The endocannabinoid system (ECS) can be found throughout the body. It plays a key role in keeping us healthy. It allows cannabinoids like CBD and THC to affect our brain and body chemistry.
The ECS was only discovered in 1992, meaning there are still things which are yet to be discovered. One thing we do know for certain is that there will be decades more research to unlock the mysteries it withholds.
Cannabinoid research scientist Dr David Allen said: “The discovery of the Endocannabinoid system is the single most important, medical scientific discovery ever.”
What is the endocannabinoid system?
The ECS is a network of chemicals and receptors found throughout the body. Current research suggests that it helps to return your internal body conditions to a healthy state of homeostasis/balance. This process is called the homeostatic mechanism.
These mechanisms help to keep our bodies in a state of good health. By regulating things like temperature and acidity are kept at normal levels. Compare it to the thermostat in your home, that’s the homeostatic mechanism which makes tiny adjustments keeping the temp just right.
Many factors from outside and inside the body can upset the balance; stress and disease are good examples. If your ECS is in good shape, then your body is likely to return to normal quicker than if it isn’t. Ever wondered why you’re more susceptible to illness when stressed? Well, now you know.
What makes up the ECS?
Endocannabinoids – These are molecules that interact with our bodies systems to produce effects like pain, regulation, motivation, pleasure memory, and mood. They are produced within our body as you can tell by the name; ‘endo’ taken from ‘endogenous’ meaning from within. So far we know of two endocannabinoids, anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
If your body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids, one theory suggests that it won’t be able to maintain balance throughout the body. This theory suggests when your body can’t maintain balance, it could allow diseases and chronic conditions to develop.
Endocannabinoid receptors – These receptors are those which your body’s endocannabinoids bind to directly as a part of a chemical signalling process.
Contrary to popular belief, CBD doesn’t bind with these receptors. Instead, it helps to kick start the production of your endocannabinoids which then can work on getting your body back to a healthy state of balance.
More research is needed for us to learn more about this amazing system and how it interacts with CBD the potential it has is unfathomable. CBD is just 1 of 100+ cannabinoids which have been researched which also may have useful effects.