THE HUMAN ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Discovered only very recently the ECS (Endocannabinoid System) is a group of compounds known as cannabinoids. This system also contains the receptors they bind to and are found in vital organs like your brain and heart as well as glands. This amazing system was discovered in Jerusalem by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, a professor of medical chemistry and natural products. He was working in a lab at a Hebrew University when he stumbled on the discovery. Together with his team, they uncovered a naturally occurring neurotransmitter called anandamide. They kept digging and what they found was nothing short of remarkable: Anandamide is an “endo” cannabinoid produced in the body, and it is similar in structure and activity to THC derived from cannabis. From this discovery came a better understanding of these compounds and how they link together and form ECS.
I had studied three short anatomy courses for my ETM, yoga and holistic therapy where we learned about all the other systems in your body like your respiratory system, cardiovascular system, endocrine, digestive and nervous system.
So when I started looking into and reading about the Endocannabinoid system I was quite surprised to learn how it is so important to the whole body set up, it acts as communication system between the brain and the human body, with a strong impact on a series of functions from feelings and mood to pain perception and movement.
The endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, and depending on their location, they exert a different action on the organism through the neuron pathways.
The ECS is involved in almost every system in you whole body – cardiovascular, digestion, relaxation, and even the cognitive and memory functions. The ECS is also a key factor in the body’s anti-inflammatory efforts. The ECS is controlled by receptors, which scientists call the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabinoid receptors are even found in the skin, digestive tract, and even in the reproductive organs.
Other mammals such as your dog, cat, horse have this same internal system as us.
The cannabis plant secretes hundreds of chemical compounds, among these are cannabinoids. There are 85 cannabinoids that have been discovered so far, and two of them are produced in greater quantity: THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most prevalent chemical compounds in the cannabis plant. Unlike the more famous molecule, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is completely nonpsychoactive.
Don’t expect to get “high” off of this organic chemical, however. CBD is all relaxation without intoxication.
While CBD still has an effect on your body, consuming CBD by itself isn’t going to send you on the cerebral adventure associated with THC. For decades, medical professionals and the general public overlooked CBD because psychoactive cannabis took center stage. Endo means inside and cannabinoid refers to action on cannabinoid receptors. In contrast, the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are technically called phytocannabinoids.
Many good points of of the ECS include neuroprotection, stress recovery, immune balance, and homeostatic regulation. The last one is a scientific way of referring to a system that creates optimum energy balance in the body.
Somehow, CBD seems to tap into this balancing system to produce its therapeutic effects. CBD is able to interact with cells in our bodies because the molecule has a similar composition to similar chemicals that the human body produces naturally, called endocannabinoids.
We can produce this naturally, the human body produces similar substances on its own. These substances are now known as “endogenous cannabinoids.” Not only do humans produce their own cannabinoids, but they also have receptors designed specifically to recognise and respond to the endogenous cannabinoids produced. Together, the body's endogenous cannabinoids and the receptors that bind with them form the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for a number of functions within the human body, such as maintaining homeostasis.
Researchers have discovered that the "runner's high", usually attributed to endorphins – the body's self-produced opiates – may actually be caused by endocannabinoids, self-produced chemicals similar to those found in the cannabis plant.
Other ways (without introducing the cannabis plant) to make our own healthy cannabinoids have a healthy & effective ECS System would be the following:
By reducing your stress levels you can alter the cannabinoid activity. Prolonged exposure to elevated glucocorticoids (cortisol), such as those induced by chronic stress conditions, significantly reduces hippocampal CB1 receptors, leading to lower cannabinoid function. A recent study suggests that CB1 receptor deficiency may mimic the effects of chronic stress on emotional behaviour.
Exercise increases the CB1 receptor sensitivity and also increases anandamide, which is our natural CB1 activator. There is evidence to suggests that the activation of endogenous cannabinoids through exercise could account for exercise addiction. It's that freakin awesomne feeling after your crazy fun jump about or Yoga or dance or whatever movement practise gives you that inner glow!
It describes a feeling of euphoria after exercising, which is often combined with decreased anxiety and a higher tolerance to pain.
Anandamide, 2-AG, 2-AGE, and other endogenous cannabinoids are derived from arachidonic acid. The researchers also discovered that the anti-inflammatory molecules, which are called omega-3 endocannabinoid epoxides, have other properties that influence blood vessel dilation and blood platelet aggregation. They conclude that the identification of these new molecules "may aid in the development of therapeutics for neuroinflammatory and cerebrovascular diseases.' Keep those Oily fish, eggs, etc in your diet!! You are what you eat!!
While there are many more natural ways to bring in the good cannabinoids to our bodies (Sunshine, Fish oil, Cold showers, Estradiol, Butyrate, Testosterone and DHT, chocolate, Tea, Cava, Vitamin A, Calcium, Potassium) there are also many ways to deplete the system, such as Ibruprofen, Morphine, THC Dependence, Fluoxetine, Emotional stress, Glucose, Silver, Bile and Silicon dioxide.
Managing ECS with CBD
Because your body tends to not make enough cannabinoids naturally you can choose to supplement them. Research has discovered that cannabinoid supplementation can help build more natural cannabinoid receptors in your body which can help keep you in homeostasis.
Modern medicine or/& research is recognising that the endocannabinoid system is vital for health in a growing number of physiological functions, both in the central and peripheral nervous systems and in peripheral organs, Dr. Palcher wrote. "Modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few."
Having the ECS working efficiently also helps to manage the sleep-wake cycle, making sure that your body becomes tired at night and more alert in the morning. Similarly, endocannabinoid molecules tell you when you’re hungry and signal that it’s time to eat at certain times of the day.
Hope you enjoyed reading a little intro about THE HUMAN ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM, l sincerely believe Knowledge is Power! And the more we can share this type of chat with friends, neigbours, etc. By Sharing how taking life back to natural methods could be MASSIVELY EMPOWERING.
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