A Quick Guide to the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
Discovered only in the mid 90’s, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for interacting with and modulating every other receptor system within our bodies.
Although it plays an extremely critical role in maintaining balance without our bodies, it is only taught, or briefly mentioned, in less than 9% of America’s medical schools.
What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system that governs homeostatic balance within the human body.
The ECS ensures and maintains physiological and neurological balance within and between your body’s internal organs. The Endocannabinoid system was not discovered until the early 1990’s by research exploring the molecular properties of THC and its interactions within the human body.
The Endocannabinoid System exists and is active in your body even if you do not use cannabis.
What are Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the cannabis plant that play a critical role in regulating a range of functions and processes by interacting with our ECS, including sleep, mood, appetite, digestion, memory, reproduction, fertility, and more.
With 480 different compounds present in the plant, only around 66 are termed cannabinoids. The most well-known among these compounds is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is another important component, which makes up about 40% of the plant resin extract.
Primary Functions of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The primary function of the Endocannabinoid System is to maintain Homeostatic Balance.
If homeostasis is disrupted, the imbalance will lead to disease states, medical conditions, and disorders unless remediated or controlled.
Processes in the Body the ECS is Linked to:
- Appetite and Digestion
- Chronic Pain
- Inflammation and Immune System Responses
- Motor Control
- Cardiovascular System Function
- Muscle Formation and Recovery
- Bone Remodeling and Growth
- Liver Function
- Reproductive System Function
- Stress Response
- Skin and Nerve function
These functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to the stability of your internal environment.
For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation by signaling the organs necessary to implement the healing process.
Maintaining homeostasis is the primary role of our Endocannabinoid System. Contact us for more info!
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