Understanding the ECS
The Endocannabinoid system. The term is tossed around a lot in hemp/cannabis circles, but very few people actually know what it is or what it does.
One thing that’s for sure: It’s more than a nebulous idea invented to make your belief in medical cannabis sound more “sciency.” It’s a real system within our bodies and it plays a role in almost every major function.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is our body’s own internal regulator. Its primary responsibility is to maintain homeostasis, or in simpler terms, to ensure balance amidst the chaos created by both internal and external agitation and stimulation. It’s responsible for a litany of functions, including but not limited to fertility, pregnancy, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, immune response, memory, and sleep.
In reality, if we were to name all of the functions within its purview, you’d scroll to another article before we even got halfway through the list. We don’t blame you. How are we supposed to compete for your attention when Cosmo just released yet another listicle on the ten best ways to please your man? But let’s not digress. Instead, let’s dig in a little more, while trying to keep it interesting.
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Call the DEA! Your Body is a Drug Manufacturer!
It’s true. You may as well run for the hills now before they catch you. Your body is producing cannabinoids without even getting permission from the authorities. Tsk, tsk.
Don’t panic. Since they are produced by your body and not a plant, they’re not really cannabinoids. Not exactly, anyway. Technically, they’re known as endocannabinoids and they are the natural chemicals used as messengers and/or regulators between the ECS receptors throughout your body’s various organs and systems.
Currently, we know of two endocannabinoids. Those are anandamide and 2-AG. Both of them serve as chemical messengers within the ECS, but like CBD and THC, their functions often diverge widely. Anandamide, AKA, “the bliss molecule” is linked to good mood, pain relief, appetite regulation, and the “natural high” derived from physical exertion. Meanwhile, 2-AG is a neuroprotectant, as well as an active regulator of metabolism, pain, sleep and reproduction.
To achieve their purpose, these two chemicals interact with two receptors (that we know of), dubbed CB1 and CB2. When things within this system go out of whack, our bodies can run into any number of issues. Some common ones are auto-immune disorders like celiac disease, IBS, Chron’s, etc., or more simple issues like migraines or inflammation.
So, how do compounds of the cannabis plant affect this system? Follow us on social media to be sure not to miss the next installment.