What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System is a neuromodulatory system that is spread throughout the body. It is composed of cannabinoid receptors, endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids) and enzymes that assist in the synthesis of the ECS processes. Endocannabinoids (eCBs) are simply cannabinoids (CBD) produced by the body and are integral to our health. A perfect functioning ECS ensures the multiple physiological systems are in balance, as it communicates with all parts to facilitate and maintain homeostasis. The ECS is known to regulate the following:
- Motor Control
- Cardiovascular System Function
- Muscle Formation
- Bone Remodeling and Growth
- Organ Function
- Reproductive System Function
- Skin Health and Sebum Regulation
- Nerve Function
When we consider the many ailments that can result from a lack of balance within these systems, we find a more causal connection and approach to healing. The Endocannabinoid system presents us with a new set of tools to understand how we can take care of ourselves. This is by far what makes current research on the use of CBD and hemp based products so hopeful and exciting.
For more in depth insight into the physiology of the endocannabinoid system click here.
As mentioned above, a healthy ECS will help integrate the systems that control your body’s internal environment. Homeostasis can be thought of as internal balance and harmony. To get a sense how this influences how you feel in your body will clarify what the ECS is doing. By knowing or identifying what your health feels like, you can begin to detect symptoms of ailment earlier as a physical cue that an imbalance needs tending to. There is evidence that nutrition, exercise, sleep, sunshine, and rest can restore and nourish your ECS. You have most likely heard this before, we just are now getting to understand the physiological aspect as to why and how this actually works!
When your ECS is functioning properly, it will feel like you can bounce back easily. You sleep well, feel nutritionally abundant, and resilient or unaffected when things in your daily environment change. If you feel discomfort, fatigue, pain, depression, anything that is ‘too much’ (overwhelmed, overweight, over stimulated, etc) or ‘not enough’ (sleep deprived, fatigue, etc.) this is symptomatic that there is something off balance. If you feel ‘out of whack’ and are not diagnosable, your best bet is to address diet and lifestyle choices before disease sets in. If you are diagnosed with a disease, ailment, or disorder, these choices will be even more important to allow the body to truly heal.
-Jillian Stein, Co-President