What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System is a group of cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain, as well as the central and peripheral nervous systems. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) plays a very important role in the physiological processes attributing to human health; including mood, appetite, pain-sensations, and memory—while also dulling the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Endocannabinoids and their receptors can be found in the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs–promoting homeostasis and serving as a mediator to our physiological system.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors can be found in the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs
2-AG [2-Arachidonoylglycerol] is an endocannabnioid that is present at relatively high-levels in the central nervous system. It binds to CB1 receptors much like the phytocannabnioid, CBD; which plays a role in anxiety behavior, inflammation, over-arousal, behavioral addictions and motor control. Anandamide is a endocannabinoid that effects CB1 and CB2 receptors which modulate pain, mood, memory, appetite and fertility. Phytocannabnioids are cannabinoids that occur naturally within cannabis plants whereas endocannabinoids exist naturally within mammals.
Both 2-AG and anandamide trigger cannabinoid receptors, as well as synthetic cannabinoids and organic cannabinoids such as THC and cannabidiol [CBD] trigger these receptors.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
Cannabinoid binding sites exist throughout the nervous systems. The two most pertinent subtypes of cannabinoid receptors are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptor is expressed predominantly in the brain and central nervous system–with receptors also found in the lungs, liver and kidneys. While the CB2 receptor is mainly found present in the immune system.
Emerging data suggests that activated CB1 receptors directly increase appetite–and it is thought that certain neurons stimulusly produce endocannabinoids that work to strictly regulate hunger. When the CB1 receptor is manipulated it can have an effect on food-seeking behavior and body mass.
Health Benefits of CBD
The endocannabinoid system has a homeostatic role by controlling several metabolic functions, such as energy storage and nutrition. The ECS acts on peripheral tissues such as the gastrointestinal tract, the skeletal muscles and the endocrine pancreas. It has also been suggested to modify insulin sensitivity. Given the vast amount of emerging data and research it is proven that the endocannabinoid system may play a pivitol role in modern clinical conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and even cardiovascular related issues.
Given the vast amount of emerging data and research it is proven that the Endocannabinoid System may play a pivotal role in modern clinical conditions
The endocannabinoid most researched in pain is palmitoylethanolamide. Palmitoylethanolamide is a fatty amine related to anandamide. Palmitoylethanolamide has been evaluated for its analgesic actions in a great variety of pain indications and is found to be safe and effective.
Increased endocannabinoid signaling within the central nervous system promotes sleep-inducing effects and levels of adenosine, which plays a role in promoting sleep and suppressing arousal.
While the bodys response to stressful stimuli is an adaptive response necessary for an organism to respond appropriately to a stressor, persistent secretion may be harmful. Results suggest that certain cannabinoid receptors are not only responsible for mediating aggression, but produce relieving affects by inhibiting excessive arousal which, as a result, produces anxiety.
There exists a rising number of multiple sclerosis patients who self-medicate with cannabis; and much interest within the scientific community in exploiting the Endocannabinoid system to provide legal and effective relief.
Historical records from ancient China and Greece suggest that preparations of Cannabis indica (which is usually high in CBD) were commonly prescribed to relieve multiple sclerosis-like symptoms such as tremors and muscle pains. Modern research has confirmed these effects as evidence indicates the endocannabinoids may function as both neuromodulators and immunomodulators in the immune system. Here, they seem to serve an autoprotective role to improve muscle spasms, inflammation, and other symptoms of multiple sclerosis and skeletal muscle spasms.
A developing embryo expresses cannabinoid receptors early in the implantation stages that are responsive to anandamide secreted in the uterus. This signaling is very important in regulating the timing of embryonic implantation and uterine receptivity. In mice, it has been shown that anandamide modulates the probability of implantation to the uterine wall. For humans, the likelihood of miscarriage increases if uterine anandamide levels are too high or low. These results suggest that intake of external cannabinoids (like marijuana) can decrease the likelihood for pregnancy for women with high anandamide levels, and alternatively, it can increase the likelihood for pregnancy in women whose anandamide levels were too low.
Read More: Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
Overall, the Endocannabinois System can be defined simply as an important symbiotic mediator, which has been overlooked for decades since research has been limited due to the regulation of Cannabis. This system seems to be as important as many well-known systems that help keep the body in balance. CBD deficiency has become a more well-known, generally accepted ailment that has been covertly disguised as a cornucopia of other ailments. Certain patients across the globe are discovering that, by targeting the Endocannabinoid System with supplements they are able to treat, and sometimes even cure, issues that have been plaguing themselves for some time. The ECS plays a very important role in regulating physiological processes that greatly attribute to our health.