The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) manages and regulates many of our body's natural functions including:
The scope and complexity of these functions, makes ECS a bridge between mind and body and thereby a foundation of emotional and physical performance and health - or conversely (if our ECS is deficient) decline and illness.
What the Endocannabinoid System Does
If you think about it, our Endocannabinoid System may well be our body's most powerful and vital healing and quality of life resource. This is because ECS helps us maintain a stable internal environment despite changes and challenges faced in our external environment. This requires ECS to manage a complex process of neuroprotection, stress recovery, immune balance, and energy regulation (using our body's most complex signalling and neurotransmitter system to deliver instantaneous cellular communication and feedback).
To effect this, the Endocannabinoid System is comprised of a network of two (2) specialized types of Receptors located throughout our body:
CB1 and CB2 receptors are embedded in cell membranes and many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Endocannabinoid System receptors are the most abundant receptors found in the brain. Collectively ECS uses this network of receptors much like the "conductor of an orchestra" - signalling receptors from our brain, to our organs, to our connective tissues, to our glands and to our immune cells to adjust to (even) subtle changes in biochemical cues in fluids surrounding each cell.
Whereas a conductor uses a "baton" to signal orchestra members to use different instruments and different movements toward the common goal of producing a great, harmonized sound, ECS uses Endocannabinoids (which it manufactures on demand as needed) to direct different cell types to perform different actions toward the common goal of promoting and regulating homeostasis.
Each Endocannabinoid acts like a "key within a lock" when it interacts with a CB1 or CB2 receptor - causing cells to harmonize and collaborate with other cells toward our body's best outcome.
For example, when we are injured our body's best outcome is to minimize pain and damage caused by the injury while facilitating full recovery as promptly as possible. ECS contributes to this outcome by releasing Endocannabinoids that signal 3 different cell types to undertake 3 different actions:
This injury example illustrates unique capabilities of Endocannabinoids and our ECS:
What harnessing the power of ECS may enable
Since its discovery in the 1980s, the Endocannabinoid System has been the subject of many scientific studies all over the World to help evaluate ECS potential to positively impact a wide range of health conditions as well as their underlying disease causes and risk factors.
Among the most comprehensive studies we found is: The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy by Dr. Pal Pacher that was published in 2006.
PAL PACHER, SANDOR BATKAI, and GEORGE KUNOS Laboratory of Physiologic Studies, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, Pharmacol Rev. 2006 September ; 58(3): 389-462
Among Dr. Pacher's conclusions was the following:
In the past decade, the endocannabinoid system has been implicated in a growing number of physiological functions, both in the central and peripheral nervous systems and in peripheral organs. Modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few.
Dr. Pacher's observations resulted from his compilation of a highly-detailed and highly-technical compendium of studies describing how helping the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) manage and regulate the vital body functions it manages and regulates could, in turn, affect a wide range of conditions as follows:
PLEASE NOTE: this article is an excerpt from a journal and begins on Page 389.
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