The Endocannabinoid System Explained

by | Dec 9, 2020

The Endocannabinoid System Explained

by | Dec 9, 2020

Everyone has an immune system, respiratory system, vascular system, nervous system and an endocannabinoid system. Like those other, more commonly known systems, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in our human physiology. Its primary function is to maintain homeostasis, in other words, helping to keep our biological systems in a state of natural balance. 

It basically works like a modulator that responds to internal and external fluctuations that would otherwise cause the body to behave abnormally. It tells certain systems to slow down when going too fast and to speed up when going too slow. Like the other systems in the body, you can help strengthen and protect your ECS.

How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?

The ECS is an intricate network of connectors and the largest group of neurotransmitters in your body. It is made up of cannabinoid receptors designated CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptors correlate to our central nervous system, i.e. our brain and spinal cord. The CB2 receptors link to our peripheral nervous system, like our muscles, limbs, skin and other organ structures. These receptors become stimulated through endogenous (naturally produced) cannabinoids.

Our body produces two types of endocannabinoids, which are called anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-ag). When the endocannabinoids bind to their corresponding receptors, they transmit a signal that helps regulate physiological functions like inflammation, sleep and even neuron communication.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Endocannabinoids are only around when needed. After sending their signals through the cannabinoid receptors, the ECS uses two types of metabolic enzymes – fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). These enzymes break down the endocannabinoid molecules until the next time they’re needed.

Research shows that, in some cases, the ECS may not function in some people as it normally should. Endocannabinoid deficiency can occur due to lifestyle factors like diet or not having enough cannabinoid receptors or an overabundance of metabolic enzymes. While we are still in the process of researching and trying to fully understand the ECS, there are some ways to help it function better and improve your health and wellbeing. 

How Can You Strengthen Your Endocannabinoid System?

There are a variety of natural ways you can boost your ECS, including regular exercise, managing stress better, lowering alcohol consumption, using supplements and making dietary changes. Some endocannabinoid boosting foods include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Cacao powder
  • Vegetables with a high vitamin C content like broccoli and spinach
  • Turmeric tea, echinacea tea and Camellia sinensis
  • Certain herbs including lemon balm, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, hops, black pepper, and other types of herbs that contain the terpene beta-caryophyllene.

Some or all of these methods may work to boost endocannabinoid productivity and the strength of cannabinoid receptors. However, the right approach depends on personal needs. 

Looking for Health Advice?

At Releaf Clinics, our doctors can provide tailored holistic health advice to help you improve your overall health and wellbeing including protecting your ECS. As a dedicated clinic and dispensary group, we can simplify the consultation process and make it easier for you to access the medicine you need.

Our telehealth consults allow you to access services with Releaf Clinic’s doctors via phone and video chat. Contact us today to chat about how we can help improve your health. 

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