“What is the Endocannabinoid system”? One of the most common questions we now hear on a daily basis.
The reason it’s becoming an ever more popular question is that every day more people are realizing that CBD can help them in many ways. A couple of years ago, very few people knew what endocannabinoid meant – and even fewer could spell it. Let’s take a few minutes to figure out why your body has an entire system of built-in receptors and enzymes to process a substance that, until very recently (at least by the Government), was seen as a danger to society.
While I am not a doctor, all of the information gathered below has been pulled together from various medical and scientific sources.
The Definition of Endocannabinoids
Time to get all scientific and technical for a minute or so with the definition.
In the simplest possible terms, Cannabinoid is derived from Cannabis, and Endo comes from “endogenous,” which means produced naturally inside your body.
So “endocannabinoid” basically means cannabis-like substances that naturally occur inside every one of us.
The EndoCannabinoid System (ECS) itself is made up of three separate parts:
- Receptors in the nervous system and around your body that endocannabinoids and cannabinoids bond with.
- Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids.
We could get into a long drawn out paragraph about lipid-based retrograde neuroreceptors and the mammalian peripheral nervous system, but we are trying to keep this simple. Inside your body is a network of receptors, kind of like nerve endings that work in unison with CBD and THC. Who knew that we were designed to use these substances medicinally?
What if we were to tell you that several well-known ailments are directly linked to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). While this isn’t technically a disease, it’s an umbrella term used to describe dysfunction in your EndoCannabinoid System.
5 years ago, people would have called you crazy if you brought out a scientific paper that said that Migraines, Fibromyalgia or IBS could be attributed to the lack of Cannabinoids in your body; but current research is showing that Cannabinoid treatments are working well to bring them under control.
CBD and THC help to bolster the bodies internal system. By attaching to the receptors and enzymes, research has shown that they can greatly improve a person’s health.
What Homeostasis has to do with the Endocannabinoid System
Seeing as though most of us don’t hear words like homeostasis every day, let’s take 2 seconds to throw down a definition:
Basically, homeostasis is your body’s attempts to keep everything working properly in the right place. It tries to keep your internal environment stable and optimal no matter what’s going on in the environment around you, kind of like keeping your temperature stable regardless of whether you are freezing or boiling.
Think of your EndoCannabinoid System as your body’s inner engineer, as the pilot watches countless gauges and dials, it acts accordingly. When you get hot and start to sweat, that is partially due to your ECS, the same thing when your heart starts beating too fast or you get really hungry, really quickly. Most of us don’t realize that the most intricate piece of machinery on the planet is the one that we occupy from the moment we’re born.
We have (at least) two different types of cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 is in the central nervous system (brain and nerves of the spinal cord).
- CB2 is in the peripheral nervous system (nerves in your extremities), the digestive system, and specialized cells in the immune system.
Research is now showing the possibility of at least 1 more type of Cannabinoid receptor in the human body.
What do ECS Receptors Regulate?
Here is the part where it gets crazy. The CB1 and CB2 receptors are literally attached to every system in the body.
Appetite, Digestion, Immune function, Inflammation, Mood, Sleep, Reproduction/fertility, Motor control, Temperature regulation, Memory, Pain, Pleasure/reward are all affected by the EC system in some way shape or form. Your body can regulate each part of each system with pinpoint precision, making sure that just because you have a pain in your leg you don’t suddenly develop acid reflux. Everything is a perfectly coordinated balancing act, and the Endocannabinoid receptors are at the center of everything.
Imagine if the ECS was completely off balance and stubbing your toe caused extreme sexual gratification… it may not sound too bad right now but imagine hitting your foot in a crowded room (you can thank your ECS and its enzymes later).
We have learned that the Endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a vast majority of body functions and that an imbalance within the system could cause actual health problems. You now know that CBD and THC can help to bolster this system and that research is being released almost daily that puts more importance on using these compounds to improve the overall human experience.
I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and now understand a little bit more about your insides.