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Our Endocannabinoid System

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Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system is our body’s system of endocannabinoid receptors and the naturally produced endocannabinoids that interact with them. The ever-increasing focus of modern medical research, following promising early evidence, suggests that the endocannabinoid system could be extremely important in preventing, managing, or even treating certain chronic conditions. 

When endocannabinoids bind to the cannabinoid receptors (the two we know of now are called CB1 and CB2), they are able to produce physiological responses necessary for keeping cells alive and healthy. They are everywhere, from the brain, spinal cord, immune system, internal organs, peripheral nervous system, and even on the skin. In fact, the endocannabinoid system is the most widespread receptor system in the human body.

Our Endocannabinoid system, our body’s propulsion to homeostasis: Each receptor serves to regulate:

  • CB1, physiological processes
    • Sleep
    • Memory
    • Emotional response
    • Gastrointestinal activity
    • Internal temperature
    • Cardiovascular activity
  • CB2, immune response
    • Inflammatory reactions
    • Neuroinflammation
    • Neuroprotection
    • Pain perception
    • Maintenance of bone mass

Among the many biological systems that make up our body is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). This system is present in all vertebrate species and is known to be a key factor in maintaining homeostasis, which is the concept of balance in biological systems. It is a system that regulates the activities of many body systems including appetite, mood, sleep, memory, and hormone production. It also plays a major role in modulating the immune system.

 

Cannabinoid receptors in our body

The ECS is composed of a network of cannabinoid receptors. These receptors are present in the membranes of many cell types. They are activated when certain chemicals are present outside of the cell. The receptors send signals to the inside of the cell, triggering a cascade of cell activity. These signals send information to various body systems, including the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and endocrine system.

The ECS is composed of two main receptor types: CB1 and C2. CB1 receptors are more common in the central nervous system and immune system, whereas C2 receptors are more common outside the nervous and immune systems. Each type of receptor plays a different role in the endocannabinoid system. CB1 receptors are involved in the synthesis and activation of endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are signalling molecules that are released from the brain. When the brain cell is receiving too many signals, it sends the endocannabinoids to another brain cell to halt the flow. The endocannabinoids then travel backwards across the cell membrane to the listening neuron. This is called retrograde signalling. When the neuron listens, it releases its own endocannabinoids.

The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in controlling appetite, regulating mood, and promoting sleep. It also regulates the gastrointestinal tract and hormone production. It is responsible for bringing the immune and endocrine systems into balance. When the system malfunctions, it can lead to chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.

The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological system that involves the production and release of endocannabinoids, which are found in various organs of the body. These endocannabinoids are only used when they are needed and then destroyed by metabolic enzymes. This allows the endocannabinoids to be stored for later use. This system can also be influenced by dietary cannabinoids, which are produced naturally in the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids mimic the effects of endocannabinoids. They can be ingested in the form of phytonutrient-rich herbs such as hemp seeds, coconut oil, and flaxseed oil.

The endocannabinoid system is made up of millions of molecules, including cannabinoids. There are two major receptor types, CB1 and C2. The two receptors work in conjunction to regulate the activity of various body systems. Aside from cannabinoids, the ECS also contains enzymes that either create or break down endocannabinoids. This system regulates the function of the brain, the gastrointestinal tract, the immune system, and the endocrine system. It also plays a role in the regulation of the body’s energy homeostasis. In addition to controlling endocannabinoid production, the ECS plays a key role in modulating the synaptic transmission of information between brain cells.

How does CBD affect the endocannabinoid system?

Experts aren’t completely sure how CBD interacts with the ECS, but many believe it works by preventing endocannabinoids from being broken down, which allows them to have more of an effect on your body.

Does everyone have an endocannabinoid system?

Everyone has an endocannabinoid system in their body.

Due to its ability to play a critical role in maintaining the homeostasis of the human body, which encompasses the brain, endocrine, and immune system to name a few, it plays a very important role in the human body for our survival. 

Learn more about how you can balance your endocannabinoid system

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