What is the Endocannabinoid System? An Introduction for Beginners
If you’ve been looking into trending relaxation strategies like CBD tinctures and calming gummies lately, then you might have seen the word endocannabinoid being thrown around a lot. It’s a term that most people aren’t really used to outside of the medical community, and something that can easily leave you feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused.
That’s why we’re going to introduce you to the basics and how it works to change the way you feel – both physically and mentally. The endocannabinoid system plays a number of crucial roles in the human body. If you’ve recently received a prescription for marijuana and have applied for your card online in New York, you might want to learn a little more and why it’s mentioned so often in your community.
Understanding Your ECS
The term endocannabinoid system is made up of three parts, the cannabinoids themselves, the receptors in your body that those substances bond with, and the enzymes that break things like cannabis down for your body to use. Not only is this a natural part of the body, it’s also a very important one. If you’ve heard some of the claims about the medicinal properties of substances like CBD and THC (components in marijuana) you’ll know that this part of your body can help with everything from relaxation, to pain relief.
To understand how this works, you need to know what homeostasis is – the body’s effort to keep everything in your body in its optimal and stable conditions – no matter what’s happening around you. Just like the electronics in a vehicle, your body is constantly working to track the crucial functions in your body, from temperature, to hormone levels, to general tiredness.
When something is activating outside of the right range, your body uses the ECS to help correct it. For instance, this is what causes your stomach to growl when you’re hungry, or your body to sweat when you’re too hot.
What Do Endocannabinoids Do?
Cannabinoid receptors are some of the most plentiful organisms in our central nervous system, dealing with everything from mood and immune function, to digestion, appetite, inflammation, and even pain reactions. When someone consumes from the cannabis plant, the plant-based substance attaches to the CB1 receptor in the brain, creating a kind of high – that’s the result of THC.
On the other hand, CBD doesn’t cause a high, but it does bind to certain receptors in the body and brain, which is why many people believe that this substance helps with things like relaxation and pain management. A quick search online will reveal a ton of anecdotal evidence of the power of CBD. There are many that are using it as sleep aid in place of over the counter medications that often leave you feeling groggy and lethargic in the morning. Likewise, it has been used for pain management, in place of harmful and addictive opioids. Then there are those that feel it can be beneficial as a tool against anxiety and depression.
In the brain, there are those out there that may have a deficiency in delivering information from one cell in your body to the next. For instance, some doctors believe that Fibromyalgia (also known as chronic fatigue syndrome), migraines and even irritable bowel syndrome are all caused by deficiencies in the way that your ECS works.
Now that it’s growing easier for people to get their hands on their medical marijuana card, the amount of information available on the ECS system and how it works is growing by the day. Going forward, if we can learn how to use correctly, then doctors could use them to treat a number of conditions, ranging from acute and chronic kidney disease, to cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.