What is the Endocannabinoid System?
All mammals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which regulates numerous physiological processes and is constantly supporting your body in managing stress and regulating levels of inflammation. You have receptors on nearly every cell in your body that allows your ECS to ensure proper communication and overall survival. This vast communication network is composed of endocannabinoids and their receptors which are found in abundance in the brain, spinal cord, skin, digestive tract, all major organs and glands. While the ECS performs different tasks on these different system the goal is always the same, maintaining balance and homeostasis to keep you alive. As the research continues to unfold one thing is for certain, a functional cannabinoid system is essential for overall health and wellbeing.
What are endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are molecules which are important for cell to cell signaling. These messenger molecules deliver information to the cannabinoid receptors. Your body produces endocannabinoids on demand when needed to manage levels of inflammation. These important chemical compounds are synthesized on the cellular membrane from omega-6 fatty acid precursors which often come from a healthy and balanced diet.
Cannabinoid receptors are the landing sites which endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids (plant compounds) bind to to communicate a specific message. Cannabinoid receptors are found all throughout the body. While there have been recent discoveries of more cannabinoid receptors, there are two main types, CB1 and CB2. CB1 are found in high amounts in the brain and spinal cord and in less amounts throughout the body. CB2 receptors are found primarily on immune cells which regulate inflammation along the digestive tract.
A DEFICIENT ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Just like you can become deficient in certain minerals and nutrients, there are multiple factors that can play a role in becoming deficient in endocannabinoids. Since your body is constantly producing endocannabinoids on demand to regulate itself, combat inflammation and manage stress its vital that this system has the basic building blocks necessary. Healthy fats, organic vegetables, quality protein and a diverse array of plant medicine are key components to a nourished and optimal endocannabinoid system. Lifestyle and stress management also play an important role in the integrity of this system. Endocannabinoid Deficiency may be linked to ailments such as IBS, migraines and PTSD. By fueling your ECS with a nutrient rich diet and a diversity of plant medicine you can support your body in maintaining vibrant wellness.