Explaining the Endocannabinoid System
Have you ever felt that “runner’s high” or the euphoric feeling you get after exercising? That is a function of our Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Exercise releases the “bliss hormone” anandamide, an endocannabinoid - a cannabinoid our bodies naturally produce. Sound familiar? Anandamide interacts with our bodies in the same way THC does. THC is a phytocannabinoid - cannabinoids produced by plants like cannabis and hemp.
So what is the ECS and why should you care? Researching the ECS turns into a confusing and overwhelming bombardment of big words. Endocannabinoids, neurotransmitters, receptors, oh my!
While a confusing topic, it is crucial to understanding how our bodies stay healthy, and why phytocannabinoids like the ones found in both hemp and cannabis work so effectively for a variety of things. We’ll try and break it down in more simple terms here, and hopefully inspire you to continue your own education on this very important topic.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Think of the ECS as our bodyʻs master regulator, keeping our bodies in homeostasis - a balanced and stable state. The ECS regulates vital functions like sleep, appetite, immune system, fertility and pregnancy, pain sensation, mood and memory. There simply isn’t a function in our bodies that isn’t somehow affected by the ECS.
Photo Credit: Medium
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
Cannabinoid receptors listen and receive signals, transmitting information about changes in our bodies, and activating the correct response to keep our bodies in homeostasis (balance).
Two main cannabinoid receptors have been identified:
CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain and central nervous system
CB2 receptors are involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management.
Photo Credit: mycannabis.org
Imagine receptors are keyholes, and endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids are the keys that fit perfectly into these keyholes, thus playing a vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and happy.
Studies have shown that a variety of major diseases are connected to an endocannabinoid deficiency. Luckily, there are a variety of ways we can enhance our ECS to keep our body healthy and potentially prevent or even treat common diseases and ailments:
Phytocannabinoids like the ones found in the cannabis and hemp plants
So to keep your ECS happy and healthy, be sure to have a well-rounded health and wellness plan that focuses on mind, body, and spirit. Eat real food, break a sweat, get a good night's sleep, take care of your mental health, and supplement with full-spectrum CBD products to get all of those phytocannabinoids like CBD, CDN, CBG, and CBV into your ECS.
While that was a very basic overview, the world wide web is filled with tons of information on the ECS. If you’d like to continue your own research, here are a few links to more in-depth information:
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