WHAT IS THE ECS?
Discovered in 1990, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is located throughout the body and works as the communication system for many autonomous processes in the body. Below are some of the processes that the ECS helps regulate.
Energy & Balance
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in maintaining homeostasis. For this reason and many others, the ECS is an essential physiologic system designed to maintain human health.
The ECS system is made up of 3 major component; cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes. Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body and are embedded in cell membranes. A variety of physiologic processes follow the stimulation of cannabinoid receptors.
Researchers have identified two primary cannabinoid receptors: CB1, is predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; CB2, is predominantly found in the immune system and associated structures. Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action.
The maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
TYPES OF CANNABINOIDS
ECS receptors typically interact with three types of cannabinoids:
Endocannabinoids- Cannabinoids produced by your own body. Anandamide was the first endocannabinoid discovered in 1992 by Raphael Mechoulam and a team of researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Phytocannabinoids- Cannabinoids produced by plants such as those from the Cannabis plant.
Synthetic Cannabinoids- Chemical formulations of cannabinoids synthesized in a laboratory (instead of extracted from plants). An example is the FDA approved drug Marinol (dronabinol) which is synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).