The endocannabinoid system plays an important role in our health, so why are we just learning about it now?
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) interconnects all of our systems, organs and tissues and responds to changes in the internal and external environment. Its purpose is to maintain balance (homeostasis) in the body and it does this by quickly making compounds (endocannabinoids) when needed and which are broken down in response to stresses on the body such as brain injury, anxiety, inflammation, etc. When the body is chronically out of balance in a particular area (chronic stress, immune system dysfunction) disease can develop.
Cannabinoids are produced in 3 ways:
by the body itself (endocannabinoids),
by plants, including cannabis (phytocannabinoids)
CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in our endocannabinoid system. They are specifically programmed to accept cannabinoids, and can be found throughout the brain, central nervous system and organs. Cannabinoids are used by the body to impact physiological functions such as pain modulation, memory, appetite, inflammation, and other brain and immune system responses.
Interestingly, very little attention is given to the Endocannabinoid System in medical school, leaving most medical professionals with little knowledge of its important effects on the body. As a result, little research has been done on cannabinoids and their interplay with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, and their great benefits to our health.
With the increased interest in medical cannabis and the healing power of phytocannabinoids like THC and CBD, we are starting to see more research on the ECS and how we use it to balance our health.