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The Endocannabinoid System

Written by Jen Kerr

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The ECS is a network of receptors in the body that interact with receptors found in cannabinoids.  These receptors handle cognition, memory, psychomotor skills and pain perception.  When certain cannabinoids, such as THC, meet the receptors, the individual may feel a euphoric or high effect.  However, other cannabinoids, such as CBD, interact with the receptors to reduce feelings of pain or anxiety.  What’s interesting is that all living creatures with a vertebrae have an endocannabinoid system.  This is why CBD oil consumers may notice their family pet may find relief using the same CBD that they are using.

The ECS exists to respond to endogenous cannabinoids produced by the human body.  However, scientists have learned that the ECS will also respond to phytocannabinoids.   The ECS includes two primary types of receptors that bind to cannabinoids:   CB1 and CB2.  Unlike THC, which fits directly into the CB1 receptor, CBD does not fit into either type of receptor perfectly.  Instead, it stimulates activity in both receptors without actually binding to them.  Because CB1 and CB2 receptors are present throughout the body, the effects of CBD are systemic.  Research has also shown that phytocannabinoids can help slow the deterioration of the endogenous cannabinoids in the body.

So when you think about the ECS and cannabinoids I like to think of it like this:

Your ECS is like the fuse box in your home…it is the master control panel that provides service to all the outlets in and around your home.  The outlets and everything you plug into them are fed electricity by this fuse box and this fuse box is fed electricity from an external source.  If that external source malfunctions (lightning strike, animal chews through the wire, etc), the fuse box cannot send electricity to the outlets in the home until the external source is repaired and therefore the outlets will not work.  Your ECS is this fuse box in that it is responsible for maintaining every function in your body including the pulmonary, endocrine, cardiovascular, ocular, dental, myofascial and so on.  This ECS requires cannabinoids to work properly and will malfunction without them.  As you now know, we make our own endogenous cannabinoids but we could use a little help from the phytocannabinoids to help keep the system working properly.  Now let’s go back to what I mentioned earlier when I said livestock used to feed on hemp.  When livestock grazed on hemp, their food was rich in phytocannabinoids like CBD.  This meant our ancestors were eating a diet rich in phytocannabinoids which in turn helped their endocannbinoid system work properly and maintain balance.  Banning hemp in 1937 meant we removed this plant from the face of our country and therefore removed it from our food source.  Decades later the ECS was discovered and it is suggested that EndoCannabinoid Deficieny plays a big role in why we see such an increase in disease, ailments and behavioral issues in more recent times. The ECS is a system that has not been maintained or nourished until recent times with the introduction of CBD oil.   When the ECS is deficient, it can malfunction in the form of disease, pain, inflammation and so on.  Introducing phytocannabinoids such as CBD helps restore balance and repair the ECS.  As you may have noticed, CBD is everywhere and gaining national attention as laws are changing, stigmas are lifting and a movement to bring light to this amazing plant is in full effect.

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