What does the Endocannabinoid System Do?

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Created By: Nate Abegglen | Posted: 07-20-22

To put it simply, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) regulates various functions of the body so that we remain in homeostasis - a balanced state that ensures our body functions optimally. Without the ECS, we'd experience a various case of imbalance. Left unchecked, this imbalance can lead to a variety of negative outcomes.

When something forces our bodies out of balance, such as injury, inflammation, low blood sugar or stress (etc.), the ECS steps in as a signaling network that tells the body needs various functions to find balance again. 

To achieve this homeostasis, the endocannabinoid system transmits cannabinoids through the body to elicit specific "feelings" (or bodily perceptions). These feelings then motivate us to act in ways that maintain homeostasis. Feelings such as being hungry, panicked, anxious, or happy.

It uses these feelings to regulate processes in the body. Some of these processes that are impacted by the ECS, identified by researchers, include: 

  • Immune function
  • Appetite
  • Reproductive & fertility
  • Body temperature
  • Aging
  • Sleep
  • Mood
  • Memory
  • Motor control
  • Inflammation

What does this mean? Well, those hunger pains you feel? Thank the ECS for that. Feeling tired? You wouldn't if it weren't for your ECS.

Some of this interaction is through direct interaction between cannabinoids and our ECS signaling network, and some is through indirect - but that will be discussed in future writing, or through Beginner's Guide to the Endocannabinoid System - reach out for more information! 

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