Hi I’m Julie Jabs and thanks so much for stopping by!
So what is this endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) that you keep hearing about?!
It’s probably one of the most important medical discoveries of our time, in my opinion at least. Discovered in 1990 while working with lab rats, soon after they found that all mammals had this receptor system. So now a LOT more research needed to be done.
To understand the ECS, it first helps to understand what homeostasis is.
Basically, homeostasis is your body’s efforts to keep everything in the right zone. Our bodies have seven main systems that need to be in balance to keep our bodies functioning like they were designed to. Think of your car dashboard, or all the lights, buttons and gauges on an airplane, they all tell the operator how it’s running – if everything is where it needs to be. Same idea with our ECS. When something is operating outside of the right range, your body activates the ECS to help correct it. So when you’re really hot and begin to sweat, thank your ECS for working to cool you down. Stomach growling? That’s your ECS helping remind you to eat because you need fuel. The ECS does this via cannabinoid receptors found in select tissues.
There’s two types of these cannabinoids. There are Endo, which is endocannabinoid, meaning it’s made inside the body. Then there’s the cannabinoid, which is the same thing, but it’s made by the hemp plant. So we have our natural cannabinoids, and then we have the cannabinoids from the plant. The “cannabinoid” receptors in the brain — the CB1 receptors — Act like traffic cops to control the levels and activity of most of the other neurotransmitters. They regulate things by immediate feedback, turning up or down the activity of whichever system needs to be adjusted, whether that is hunger, temperature, or alertness. A second type of cannabinoid receptor, the CB2 receptor, exists mostly in our immune tissues and is critical to helping our immune system. These CB2 receptors play a big role in modulating intestinal inflammation, contraction, and pain in inflammatory bowel conditions.
Cannabinoid receptors are believed to be among the most plentiful in our central nervous system, and some researchers hypothesize that we could have a third, undiscovered one, as well.
Through those receptors, the ECS helps regulate a lot of important functions, such as:
- Immune function
- Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
- Motor control
- Temperature regulation
Your body activates the ECS with precision so that it impacts only what it needs to. For example, if your reproductive hormones are out of whack, it will work to regulate them without altering your digestion or immune system.
Then, 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. It’s a precise response, and there isn’t a medication that can do what your body needs. This is why CBD has been so amazing for so many people! It is able to balance out different things in different people making it seems like a “cure all” type product. It is a completely different for every body though and takes patience to get to the therapeutic dose.
Cannabinoids are being researched as potential treatments for all kinds of conditions, here are a few in the works:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Neurological, neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, and psychiatric illnesses
- Acute and chronic kidney disease
- Autoimmune diseases
- Chronic inflammatory diseases
- Chronic pain conditions
There’s so much research being done, but can you imagine the impact this will have on how we treat and look at some of the “medical mysteries” or impossible to cure diseases?! It’s pretty exciting, especially for me and how much it’s changed my life since figuring all this out!
What is your experience with CBD – are you just learning about all this or well versed and loving it too? Let me know in the comments 🙂 Also post any questions or topics you’d like to know more about.
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~Julie Jabs ~
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