten years.

Levin Health adds that the use of these medicines, such as CBD oil, Australia-wide should be regulated and controlled. They recommend speaking to a GP to get advice on medical cannabis products.

About Levin Health

Levin Health is an Australian sports science company focused on researching, developing and commercialising a range of medicinal cannabis products initially for the treatment of pain, mental health disorders and sport-related ailments, to help people improve their lifestyle.


  1. Harvard Health Publishing
  2. Future Medicine
  3. National Library of Medicine
  4. Cannabinoid receptor genetics and behaviour, in The Biology of Marijuana 

Source: Levin Health