Essential facts about one of the most important systems in your body!
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a physiological system that governs cellular balance throughout your entire body. The ECS gives your body the capacity to respond to disease, illness, and injury.
How It Works
The ECS is comprised of cellular-level receptors – like key holes – which are activated when attached with ligands (the keys that go into the holes). These ligands include endocannabinoids, which our body produces and breaks down.
Whenever a cell is under stress or there is a lack of balance, the ECS will generally start to produce extra endocannabinoids so as to correct the underlying issue and regain a state of balance and health.
What Does The ECS regulate?
- Mood regulation
- Bone growth
- Pain perception
- Tumor regulation
- Body temperature
- Muscle tone and movement
- Extinction of traumatic memory
- Protection of nerves and brain tissue
- Stress management
- Eye pressure
- Gastrointestinal motility
- Seizure activity
- And many others
What is Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
The ECS is susceptible to dysfunction or disruption resulting in low levels of endocannabinoids. When this happens to a person, it compromises the body’s ability to heal. Endocannabinoid dysfunction or deficiency has been linked to health challenges including migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so much more. Because cannabinoid receptors are so prevalent throughout the body and brain, physicians and researchers continue to place significance on targeting the ECS for treatment in a very wide range of ailments.
One of the ways we can target the ECS is through the cannabinoids found in cannabis, which act on our receptors in a very similar way to the endocannabinoids produced by our own bodies throughout our entire lives.
Five Fun Facts about the ECS
- The ECS was discovered when researchers were studying how THC interacts with the body
- This initial research and several other studies on the ECS were funded by the U.S. government
- Cannabinoid receptors are the most prevalent neurotransmitters throughout the brain and body
- The ECS even modulates other neurotransmitters (such as serotonin, glutamate, etc.)
- Almost every animal also has an endocannabinoid system
The ECS is such an important part of health, keeping all the processes in our body in balance. Learning about this system and how to take care of it (including exercise and nutrition) is absolutely vital if we want to optimize our body’s ability to heal, to be strong and healthy. It’s surprising that this growing foundation of science and knowledge around the ECS has been overlooked by the medical world for so long. We could comment about the effect of cannabis laws, misinformation, and stigma – however none of that should ever stand in the way of scientific fact.
And if you’re reading this, you’ve made a conscious decision to dive into the facts and learn as much as you can about cannabis… and about your body. We thank you for being here, and we hope this material will serve as an ongoing resource for you as you spark conversations and spread the word to others about the endocannabinoid system.
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