Beyond interacting with cannabis, the process it is named for, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays an important role in our bodies ensuring that our bodies’ internal system is stable and optimal at all times.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
To answer that question, we will have to break down the word "endocannabinoid." "endo" is short for "endogenous," which means that it is produced naturally inside of your body, and "Cannabinoid" is derived from "cannabis."
Therefore, "endocannabinoid system" simply means a network of cannabis-like elements occurring naturally inside us.
Why the ECS is Crucial for the Body Crucial for Homeostasis
Homeostasis simply refers to your body's efforts to keep everything in the right zone, which happens to be the function of ECS anyway. Homeostasis tries to keep your internal environ
ment stable and optimal despite and in spite of what's going on in the environment around you.
Just like the electronics dashboard in a car or plane, that continuously monitors whether the machines are at optimum, our bodies also work continuously to monitor important levels and functions in our bodies. Is the temperature too low, too high, or just right? Are our hormone levels what they should be? Is the heart beating too slow, or too fast? Do you need to exercise or rest? Is too much of something building up inside our cells or in our bloodstream?When something is amiss outside the normal range, our bodies activates the ECS to help correct it. So, the next time you are too hot and you begin to sweat, thank your ECS for attempting to cool you down. When your stomach begins to grumble that is simply your ECS reminding you to put food in there as you are running low on fuel.
The Role of Cannabinoids
The ECS does this through the cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues around the body. Cannabinoids are receptors in the nervous system and around your body, that bond with endocannabinoid system to ensure that it is functioning normally. It also occurs naturally in the hemp plant as THC and CBD.
There are at least two known types of cannabinoids receptors:
CB1 – This is located in the central nervous system and comprises the brain and nerves of the spinal cord.
CB2 – This lies in the extreme ends of the nervous system, specialized cells in the immune system and the digestive system.Through these receptors, the ECS helps regulate various crucial functions in the body such as:
Your body activates the ECS with precision so that it affects only what it needs to. Say, your reproductive hormones are malfunctioning; it will work to regulate them without interfering with your immune system or your digestion.
Then, once the endocannabinoids have everything working at optimum again, certain enzymes come along to process and break them down hence deter them from going too far and upsetting the balance in the opposite extreme.
This precision is the main difference between internal cannabinoids, and what happens if someone introduces external cannabinoids say, through smoking marijuana or chewing CBD gummies that flood their system with cannabinoids.
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