The endocannabinoid System is a biochemical communication system found in mammals including humans. It is important because it enables the body to regulate many functions such as the immune system, appetite control, pain, health and wellness and general well-being. The endocannabinoid system works throughout the body through a network of neurological communicators called CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain, but also other parts of the body. CB2 receptors are found in the organs: their primary function is to aid the immune system. Their main task is to maintain a balance within the body (homeostasis) regardless of external changes that have the possibility of disrupting the body’s natural balance.
Research on the cannabis plant and its effect on the human body led directly to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system. The receptors found in the body respond on different levels to the cannabis plant chemical compounds known as cannabinoids. Cannabinoids have the capability to change physiological systems and have health related benefits. The two most commonly known and used cannabinoids are THC – from the marijuana plant (cannabis sativa), and CBD, known as cannabidiol, where concentrations of CBD are found in the hemp plant (cannabis ruderalis).
The cannabis plant is used for recreational purposes and more importantly for its health benefits. Where THC from the marijuana plant may get you “high”, CBD from the industrial hemp plant has pharmaceutical benefits (non-psychotropic). There is a third compound found in the cannabis plant called Anandamide that has similar effects as THC on cannabinoid receptors. As more research is completed on anandamide and its effect on the endocannabinoid system, new therapies may be developed to assist with the body’s natural activities such as memory function and pain meditation.
Overall health is modulated by the endocannabinoid system. It is important to regulate stress and the negative effects long term stress has on the body. The ECS works with appetite control and can promote appetite by enhancing smell. One of its main functions is normal operation of the brain and nervous system, including pain control. With receptors throughout the body it helps to regulate the circulatory system (heart and blood vessels) and the digestive system.
ECS research continues to uncover more information on this unique biological system that works with nature’s own cannabinoids to regulate and modulate body functions. CBD therapies and products are increasing to complement existing and new research with supplement solutions to traditional ailments and therapies.