Before you think about leaving this post un-read, understanding the endocannabinoid system is very important! And this is a quick 5 minute read with a neat little graphic for ya 🙂
Healthy relationships play an influential role in the quality of our everyday life. From our family bonds, the environments in which we live, the food we eat, how we physically feel, to how we see ourselves, certain connections are critical for balance.
That’s also true for our body, which has a life-essential regulatory system based on biochemical relationships that help us to maintain equilibrium, despite life’s ups and downs. It’s called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
Hemp has a powerful lock and key relationship with the ECS. Let’s break down the basics of this health-positive duo.
What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?
Discovered in the 1990s, the ECS is thought to be one of the most vital and vast receptor systems for sustaining good health. It affects many of our biological processes. Not just for humans, but also for all vertebrate animals, and some invertebrates, too.
The system contains cannabinoid receptors, the “locks” and a group of diverse chemical compounds called cannabinoids, the “keys”. The body produces its endogenous cannabinoids, most notably anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG).
Endocannabinoids are found in many places within our bodies including: the immune system, the central nervous system, the brain, our organs, connective tissue, and glands.
So, where does hemp fit into the picture?
There’s a reason why hemp works so well with the ECS. It has a set of keys to the kingdom! Hemp contains elevated levels of Cannabidiol (CBD), an active phytocannabinoid that works synergistically with other secondary phytocannabinoids and compounds like terpenes and flavonoids.
What does the ECS do?
The primary objective of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis. The origin of the word homeostasis comes from the Greek words for “steady”. Which in our case, means providing a state of internal stability necessary for survival, despite fluctuations in our external environment. The ECS is also involved in many physiological processes like appetite, sleep, digestion, mood, memory, metabolism, neuro-protection, hormones, and heart function.
What Are The Locks And Keys?
The ECS has a series of receptors on cells throughout the body designed to accept cannabinoids, like the CBD and other cannabinoids found in CBD flower.
There are two main types of receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) that receive three types of cannabinoids:
Endocannabinoids – The cannabinoids our body makes
Phytocannabinoids – Natural plant cannabinoids
Synthetic Cannabinoids – Synthetically created in a lab
CB1 is mostly found in the brain, and also the lungs, kidney, liver, bones, heart, and male and female reproductive organs. This receptor is more keyed into tetrahydrocannabinol, the main cannabinoid found in marijuana.
CB2 lives in the immune system, with a significant presence in the spleen as well as the lungs, liver, bone and muscle.
The Final Piece Of The ECS Puzzle
Metabolic enzymes, FAAH and MAGL, are used by the ECS to accelerate chemical reactions and efficiently break down cannabinoids once they’ve served their purpose.
In Conclusion 🙂
Understanding your relationship with the Endocannabinoid System and homeostasis is essential for life. It’s hard to deny that it holds the keys to how we thrive, heal and function for better holistic wellness. Science continues to reveal many answers as to why our body is so responsive to hemp and whole-plant cannabinoids so stay tuned!