The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, refers to a collection of cell receptors and corresponding molecules located throughout the body - in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. Though it performs different tasks in each tissue, its goal is always keeping the body at optimal balance. Due to its ability to maintain homeostasis within the body, the ECS is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human heath.

There are two primary cell receptors that make up the ECS, Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2), which are locks.

CB1 receptor are abundant in the central nervous system, and CB2 receptors are more often found on immune cells, in the gastrointestinal tract, and in the peripheral nervous system.

Cannabinoid receptors are found in so many place in the body, they play a significant role in regulating many bodily functions like: sleep, appetite, digestion, hunger, mode, motor control, immune function, reproduction and fertility, pleasure and reward, pain, memory, and temperature regulation.

Endocannabinoids are the key chemicals that fit with the CB1 and CB2 receptors that tell your body when to get these processes started and when it's time to stop. When this system is disrupted, you may experience dysfunction in some or all of the bodily processes listed.

The body produces some of its own endocannabinoids, but we get most of them from food, especially omega 3 fatty acids. A  2011 study linked a deficiency of Omega 3s with mood changes caused by poor endocannabinoid regulation. A diet rich in Omega 3s can also give your metabolism a boost and prevent obesity related diseases like diabetes.

Even though we talk a lot about cannabinoid receptors, enzymes play a big role in ECS function as well. Enzymes essentially go around and clean up after the ECS, breaking down any leftover cannabinoids that haven’t found a receptor to bind with.

One endocannabinoid that gets a lot of buzz is called anandamide (also known as the Bliss Molecule), a neurotransmitter that affects the immune system, eating and sleeping patterns, and pain relief. Anandamide works on both CB1 and CB2 receptors, and elevated levels of anandamide are believed to ease anxiety and nervous thought patterns. Unfortunately, there is an enzyme called FAAH that breaks down any excess anandamide in your system. 

Full-spectrum CBD oil stops enzyme FAAH from breaking down all of the anandamide, and therefore makes more of it available for use by your cells. This is why CBD oil is a natural mood-lifter without psychoactive effects.

In addition to regulating our internal and cellular homeostasis, cannabinoids influence a person's relationship with the external environment. Socially, the administration of cannabinoids clearly alters human behavior, often promoting sharing, humor, and creativity. By mediating neurogenesis, neuronal plasticity, and learning, cannabinoids may directly influence a person's open-mindedness and ability to move beyond limiting patterns of thought and behavior from past situations. Reformatting these old patterns is an essential part of health in our quickly changing environment.

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