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What is the ECS System + Why Should I Care?

Jennifer Adair
June 9, 2020

If you’re a new CBD user, a long time user or just curious, it’s important to know what happens to your system when you use CBD and why it’s good for you.

Just like muscular, skeletal, and the cardiovascular systems, you have an endocannibinoid system, also know as the ECS. This system is a group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors in the brain that are involved in a variety of physiological processes.

We know the ECS plays a role in many processes and functions including:

  • sleep
  • anxiety
  • mood
  • appetite + digestion
  • learning + memory
  • pain sensation + chronic pain
  • motor learning
  • reproductive and fertility issues
  • inflammation + immune system responses
  • muscle recovery
  • cardiovascular system function
  • overall wellness
  • liver function
  • skin + nerve function

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system in our bodies identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid. Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. The ECS or Endocannabinoid System is active in your body regardless of whether you use cannabis or CBD.

There are three main components of the ECS system, they are:

  • Endocannibinoids
  • Receptors 
  • Enzymes

What are Endocannabinoids?

Endocannabinoids are molecules made by your body. They’re similar to cannabinoids, but they’re produced by your body. They help keep internal functions running smoothly. Your body produces them as needed. 

Endocannabinoid Receptors

These receptors are found throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them in order to signal that the ECS needs to take action. They may target receptors in a nerve to relieve pain, or to immune cells to signal that your body’s experiencing inflammation, a common sign of autoimmune disorders.

Enzymes

Enzymes are responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids once they have carried out their function.

These functions all contribute to homeostasis, which really means the stability of your internal environment. For example, pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation.

Today it is believed that maintaining homeostasis is the primary role of the ECS. Think of it as keeping your internal environment aligned.

What are Cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids are active compounds produced by all cannabis plants. They account for most of the health benefits of cannabis. Cannabinoids found in plants are technically called phytocannabinoids. Phytocannabinoids can mimic neurotransmitters that we call endocannabinoids, which are produced naturally by our bodies.

How Does CBD work with your ECS?

Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you “high” and typically doesn’t cause any negative side effects.  The other major cannabinoid found in cannabis is cannabidoil (CBD). It is believed that it prevents endocannibinoids from being broken down thus allowing them to have more of an effect on your body.

Why You Should Care?

The ECS plays a big role in keeping your internal processes stable. If you are one who suffers from many of the issues we discussed above this should be exciting news for you. Healing your body naturally  and bringing wellness into your life is opening up for you.

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