What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

You may have heard of the cardiovascular, digestive, muscular and respiratory systems, but what about the endocannabinoid system? It is engrained in all the planet's creatures, not many know of it, and it is imperative for survival. The Endocannabinoid system, commonly referred to as the ECS, communicates with every system in our body and is called into action at every moment; as you eat, rest, workout, and breath. Prompted by the ECS, the body will shift into high gear to repair deficiencies and is constantly working to establish and maintain overall health and well-being. 

The Endocannabinoid System receives messages from CB receptors, located in almost every cell in the body. Both phytocannabinoids and endocannabinoids bind to the receptors to activate the ECS, encouraging a host of responses, from appetite regulation to skin health and overall well-being. 

Scientists believe many human illnesses and diseases — including pain, arthritis, skin disorders, neurodegenerative disorders (Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease), epilepsy, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and cancer — begin with an ECS deficiency or weakness and can be treated successfully by administering or applying phytocannabinoids.  

The ECS plays a vital role in maintaining optimal health, but what does this mean, exactly? Think about the times you have felt mentally and physically at your best. You are balanced, sharp, energetic and in sync with your body. When your mind and body are balanced you’re experiencing something called homeostasis (also known as balance).  The ECS helps us maintain homeostasis by monitoring and regulating what goes on in our mind and body. Think of a small leak in a gas tank. Hard to fill the tank with a leak or no fuel, right? The same happens here- if the body doesn’t produce enough, or properly utilize endocannabinoids, problems will arise and an imbalance begins.  For the body to function well, it needs the support of phytocannabinoids, like CBD.

In the skin, the phytocannainoid CBD works with the ECS to regulate sebum (oil) production, navigating a “not too dry” or “not too oily” balance. Also, it encourages cell proliferation, which is imperative in anti-aging, and melanogenesis which could be key for warding off aging freckles or “brown” spots.

The most popular phytocannabinoids are THC (known for its intoxicating properties) and CBD (non-intoxicating molecule) and they work with the ECS by binding to your receptors. Phytocannabinoids can be found in many plants, including Echinacea and Cacao, but the greatest concentration can be found in cannabis species, like Hemp.   To date, more than any other herb in existence, researchers have identified at least 100 + cannabinoids in the plant.

Because the ECS has such a vast effect on all the body’s systems, and with so many phytocannabinoid compounds found in the cannabis plant, hemp could be considered a superfood. This explains the large variety of hemp CBD infused products, from ingestible tinctures to topical creams. Though there are many considerations to take when selecting these supportive products, there are endless ways of using CBD and other phytocannabinoids to improve health and well-being.          

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