The Ectocannabinoid System

Connecting patients, clinicians, scientists, regulators and producers to get the right cannabinoid in the right place at the right time.


Background- the Endocannabinoid System

The therapeutic use of cannabinoids has grown exponentially in the last decade. This is because of the recent discovery of the Endocannabinoid System. In short, the Endocannabinoid System evolved about 300 million years ago with the advent of multicellular life to ensure that the cells in our bodies ‘know’ when to divide, how much energy to use, to discriminate fellow body cells from alien objects and to allow efficient neural communication. As such, the Endocannabinoid System normally functions to prevent us from developing cancer, metabolic diseases such as obesity or diabetes, (auto-)immune diseases and a whole range of brain diseases such as epilepsy, depression or schizophrenia. All these diseases can therefore be seen as deficiencies of the Endocannabinoid System. By pure coincidence, cannabinoids produced by cannabis plants interact with our Endocannabinoid System and can be used to restore or support it. This is the key to the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.


Therapeutic v recreational paradox

Cannabis is prohibited in most of the world because it can be psychoactive and make you feel ‘high’ or ‘stoned’. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis and the reason why cannabis is used recreationally and why it is prohibited. However, THC also has tremendous therapeutic power ranging from preventing nausea to actually killing cancer cells.
So far, at least 31 other plant cannabinoids have been described that interact with the Endocannabinoid System. These cannabinoids serve, at least in part, to reduce the psychoactive effect of THC, thus reducing the recreational aspect of cannabis and increasing its therapeutic potential. In addition, these ‘minor’ cannabinoids have therapeutic potential of their own.
Unfortunately, these cannabinoids and their effects are almost completely un-researched; due to prohibition the only selection criterion for cannabis was its recreational value. Therefore, cannabis was bred for high THC content. Thus, paradoxically, the prohibition of cannabis has only increased its recreational value at the expense of its therapeutic value!


Apart from the paradoxical effect of cannabis prohibition on its therapeutic potential, there are several other problems that need to be tackled in order to correctly use cannabinoids for therapeutic purposes:


The Ectocannabinoid System

To overcome these problems, we have founded the Ectocannabinoid System. By analogy to the Endocannabinoid System, the Ectocannabinoid System should function to get the right cannabinoid to the right place, in the right time. The Ectocannabinoid system aims to:


Our agenda