The Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS)—or Endocannabinoid System—might seem like a newer discovery since it’s only come into the public eye recently, but we’ve actually known about it for 30 years.
Research is still ongoing as we try to narrow down everything this system is responsible for and capable of, but one thing has become crystal clear: it is essential in maintaining homeostasis within the body. Meaning, its proper function is necessary for our internal systems to stay balanced.
The ECS is found in all vertebrates on the planet—animals too! Despite its omnipresence, there’s much to be learned about this system. Researchers are still determining what all an ECS deficiency can cause, but one thing we do know is that without proper ECS function, our bodies are off-balance. This lack of harmony can cause severe and sometimes long-lasting issues, which is why it’s so important to support your Endocannabinoid System.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
As one of the most important internal systems you have, the primary goal of your ECS is to maintain homeostasis within the body. It does this by helping to regulate functions like pain, stress, appetite, energy, metabolism, cardiovascular function, reproduction, sleep, reward, and motivation.
The ECS was first discovered and explored in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Researchers found that we produce our own cannabinoids internally, called endocannabinoids. They also found receptors in our bodies that our endocannabinoids and cannabis’s cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, can bind to.
The Function of Your Cannabinoid Receptors
We have two main cannabinoid receptors within the body: CB1 and CB2. These receptors are the most abundant type of neurotransmitters in the brain, but you can find them just about anywhere in the body. They and your endocannabinoids are embedded in cell membranes throughout your body in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.
Your CB1 receptor is mostly found in the nervous system, connective tissues, glands, and organs. Your CB2 receptor is mainly in your immune system, though many tissues contain both receptors with each assigned different duties. CB1 receptors regulate and control several functions, including our release of dopamine and our mitigation of pain. CB2 receptors primarily manage inflammation and cell survival and proliferation.
Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System
We know our body makes its own cannabinoids and receptors for them to bind to. But what happens when a phytocannabinoid from cannabis enters the body?
Well, it depends on which phytocannabinoid we’re talking about. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the one that gets you high—binds with both CB1 and CB2. It acts as an agonist, mimicking what an endocannabinoid would do if it were bound to the receptor. It loves binding to CB1 in particular, which influences dopamine transmission, leading to that euphoric high.
Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, prefers to bind to other receptors, like your serotonin receptors. It acts as an antagonist to CB1 and CB2, meaning it blocks their functions. This can keep some THC from binding, which is why CBD is known to dampen the psychoactive effects of THC.
How to Support Your Endocannabinoid System
Your ECS is crucial to maintaining balance within your body, so it’s important to make sure it’s supported. Scientists are still researching what an Endocannabinoid System deficiency can look like, but it’s thought that an undersupply of cannabinoids could be behind irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, glaucoma, cystic fibrosis, and other treatment-resistant syndromes.
Ensuring your body is working with enough cannabinoids is essential, and cannabis can help. Using something like our 4:1 CBD to THC hybrid tincture will give you more CBD than THC, so the psychoactive effects of THC won’t be as intense. If you’re looking for something that can provide a heavier buzz, try our 1:1 CBD to THC hybrid tincture. With even amounts of CBD and THC, you’ll be able to get high without getting too high, all the while introducing therapeutic cannabinoids to your body and supporting your ECS.
There are also things outside of cannabis that you can do to support your ECS. Including herbs like black pepper, cloves, oregano, and cinnamon in your diet can help because they all contain Beta-caryophyllene, a terpene shared with cannabis that stimulates the CB2 receptor.
Exercise is vital, especially when it comes to maintaining internal balance, but it’s important to do something you enjoy. Studies on animals have shown that forcing a workout you don’t like causes your ECS to misinterpret it as stress, but freely choosing an exercise you enjoy can actually increase endocannabinoid levels.
Essentially, taking care of your ECS means following basic health guidelines:
- Get a full eight hours of sleep every night.
- Eat your fruits and veggies. Evidence shows your gut microbiome is a major regulator of the ECS.
- Manage stress. The ECS is all about balance, and stress is one of the more harmful ways to knock yourself off balance.
- Introduce phytocannabinoids to your body daily. Try our 15:1 CBD to THC Avidekel tincture. It’s non-psychoactive and great to consume any time of day or night.
Supporting your Endocannabinoid System is essential to maintaining internal balance. Evidence has shown that many treatment-resistant syndromes may be caused by a cannabinoid deficiency, so it’s important to make sure you’re producing and consuming enough to stay balanced. The best way to do that is by simply making healthier choices—sleep more, eat more greens, and manage stress better.
Another effective route is to introduce phytocannabinoids, or cannabinoids produced in cannabis, to your system daily. Whether you go for high CBD content, high THC content, or somewhere in the middle, the plant’s compounds will offer you support.
Our staff at VidaCann are ready to help you pick the right strain and consumption method for you and your Endocannabinoid System. Stop by any one of our Florida locations today!