The Endocannabinoid System Part 2: How Does It Affect Us?

The Endocannabinoid System

Welcome back to our exploration of the endocannabinoid system. In the first installment, we gained a simple understanding of what the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is, how it works, and why it matters. In this next installment, we’ll look at some of the many ways the ECS helps our body remain stable by maintaining homeostasis, and how it affects us physically and emotionally. In case you missed it, part 1 can be found here.

A Recap on Part 1 of The Endocannabinoid System

You may recall that the ECS has three distinct parts that work together: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. ECS receptors can be found throughout the body: most abundantly in the central nervous system (this includes the brain and nerves in the spinal column), but also in the peripheral nervous system (which includes nerves located in your extremities), as well as in the digestive system, and in specialized cells within the immune system. It’s no wonder CBD oil is purported to have such far-reaching benefits, given how many ways in which the ECS regulates our bodies.

The ECS uses specific receptors throughout the body to regulate key functions, some of which include:

  • Appetite
  • Mood/stress
  • Digestion
  • Memory
  • Immune function
  • Motor function
  • Fertility and other workings of the reproductive system
  • Sleep patterns and sleep quality
  • Regulation of temperature
  • Pain sensation
  • Inflammation
  • Exercise-induced euphoria (pleasure/rewards)

What Happens When the Endocannabinoid System Fails?

When the endocannabinoid system isn’t functioning properly, it can put your body out of whack and result in quite a bit of pain and discomfort. Scientists are currently studying several conditions that appear to be related to dysfunction within the ECS, such as migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia, and it is estimated that hundreds of clinical trials are currently underway.

Here is a link to a recent study (January 2019) of the effects of CBD on anxiety and sleep. The study concluded:

“Current understanding of the physiology and neurologic pathways points to a benefit with anxiety-related issues. The results of our clinical report support the existing scientific evidence. In our study, we saw no evidence of a safety issue that would limit future studies. In this evaluation, CBD appears to be better tolerated than routine psychiatric medications.”

Because conditions such as these all share clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) and rely on the correct function of multiple systems, they are typically resistant to most forms of treatment. Therefore, researchers are now exploring cannabis-based treatments as a viable alternative for individuals suffering from these conditions. In the conclusion of this three-part series on the Endocannabinoid System, we’ll explore the impact of pure CBD oil as it compares to medical marijuana.

Many people in numerous countries and throughout the United States are already using CBD oil to assist in the proper functioning of their ECS and to provide relief for conditions such as those listed here. Click here to read part 3.