The Human Hemp Plant; Our Bodies Create Cannabinoids

Posted by Desiree Jones on

-   How the human body is analogous to a cannabis plant and produces its own version of CBD.

You can lift your feet off the ground; you don’t have roots.

You eat plants, maybe animals and they’re byproducts; you don’t have the power of photosynthesis.

You breathe in oxygen and release carbon dioxide; you don’t open your stomata to respire.

Humans are humans. Plants are plants.

Yet, for some reason, we seem to produce many of the same compounds.

For example, humans naturally produce their own versions of cannabinoids.

In one way, you’re like a walking hemp plant.

Here’s how.

Does the human body produce its own cannabinoids?


No, not the ones you’re thinking of like CBD and THC.

But also, yes.

Humans—and all mammals—are equipped with an endocannabinoid system.

Intuitively, this is obvious: we wouldn’t respond to cannabinoids if we didn’t have receptors for them.

But some people are surprised to learn that we create our own cannabinoids. They’re endocannabinoids and they are an integral part of our endocannabinoid system, or ECS.

The ECS plays a role in a range of metabolic activities, including:

  •       Digestion
  •       Injury response
  •       Immune system functioning
  •       Cognition
  •       Sleep
  •       And more

In fact, the ECS can be found throughout most of the body.

Type 1 receptors are most densely positioned in the brain and central nervous system. Type 2 receptors can be found throughout the periphery including the limbs, gut, and organs.

For an example of how integral the ECS is to human health, a 2011 report outlined how an “imbalance of the ECS contributes to visceral fat accumulation and disrupts energy homeostasis.”

The report, which was published in the journal, Nutrition, aimed to explain how the ECS relates to nutrition and metabolism.

Later, a 2015 report showed how understanding that relationship can be used therapeutically.

The authors noted that the ECS is a likely target for “future development of therapies against obesity, metabolic syndrome, and eating disorders.”

CBD helps us because it integrates naturally with our homeostatic pathways.

Humans Make Their Own Version of CBD


Targeting those pathways is done through the consumption of phytocannabinoids or synthetically-produced cannabinoids.

Those medicines supplement an imbalance of endocannabinoids.

The endocannabinoids include anandamide—the endogenous equivalent of THC—and 2-arachidonoylglycerol—the human body’s equivalent of CBD.

More commonly known as 2-AG, we’re said to produce much of our 2-AG in presynaptic cells.

According to a 2014 report, “most 2-AG is synthesized from membrane phospholipids.”

The authors of the paper, which was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, noted that there are three main pathways for 2-AG synthesis.

That means our bodies not only produce their own CBD, but we also produce it in at least three unique ways, and it happens to be in our central nervous systems.

While we don’t make CBD, our self-grown counterpart, 2-AG, is a mirror image to what’s found in hemp. 

Although humans are not plants, we do create very similar compounds in some instances. It’s known as co-evolution. You can think of yourself as a half-human, half-hemp plant.

Did you learn something new about the human body today? Let us know your questions in the comment section!


By Nicholas D. 

Professional Cannabis Writer and Content Creator

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