In this Article we will discuss what exactly is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) in our bodies and our furry friend’s bodies. More importantly how CBD interacts with our own ECS. With other useful information regarding your ECS.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
The ECS is a biological system present in all mammals, You and your furry friend. It is composed of endocannabinoids (molecules made by your own body), which are neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid receptors are present throughout central nervous system, brain, and peripheral nervous system. Leading research has identified two key endocannabinoids so far, Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonovlglyerol (2-AG). These are the cannabinoids all our own bodies produce. Moreover, the main receptors are called CB1 and CB2.
The Endocannabinoid system’s job is to keep our body in homeostasis, or equilibrium, and it regulates everything from appetite, sleep, sensation, inflammation, libido, mood, fertility, memory, and much more.
In other words, it regulates all of our normal day to day functions within the body and mind. We all have an ECS as a natural part of our bodies just like your heart or your brain. More importantly, we are discovering how important and vital the ECS is as part of our biological makeup.
What is Homeostasis?
Homeostasis in scientific terms is any self-regulating process by which biological systems tend to maintain stability while adjusting to conditions that are optimal for survival. In short, if homeostasis is successful, life continues; if unsuccessful, disaster or death ensues. The stability attained is actually a dynamic equilibrium, in which continuous change occurs yet relatively uniform conditions prevail.
In simple terms, it is one’s body efforts to keep everything in the proper and right balance to keep functioning. Internally, it succeeds at keeping your body stable and optimal for functioning, no matter what is happening in the external world around you.
HOW THE ECS WORKS
The two primary cannabinoid receptors have been identified as: CB1, first cloned in 1990; and CB2, cloned in 1993. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues. Now, the brain has roughly 100 billion nerve cells and these cells are in constant communication via synapses. Nerves send signals to these through axons, which are extensions of the nerves. At the synapse, neurotransmitters are released, which cross the synapse and send the signal to the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
For example, think of your iphone and all your apps. Each one does a certain function, i.e. for email, facebook, or banking. When these are downloaded properly to your phone and you are signed in, they are functioning properly and continuously. Now if you didn’t download one of the apps properly or can’t sign on, then there is a problem, and that is when your ECS kicks in!
Your body functions in the same way. We all have these gauges like in an airplane and our bodies work 24/7 monitoring these levels so we can survive.
Now, when one of these functions is out of whack, your body activates the ECS to help get it back to a normal range so you can function properly.
Two Examples of the ECS at Work
- You start to get hunger pains in your belly. That is your ECS telling you to eat something because you need fuel to keep functioning.
- You come down with a fever and because of this your body begins to sweat to try and cool you down. Again, it is our ECS at work. Thank you ECS for keeping me alive!
The ECS is made up of Three Parts
- Receptors primarily CB1 and CB2
- Endocannabinoids or Neurotransmitters
- Enzymes that aid in the breakdown of Cannabinoids and Endocannabinoids
HOW CBD WORKS WITH THE ECS
CBD does not bind to the ECS itself, but rather activates or inhibits other compounds or receptors. I.E. blocking discomfort signals or allowing healthy molecules to enter. In other words, CBD stimulates the proper function of the ECS to increase the production of cannabinoids and preliminary studies have suggested prolonging degradation of endocannabinoids.
Some plants, like Hemp produce a substance similar to endocannabinoids that interact with our own body’s receptors. These phytocannabinoids – plant made cannabinoids – can have a profound effect on the body. While there are many plants that produce substances that act upon cannabinoid receptors, the cannabis plant is the only known to produce cannabidiol (CBD).
Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome
Unfortunately, most western modern diets do not always contain the nutrition required to maintain the endocannabinoid system properly. In cases where nutritional deficiencies or other problems are causing the endocannabinoid system to fail, a person may develop a condition known as “Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome”. This can lead to a variety of symptoms and related conditions. More importantly, with all the vitamins, minerals, and cannabinoids that make up the hemp plant, one can surmise that this can only help this deficiency, which in turn could only help the user get back to an optimal functioning system.