What is the Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever wondered how it is that your favorite cannabis strain gets you high or provides the right symptom relief? The cannabinoids in the plant interact with a critical system within your body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

The ECS does more than enable you to enjoy the effects of your favorite cannabis products. It plays a critical role in regulating various functions within your body. But what is the endocannabinoid system? Let’s take a look.

What Is the Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system, discovered in the early 1990s, is a biological system. It consists of a few key components that regulate several essential functions within your body. These components help to keep several internal functions in balance.

What Are the Functions of the ECS?

It regulates and balances several functions in your body, including:

  • Appetite
  • Digestion
  • Immune function
  • Inflammation
  • Internal temperature
  • Mood
  • Pain
  • Pleasure
  • Reproduction
  • Sleep

How Does the ECS Work?

Your ECS works to maintain balance within your body. When something throws off one of your internal functions, your body activates the ECS to restore homeostasis.

Three components come into play to restore balance within your body:

  • Cannabinoid receptors
  • Endocannabinoids
  • Enzymes

When there’s something wrong with one of your internal functions, the receptors transmit the information to your brain. Your body produces and releases endocannabinoids as a response, which then travel to the appropriate site. 

Humans have two types of endocannabinoids, 2-arachidonoyglyerol (2-AG) and Anandamide (AEA). These endocannabinoids bind with one of two types of cannabinoid receptors in your body, CB1 or CB2 receptors.

When they do, they unlock specific effects that help to fix the issue and restore balance. Once the endocannabinoids complete their jobs, the body releases enzymes that break them down. 

What Happens If Your ECS Is Out of Balance?

‌If a function within your body gets thrown out of balance, it doesn’t work properly. For instance—if there’s something wrong with your digestive system, you might not be able to digest food properly. Your body activates your ECS to get things back to normal. 

As we learn more about the ECS, we’ve learned that some conditions may be related to endocannabinoid deficiency. Some of these conditions include fibromyalgia, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—and they tend to be more resistant to conventional treatments. More research is needed, but targeting the ECS may help. 

What’s the Role of Cannabis in the ECS?

‌Cannabis contains more than 120 different cannabinoids. When they enter your system, they function much like natural endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids like THC bind with your cannabinoid receptors and unlock specific effects like pain relief or appetite stimulation.

The enzymes your body produces to break down endocannabinoids don’t have the same effect on the plant cannabinoids, so the effects—such as the euphoric high—last longer. 

Want to Keep Your ECS Balanced?

The cannabinoids in the cannabis plant function much like the endocannabinoids your body creates. They can help to alleviate pain, reduce anxiety, stimulate your appetite, and more.

Campfire Cannabis is a Massachusetts dispensary that has a vast selection of cannabis products and medical marijuana online and in-store—most of which can help you maintain balance within your ECS. Visit our website to find products that meet your specific needs.

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