THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the most widespread receptor system in the human body and is in charge of maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body. It's responsible for regulating the way that we relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect, all of which play a huge role in our overall health and wellness. This system in our bodies is specifically designed to work with cannabinoids that are both made in our bodies (like anandamide) and those that come from the cannabis plant (like THC and CBD).

The ECS is made up of 3 parts:

The Endocannabinoids - Anandamide and 2AG
The Receptors - CB1 and CB2 receptors
The Enzymes - FAAH and MAGL

Endocannabinoids are Endogynous Cannabinoids, meaning cannabinoids created in the body. These endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters that your body creates in order to maintain communication between cells. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid that is referred to as "Human THC" and it makes you feel chilled out and happy. It also helps your brain to forget, which is a good thing for helping one stay focused on what's presently going on rather than dwelling on past events or knowledge. This is especially helpful for people suffering from PTSD in which they have an inability to forget traumatic past events. The endocannabinoid 2AG is thought to help limit inflammation.

There are lots of receptors but the main pair we focus on in the ECS are the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are like little locks on your cells that when activated by the correct shaped molecule (the key) cause amazing things to happen. CB1s help regulate memory, mood, sleep, appetite, and pain while CB2s are believed to help reduce inflammation. The THC molecule is the key that unlocks the CB1 receptor and creates an explosion of signals which causes a release of neurotransmitters. This huge release of neurotransmitters is what makes THC psychoactive and provides many therapeutic effects. CB1 receptors also have a secret port or lock that can be unlocked by CBD. This CBD/CB1 connection does NOT cause the huge cascade of signals and is therefore not psychoactive, but still provides therapeutic benefits to the body.

When the party's over, the enzymes in the ECS, FAAH and MAGL are the clean up crew who clear your system of leftover endocannabinoids. These enzymes break down and reabsorb this excess into the body. Now when CBD is in the mix, the enzyme FAAH will break down and reabsorb CBD rather than Anandamide, leaving more of this feel good "bliss molecule" in your system.

IN A NUTSHELL: Your body's endocannabinoid system is responsible for keeping all the cells in your body balanced and in harmony with each other so you can be healthy and functional. The reason cannabis helps with so many medical conditions is because these cannabinoid receptors are located all over the body.




ENDOCANNIBINOID DEFICIENCY

The sheer pervasiveness and versatility of endocannabinoid receptors have led some eminent scientists to speculate whether a healthy endocannabinoid system may be required for healthy human functioning. That isn’t to say everyone must use cannabis to be healthy, but it does mean that deficient endocannabinoid systems need to be supplemented somehow.

As indicated by the name, endocannabinoid deficiency is a deficiency, or lack, of endocannabinoids like Andandamide and 2AG. Without enough of these endocannabinoids, the endocannabinoid system is unable to maintain communication between the body's cells, meaning it will also be unable to maintain balance, or homeostasis.

This imbalance can result in people suffering from migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and a growing list of other medical conditions.

This deficiency can be treated by ingesting cannabis (an external source of cannabinoids) and stimulating endocannabinoid production through movement and eating the right foods.