What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has an important and extraordinary role within your body that ventures beyond the process it’s named for. This process oversees how your body interacts with cannabis in all its forms, hemp or otherwise.
Cannabis has a profound influence on the human body, and there is a lot of scientific literature to parse through regarding the therapeutic effects of the plant and its cannabinoids. However, as you explore the variety of therapeutic compounds in this plant, they seem to affect a plethora of aspects of our bodies and minds.
How does one plant have so much therapeutic potential for such a broad spectrum of conditions? How could it be so safe while offering powerful effects? As researchers chased after these answers, they discovered the endocannabinoid system, a central component for the health and healing of the human body.
The Endocannabinoid System
To start to understand this system, let’s break down its name: endocannabinoid.
- “Endo” is short for “endogenous,” which means it is naturally occurring in the body.
- “Cannabinoid,” of course, comes from “cannabis”
Together, these terms refer to the compounds that naturally occur in our bodies. The system itself is composed of three parts.
- Receptors in our nervous system and throughout the body, with which cannabinoids and endocannabinoids bond
- Enzymes that break down these cannabinoids and endocannabinoids
In addition to the ECS being a natural part of the human body, it is a vital one. Between THC and CBD, you likely hear a plethora of claims about the medicinal properties of cannabis. Because many of these claims seem unrelated, it just sounds like a lot of hype from people who want all cannabis legalized.
However, as we’ve mentioned, there are studies to back up these claims. Moreover, the far-reaching and seemingly disconnected effects have more to do with the size of the endocannabinoid system.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors can be found throughout your body:
- The brain
- Connective tissues
- Immune cells
In all of these tissues, the cannabinoid compounds perform different tasks. Still, the goal is always the same. These compounds work towards homeostasis, the maintenance and stability of your internal environment despite any fluctuations outside.
Cannabinoids and Homeostasis
At every level of your biological self, cannabinoids promote homeostasis. From the sub-cellular through to the organism, the ECS works hard to maintain stability. For example, think about the different gauges on the dashboard of your car. All of those gauges let you know whether things are or aren’t operating the way they should.
Similarly, your body works to monitor the important levels and functions occurring in your body. From checking your temperature to monitoring your heartbeat, your body activities the ECS to correct anything not operating within the right range. When it’s really hot out, and you start to sweat, that’s the endocannabinoid system trying to cool you down.
The ECS works through cannabinoid receptors found in certain tissues. The human body has at least two types of these receptors:
- CB1, located in the central nervous system
- CB2, located in the peripheral nervous system, the digestive system, and in specialized cells in the immune system
Scientists believe cannabinoid receptors to be among the most plentiful receptors in the central nervous system. Some researchers even hypothesize that there is a third undiscovered one as well.
Once the endocannabinoids accomplish their goal of bringing things into balance, the enzymes come through to break them down. With full spectrum CBD products, you introduce more cannabinoids into your system, which can have a broad range of effects on your physiology. This has made CBD products the subject of studies for potential treatments, leading to a ton of research across the globe. The change in its legal status has also driven research.
The Bottom Line
With the naturally occurring endocannabinoid system’s impact across the human body, cannabinoids such as CBD and the other compounds found in hemp hold a lot of potential for treatment. If you’re curious about the potential of CBD, Fletcher Farms offers a range of high-quality products with controlled doses of our full spectrum CBD distillate.
If you take other medications, be sure to consult your doctor before self-treating with CBD products, as they have the potential to interfere with medications. Should you have any questions about our products, feel free to ask! We’re always happy to talk CBD and hemp with our customers.