What is the Endocannabinoid System?
Highlights of the Endocannabinoid System and CBD: An Overview
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) and CBD have an intimate relationship. The reason we discuss CBD at the same time that we discuss the endocannabinoid system is that CBD is a cannabinoid. The endocannabinoid system utilizes cannabinoids to function. Everyone produces two types of endogenous cannabinoid compounds. The ECS also utilizes two cannabinoid receptors. This network of receptors and compounds is vital to achieve in the overall maintenance of health and to achieve homeostasis. Fortunately for us, mother nature provides plant species like hemp that contain compounds that relate to the endocannabinoid system.
When addressing the endocannabinoid system and CBD, it makes sense to mention the source of most CBD products. CBD can be found in all varieties of Cannabis sativa L. It is a component of industrial hemp and marijuana. Industrial hemp is a cannabis variety that produces under 0.3% of the phytocannabinoid THC. THC is a psychotropic compound; and because it is only present in trace levels of industrial hemp, this plant is unable to create the “high” associated with marijuana. Marijuana refers to any high-THC strain of cannabis. This amount ranges from about 15%-28% THC by dry weight. While hemp and marijuana are part of the same species, their traits can vary quite a bit.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for monitoring a long list of health functions. It is crucial in regards to inflammation, is integral to the immune system, and it helps maintain the proper functioning of intestinal health. It also plays a role in the balancing of mood and establishing neuroprotection. The endocannabinoid network contains cannabinoid receptors in almost every tissue of the human body. Its reach is very extensive, and we are just beginning to understand how to modulate ECS function for our benefit. The first place to start is with diet. A clean healthy diet that helps you to maintain proper digestion is the first stop. Then begin to add in omega-fatty acid sources. These lipids are the precursors for our own endogenous cannabinoid compounds. Eating the proper amount of these omegas can help properly tone the endocannabinoid system. Many already take a fish-oil supplement or enjoy a plant source of omegas such as walnuts for our health. Only now are we realizing that one of the reasons these omega fat-containing food sources are so important is that they help revitalize the endocannabinoid system. This allows the ECS to function properly in the regulation of human health.
What Does ECS Stand For?
When researching CBD or the endocannabinoid system, it is easy to come across a few new abbreviations and key terms. Many become confused and ask things like “What does ECS stand for?” and “What is a 2-arachidonoylglycerol?”
The ECS means the endo-cannabinoid-system. Although many utilize this abbreviation, perhaps the most iconic figure to embrace the term was “The Scientist.” The father of modern cannabis research, Raphael Mechoulam, has indicated that the ECS is “the largest receptor system in the human body” and that “the human brain produces its very own cannabis – a chemical that they named anandamide after the Sanskrit word ananda, ‘bliss’.”
Understanding the functioning of the endocannabinoid system truly requires the study of every organ of the body. Under close examination, we can learn what different levels of cannabinoid receptor activation accomplishes in each region. The basic depiction of the ECS is that of a balance between the anabolism and catabolism of the human system. This is the building up and the breaking down of varying aspects of the body. Striking the right balance between this is the key to health. With this homeostasis, the body stays strong and doesn’t run into the difficulties of these beneficial processes over-acting.