We’re going to demystify the science of cannabis, explaining how introducing cannabinoids into your diet can support your body, maintaining a healthy balance in your inner ecosystem. Learn about your body’s endocannabinoid system, including its history, how it works, what bodily systems are regulated, how homeostasis is achieved, and how a deficient system can lead to imbalance and even disease.
We’ll do our best to take it slow, and there’s quizzes after every segment so you can test your knowledge!
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
Cannabis has been used as a natural herbal remedy for thousands of years, but medical science has only recently begun to understand how the plant provides such powerful therapeutic benefits, while treating such a wide array of ailments.
The answer first started to materialize in the 1960s, with the discovery of THC and CBD as the plant’s primary medicinal compounds. By the 1980s, researchers had identified a series of receptors found throughout the human body that fit THC and CBD like a lock fits a key, and determined they were part of an extensive, previously unknown endocannabinoid system (ECB), which serves as the body’s central processing unit, and is charged with regulating the functioning of many other important systems and keeping them in balance and functioning properly.
“The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health,” according to Dr. Dustin Sulak, a leading medical cannabis researcher. “In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.”
IMAGE: Animated illustration of ECS and receptor sites throughout body
Concentrated throughout the brain and also located in your nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, organs; immune system, spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs, the ECB’s receptors can be stimulated and modulated by compounds called endocannabinoids that are produced naturally in the body, or by ingesting cannabinoids like THC and CBD derived from cannabis.
But if this system is so vital for human health, why do so few people even know it exists, never mind what it does or how it works?
Partly because for the past eighty years, the US federal government has been engaged in an active campaign to repress research into the cannabis plant’s benefits and exaggerate its potential harms. All because they don’t want you to know that cannabinoids like THC and CBD can play a vital role in supporting the ECS, thus promoting wellness and fighting disease.
In future blog posts we’ll explain the ECS in depth, including more on how the receptors function, what bodily systems are regulated, how homeostasis is achieved, how a deficient system can lead to imbalance and even disease, and ways to optimize your ECS via therapeutic cannabinoids.
You might learn a few new words along the way, but don’t worry, all will be explained in clear language. And it’s all worth knowing, because properly understanding your endocannabinoid system is the key to unlocking the healing potential of THC, CBD and other cannabinoids.
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