Most people are well aware that cannabis plants have various therapeutic effects on the human body including both mental and physical health. This herb seems to affect almost every aspect of the human body and mind. But have you ever considered why that is, and how it is possible? The answer is the Endocannabinoid System.
What is Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is one of the most important physiological systems in the human body and is involved in regulating numerous bodily functions and maintaining homeostasis (balance.)
Components of the ECS are found almost everywhere in the body including the brain, immune system, organs, connective tissues, glands, and endocrine system. The Endocannabinoid System’s main goal is homeostasis – the internal balance of many functions and systems within the body.
Yet, in spite of its importance, the ECS was largely unknown until only a few decades ago. Early in the 1990s researchers and scientists discovered endocannabinoids that were produced by the human body itself.
Endocannabinoids are natural signaling molecules that are similar to the cannabinoids found in cannabis. They soon realized that cannabis produced its effects by mimicking the endocannabinoids produced by the body.
The Endocannabinoid System is mainly composed of these endocannabinoids, two types of receptors that are distributed around the body to receive signals from the endocannabinoids, and enzymes that help break down cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. This system’s goal is to maintain that homeostasis internally in our body.
What Does Endocannabinoid System Affect?
The components in the Endocannabinoid System are thought to regulate many important functions such as:
- Immune Function
- Reproduction and Fertility
- Temperature Regulation
- Motor Control
Internal balance, stability, and homeostasis are vital for our wellness and survival, so if the Endocannabinoid System doesn’t work properly, we can experience many health issues.
Cannabis products, such as CBD Hemp Oil Extract, can stimulate activity in the Endocannabinoid System. The components of the Endocannabinoid System located throughout our bodies are obvious targets for potential help from cannabis products.
Receptors in Endocannabinoid System
Two main endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, are found throughout our body.
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system, connective tissues, glands, and organs; CB1 receptors target:
- Motor Activity
- Motor Coordination
- Short-term memory
- Immune cells
CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system, particularly immune cells. CB2 receptors mainly target:
- Gut; Kidneys; Pancreas; Adipose tissue
- Skeletal muscle
- Reproductive system
- Immune system
- Respiratory tract
- Central nervous system
- Cardiovascular system
Endocannabinoids bind with these receptors and stimulate them naturally.
Phytocannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis and hemp that work in the same manner as endocannabinoids to stimulate cannabinoid receptors in our bodies. THC, the psychoactive compound, is the best known of all these substances, but non-psychoactive cannabinoids such as CBD, CBG, CBN, and CBDa all interact with the ECS in many different ways.
This is the key to understanding why users of cannabis products see such a wide variety of results. Many different types of cannabinoids have the potential to affect different types of receptors that facilitate balance across many different bodily functions and processes. And thanks to the Entourage Effect, all cannabinoids found in hemp work synergistically better together than separately, to produce broader and fuller effects.
Even though at this time evidence shows that the Endocannabinoid System has an impact on both physiological and cognitive processes, including appetite, discomfort, mood, memory, reproduction, fertility, and pregnancy, more research needs to be completed to fully understand this system.
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