Our bodies are made up of numerous different systems that all work together to help us function properly. Our digestive system works to allow us to absorb the proper nutrients and get rid of waste. The circulatory system works to deliver oxygen to our organs and carry their waste products away, our nervous system collects and processes information from our senses, our skeletal system keeps our organs safe and our bodies upright, and our immune system defends the body against viruses and bacteria.
But there is a system of the body that you might not have heard of. The endocannabinoid system. Discovered in 1992, this system of our body is a whole biology system named after a plant. Let’s take a look at what is the endocannabinoid system.
The Endocannabinoid System: A Walkway System
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is made up of three different parts:
- Endocannabinoids, like substances that are created naturally inside of the human body
- Receptors in the human body’s nervous system that the endocannabinoids and cannabinoids can bond with
- Enzymes that help break down endocannabinoids and cannabinoids
The endocannabinoid system connects the body’s immune system, nervous system, and the body’s organs together. It is basically a walkway between the body and the mind. By understanding the endocannabinoid system we begin to see how different states of minds can promote health or disease.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each different place of the body, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis.
Which brings us to how the endocannabinoid system helps your body. Homeostasis is your body making sure everything is intact and working properly. Just like the manufacturing in a car or a plane, your body has to work continuously to monitor important levels and functions. Is your body temperature too high or too low? Are your hormone levels normal? When something isn’t right in your body, that is when your ECS steps in. So the next time you’re feeling a little overheated thank your ECS for kicking in to cool you down. The next time your stomach is growling, that’s your ECS reminding you that it’s time to eat!
What allows the ECS to be able to do this? The answer is cannabinoid receptors.
Our body has two:
- CB1 – located in the central nervous system.
- CB2 – located in the peripheral nervous system, digestive system, and special cells in the immune system.
Through these receptors, the ECS can help manage many important functions in the human body like:
- Immune function
- Inflammation, including neuroinflammation
- Motor control
- Temperature regulation
When your Endocannabinoid System is working properly, you’ll see less bloating, better moods, improved sleep, less pain and inflammation, better motor control, and so much more. Both Omega- 3 and Omega- 6 fatty acids are great additions to your diet to ensure that your ECS functions correctly. Chia seeds, walnuts, and eggs are other sources of endocannabinoid-enhancing foods.