Endocannabinoid System Homeostasis

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is finally gaining the awareness and attention it deserves today. The endocannabinoid system is a very important human system that is in charge of maintaining a big amount of physiological functions. It is important for our survival and equally important for our homeostasis. Homeostasis is your body’s ability to keep everything in the right balance and equilibrium. It tries to maintain a stable inner environment regardless of the outside forces and environment. For example, it doesn’t want the body to be too hot or too cold and always wants the right conditions for our cells.

The ECS has multiple cannabinoid receptors throughout the human body and within that, there are molecules called endocannabinoid. The three main components of the endocannabinoid system are; cannabinoid receptors (surface of the cells), endocannabinoids (small molecules that activate the cannabinoid receptors) and metabolic enzymes (break down endocannabinoids after use). Though we mainly learn about the 11 major organ functions in the human body, the ECS is considered the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining health and homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system is considered the bridge between the function of the mind and body through a study conducted by Dr. Nick DiPatrizio.

While there may seem to be a lot known about cannabinoids and the endocannabinoids system, there is still a lot to learn and understand in terms of the complexity of interactions between the various cannabinoids, the systems and even the cells.

Here is some information that has been discovered and known so far;

Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life. Cannabinoid receptors are mostly found in all parts of the body. Scientists have found two types; CB1 and CB2. CB1 is mainly found in the brain and the central nervous system, while the CB2 appears mostly in organs and tissues including the immune system and the digestive system. One of the cannabinoid-like chemicals discovered is called Anandamide (aka the happiness molecule), which has most of the receptors in the brain and is critical for maintaining a healthy central nervous system.

A functional cannabinoid system is critical for health, everything from fertility, to nursing, to growth in the uterus, to your ability to heal from injury and to adapt to the ever altering environment and more. The ECS and the cannabinoid receptors are always communicating with one another. Essentially how it works, is the body senses information, either internally or externally and it produces the required endocannabinoid for the job. They then travel throughout the body and bind to the corresponding cannabinoid receptor, forming together.  The endocannabinoids are basically lipid-based neurotransmitters, which means they are produced from fats. Your body has different enzymes that work together to transform these fatty substances into anandamide (aka the happiness molecule) and 2-AG.

Scientists are only just starting to understand the endocannabinoid system, the complexity and how the ECS receptors can be found almost everywhere in the body. Endocannabinoids and cannabinoids are usually found at the connecting point of different body systems, which allows communication and harmonization between the different cell types.

The ECS is intelligent and precise in its ability to impact and regulate what it needs to in the body fairly accurately. For example, if your digestion is out of balance, it can help regulate and balance it without interfering with your reproductive hormones or your immune system. It is a specific response because it uses particular enzymes to work and prevent irregular balance in the body (homeostasis).

In the brain, cannabinoids and endocannabinoids work as neurotransmitters, which is like chemical messengers giving information from one cell to another.

It is known that the ECS is also connected to many functions of the body, helping regulate many functions including;

Metabolism, appetite, mood, stress, liver function, memory, learning ability, pain, inflammation, sleep, motor control and development, nerve function, skin, pleasure, joy and even reproduction and fertility.

Multiple studies has shown how easily the endocannabinoid system can be thrown out of balance, from something as simple as diet, stress levels and lack of physical activity. Unfortunately many health concerns can stem from a deficiency in the endocannabinoid system, which can lead to hypersensitivity, inflammation and pain including, migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS and much more.


How does CBD influence the ECS?

The cannabis plant uses multiple cannabinoids to promote its own health and prevent disease. Cannabinoids have antioxidant properties and even help neutralize the harmful free radicals generated by UV rays, which protects the cells. Free radicals in humans, can cause compromised health including; cancer and affect your ability to heal.

Scientists believe that CBD prevents endocannabinoid from being broken down, which helps maintain homeostasis. Some researchers believe that CBD can bind to a cannabinoid receptor, but has not been confirmed yet.  One known function of CBD in the brain is to stop FAAH enzyme from breaking down the anandamide (aka the happiness molecule), therefore the anandamide can function better. This is one reason why it is believed that CBD can help with nervous system troubles including anxiety, stress and depression.

CBD acts upon the CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body to help produce a number of positive effects. Though, as mentioned CBD does not bind directly to either of these receptors, it rather impacts them indirectly, including activating the TRPV1 receptor, which helps functions including pain, inflammation and more.

Research has shown that small doses of natural cannabinoids from hemp or CBD (Cannabis) can help support the ECS system by helping its signaling to the body and build more cannabinoid receptors. They can act as a tonic to our central physiologic healing system. Phytocannabinoids are plant substances that stimulate cannabinoid receptors. Dosing with phytocannabinoids is believed to help boost your body’s natural production of endocannabinoids, which helps deliver it to the body parts most in need.

Multiple research suggests that CBD can help activate the serotonin receptors that help create the relaxing and calming effects in the body, while also improving adenosine levels in the brain that is responsible for regulating receptor activities. CBD hasn’t been proven to trigger either receptor directly, but rather modifies the receptors ability to bind to the cannabinoids.

According to the National Institute of Health, CBD can be useful for a number of different ailments including;

Pain, Epilepsy, Inflammation, Acne, Parkinson’s, ALS, MS, Depression, Anxiety, Nausea, Rheumatoid arthritis, withdrawals from substance abuse, psoriasis, heart disease, IBS. ADHD and even diabetes.

WRITTEN BY - Tania | The Herbalist
Visit award winning Tearapeutic.com to learn more about this amazing Author and Herbalist!




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