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The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System

The whole reason that CBD and other cannabinoids have a therapeutic effect on our body and mind is that we have a system in our body that can recognize and utilize it: the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Before explaining what ECS is, it is important to understand homeostasis.

What is Homeostasis?

Homeostasis refers to maintaining balance in our bodies. Specifically, balance in the body such as body temperature, blood sugar level, water content, and more. In order for the body to function properly, we need to remain within certain parameters and if something is too low or too high, the body can correct itself. This is what the endocannabinoid system does.

What is the ECS?

The endocannabinoid system is a network of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that exist throughout our bodies. All humans and all animals, including vertebrates (mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish) and invertebrates (sea urchins, leeches, mussels and others) have been found to have the system. It is crucial for survival.

Cannabinoid receptors, found on the surface of your cells, are ubiquitous throughout the body and “listen” to the environment around each cell. They transmit information on current conditions to the cell and thereby jump-start the proper cellular response, if necessary. 

CB1 and CB2 receptors are the predominant receptors in the ECS. CB1 receptors are abundant in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 receptors are sparse in the central nervous system but are common throughout the periphery, mostly on immune cells. ECS receptors are present in almost every organ and organ system throughout the body, influencing activities in the heart, lungs, brain, blood vessels, GI tract, liver, stomach, and more. 

How was the ECS discovered?

Scientists discovered the human endocannabinoid system in the 1990s. Scientists were trying to understand how THC, the primary intoxicating substance in marijuana, affected the body. What they discovered was a remarkably complex network of cannabinoid receptors expressed in cells of both the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Benefits of Supplementation

Before cannabis prohibition, hemp and marijuana had been used for thousands of years to treat a number of ailments, including epilepsy, headaches, arthritis, pain, depression, and nausea. Yet it was only with the discovery of the ECS in the early 1990s that we began to understand the biological basis for these therapeutic effects, sparking renewed interest in cannabis as medicine.

More recent research has shown that small doses of natural cannabinoids can help support our ECS, suggesting that low daily doses of naturally occurring cannabinoids can support our body’s most important system for finding and maintaining wellbeing.

Supplementing the body’s natural cannabinoids with full-spectrum CBD may help restore the body to a better state of balance and maintain homeostasis and equilibrium.

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