Everyone has active Endocannabinoid system (ECS) in their body, even before they are born. This system is present all through the body and promotes health and balance physiologically. Your body knows how and when to make cannabinoids to keep you healthy.
ECS works like automated computer program that regulates biochemical reactions in your body by switching it on and off, depending on the need.
It helps to regulate sleep, appetite, hunger, digestion, emotions, stress, memory, cognition, inflammation, pain, motor control, cardiovascular function, immune function, fertility, temperature regulation.
“In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment” -Dr Dustin Sulak.
Endocannabinoid System consists of many components, however we will be concentrating on three major components shown below:
There are two primary Cannabinoid Receptors – the ‘locks’: Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2). We can compare them to the ‘locks’ that can respond to certain kind of Endocannabinoids ‘keys’. Endocannabinoids bind to Receptors ‘unlocking’ them to start the process and when process is completed they are degraded – ‘eaten’ by Enzymes .
Endocannabinoids got their name from cannabis as plant cannabinoids were discovered first.
Two endocannabinoids were discovered in early 90’s by group of scientists who cloned CB1 receptor that is present mostly in our brain. They have established that this receptor is activated by cannabinoid isolated from cannabis plant called (identified by famous Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam in 1964).
Couple of years later, they also find out that our bodies produce our own cannabinoid called Anandamide. They have started researching even more and came across receptor CB2 which is mostly present in our immune system. They have cloned it and learned that this receptor is activated by phytocannabinoid called CBD and THC as well.
Mid 1995 they have discovered second Endocannabinoid called Arachidonolyglycerol (2-AG).
If your body doesn’t produce enough cannabinoids then endocannbinoid system won’t be able to function properly, causing unbalance in maintaining homeostasis. This occurrence can lead to several illnesses.
More importantly, modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system by adding right dosage of cannabinoids derived from plant, turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from:
- mood and anxiety disorders
- Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease
- neuropathic pain
- multiple sclerosis
- spinal cord injury
- many forms of cancer
- myocardial infarction,
- chronic pain
- obesity/metabolic syndrome
- hepatitis C
- and many others
This is just simplified explanation of endocannabinoid system to help you understand what it is and why it is so essential to keep this universal system in its optimal level.