by Magda Hjalmarsson
Many people are unaware of the fact that they have an Endogenous Cannabinoid System in their body, working to ensure their body is in homeostasis. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, this piece will teach you some useful things to know about the Endocannabinoid System and exactly how it does what it does.
Maintaining homeostasis is one of the very important roles of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) as it is key for preserving a state of wellbeing. Homeostasis is when all systems of the body are working together to keep you alive, happy, and functioning at an optimal level.
The ECS is composed of a network of cannabinoids, cannabinoid receptors, and the enzymes that break them down. Endocannabinoids are messenger molecules that bind to cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body. The majority of cannabinoid receptors are found on the brain and spinal cord, as well as in the digestive tracts and on other organs.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the brain and on the spinal cord, otherwise known as the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are found on white blood cells and on neurons in your digestive tract. The collection of neurons which line the digestive tract are referred to as the enteric nervous system.
Another function of the ECS is regulation of inflammation. When there is stress or injury to an area of the body, the natural bodily response is inflammation. While this is important and necessary, often there can be excess inflammation in different areas in response to your body attempting to heal itself and maintain that blissful set point: homeostasis. Inflammation is often caused by external forces, whether that is toxins in skin care products or toxins in the food or water we drink. Combating and reducing toxin exposure in our daily lives can greatly reduce the amount of inflammation and therefore support our ECS.
There is a wide array of health problems that are an expression of inflammation in the different areas of the body. This may include arthritis in the joints and tendons, chronic pain, migraines, alzheimer’s, allergies, eczema, and digestive issues. The presence of inflammation is what makes individuals the most susceptible to disease. Inflammation often occurs for years before it is expressed at a sufficient level to be considered a ‘disease’. It is important that excess inflammation be addressed and identified sooner than later to balance the ECS and promote vibrancy and health.
Stay tuned for future posts as we explore the different ways to treat the Endocannabinoid System, reduce inflammation, indulge in tasty antioxidant-rich foods, and bring balance and bliss to our daily lives.