The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was identified in the late 1980’s. Currently, experts believe that the primary role of our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is to maintain homeostasis. Essentially, homeostasis refers to the stability and functionality of our internal system. Increasing our immunity when it detects stress or the onset of a cold, is just part of what the endocannabinoid system is responsible for. Consequently, the endocannabinoid system is our ultimate network.
To say the ECS controls everything isn’t far-fetched. From our appetite and digestion, to mood, memory, sleep and pain, the endocannabinoid system plays a primary role in keeping us together. That isn’t all either. Inflammation, muscle formation, bone remodeling and growth, liver function, as well as, cardiovascular and reproductive system function, plus nerve and skin function, are all a part of the ECS’s responsibility.
What are endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids, also called endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body. They’re similar to cannabinoids found in plants, but they’re produced by your body.
Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far: anandamide (AEA), and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG). There are more of course. But, these two seem to be the most influential thus far. Both endocannabinoids help keep internal functions running smoothly. Interestingly, your body produces them as needed.
There is no magic number that can be obtained as we pursue balance in our ECS. It isn’t like and ideal heart rate or blood pressure measurement. Instead, we need to obtain an overall balance in life to ensure less stress and anxiety. These two ECS busters are the greatest disruptors of endocannabinoid production that have been found to date.
Our ultimate network-how it works
There are two main endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. There has been a total of five receptors found thus far. However, the bulk of research has been done on the first two, CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are predominately found in the central nervous system and brain. They are responsible for as pain relief, digestion, prevention of cardiovascular disease, as well as, type 2 diabetes.
CB2 receptors, which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system and organs, support immunity. Commonly found in immune cells, CB2 receptors aid in healthy skin, and bone growth, as well as, immunity.
To clarify, endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor. The result depends on where the receptor is located (nervous system or organs), and which endocannabinoid it binds to. Ideally, the ECS is communicating what is needed when and where. This affords your body optimal health.
When our ECS isn’t functioning at full capacity, it has a gross effect on our overall health and well-being. “Some experts believe in a theory known as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD).” This theory suggests that low endocannabinoid levels in your body, (also known as ECS dysfunction), can contribute to the development of certain conditions.
There have been ailments that have defied both explanation and solution for decades. For example, migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome are all on the list. Moreover, all of these can be common in a single patient.
A decade of research has led scientists to believe that an endocannabinoid deficiency may be the cause. If this is the case, a treatment could soon follow. The more we learn about how the ECS works and what it needs to function optimally, the closer we will be to better health for everyone across the board.
Because none of these conditions have a clear underlying cause. They’re often resistant to treatment, and sometimes occur congruently in a single patient. If CECD does play any kind of role in these conditions, targeting the ECS could be the quintessential strategy for treatment.
As we learn more about the ECS and how it works, we can find better solutions for our overall health. The endocannabinoid system impacts every aspect of our health. We would do well to pay attention and act accordingly. The ECS is our ultimate network.