The Endocannabinoid System
What Is It?
Discovered in the 20th Century, our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a network of cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. These receptors work to keep the body in balance and play a pivotal role in process such as:
- Appetite & Digestion
- Immune Response
- Temperature Regulation
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2. Each has a role to play in maintaining optimal health.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system, and to a lesser extent in other tissues. They have been found to play a role in mood, sleep, memory, motor regulation and discomfort perception.
CB2 receptors are mostly in the peripheral organs especially cells associated with the immune system. When activated, these receptors encourage the body’s natural ability to balance inflammation, which can reduce discomfort.
How Do the Receptors Work?
The Endocannabinoid System and its receptors are there to help your body maintain balance (also known as homeostasis).
Is your temperature too high, too low, or just right? Are your hormone levels what they should be? Is your heart beating too fast? Do you need fuel or rest? Is too much of something building up in your bloodstream or inside of your cells?
When something is operating outside of the right range, your body activates the ECS to help correct it.
But, to do this, it needs cannabinoids to bind to those receptors…
A Key to the Lock
When your body has the cannabinoids it needs, they link to the receptors opening the lock that triggers your ECS.
It sends messages, triggers cellular responses, and helps your body reach its natural state of homeostasis.
Once the endocannabinoids have done their job and brought things into balance, certain enzymes come along to break them down and prevent them from going too far and upsetting the balance in the opposite direction.