What Is The Endocannabinoid system?
Endocannabinoid, are two words, “endo” which is a short term for endogenous which is defined as something that is produced naturally and “cannabinoid” which is derived from the word “cannabis”, combined together. The word endocannabinoid basically means elements that are like cannabis that is being produced by the body naturally.
The endocannabinoid system is not just a mere part of us but, consider it as something that’s very important. Nowadays, there have been various claims in relation to the benefits of medical marijuana. It’s a stirring a bit of curiousness on whether people just wanted drugs to becoming legal or if there really is something good out of it. However, there have already been various evidence and support from researchers with regards to claims on such.
Let us try to understand homeostasis for us to fully understand the endocannabinoid system. Homeostasis is a state in the human body that makes sure to keep everything stable and in the right area. It also tries to keep the environment of your body on its most favorable condition. When one of your body’s processes go unstable, the body is set to activate the endocannabinoid system to assist in fixing the instability of the process. As an example, sweating is one of the effects whenever the environment outside is hot which is the way ECS does to help cool your body. Whenever your stomach starts to growl, it is the ECS that sends these alarms to remind you that your body is in need of food.
What is the System Made of?
Since the endocannabinoid system is a major part of homeostasis, it is commonly found on most species, especially vertebrate species. There are three important parts in the endocannabinoid system, and these are:
- The ligands of the receptors as well as their antagonists.
- Two metabolic enzymes that are used to break down cannabinoids that may be in the body.
- It also contains two molecules that are: anandamide and 2-Ag.
The endocannabinoid system has two major receptors, CB1, and CB2 receptors. There are many receptors in the endocannabinoid system, but these two perform the major roles and have also been discovered first in the early 90s. These two types of receptors are scattered all over our bodies.
The endocannabinoids are chemicals, similar to THC found in cannabis plants, that attaches itself to the receptors which activate the receptors to function. Even though similar to THC, the endocannabinoids are naturally produced and will never make you high, unlike THC.
The metabolic enzymes are a critical part of the endocannabinoid system because its task is to break down or destroy used up cannabinoids. The two enzymes are Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and Monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL). MAGL is to break down 2-Arachidonoylglycerol and FAAH destroys anandamide.
Sources of Endocannabinoids
Most endocannabinoids are known to be naturally produced by the human body. The omega three fatty acids are necessary for their production. In the cases where the body has low omega three, one should use hemp seeds as a supplement. Other foods that contain omega three acids include fish such as salmons and sardines. Their intake ensures that the body has a sufficient supply of omega three and can, therefore, produce adequate endocannabinoids.
The Regulatory Role of The Endocannabinoids
- The ECS is a regulatory system for several functions/responses such as mood, appetite, memory, and pain.
- The regulatory role of this system on appetite occurs in a process. The food intake is controlled by the ECS activity in the nervous system. it simply responsible for the sending of signals to the hypothalamus in the brain which helps in appetite regulation as well.
- The ECS works by slowing down the process of gastrointestinal secretion and use. It increases the production of ghrelin which increases appetite and hence overall food intake. The leptin hormone is responsible for communicating to the brain that is already enough food in the system and thus reduce the ECS activity.
- The system has also been viewed as an important aspect in the regulation of homeostasis. Homeostasis is a simple biological process in the human body that involves striking a balance in the internal conditions.
- It has been noted that most diseases are as a result of the failure in achieving homeostasis. The system is, therefore, mandatory for the proper functioning and well-being of the body.
- The overexpression of cannabinoid receptors has been found to indicate its role in natural defense and immune system. The use of marijuana in the medical field is therefore strongly supported.
The ECS also plays a vital role in the control of neuropathic pain. There is the analgesic ability that lies within the cannabinoid agonists that is used in the treatment of the pain. It has also been noted that there is some standard of the system components that can cure the neuropathic pain. This is according to research on various animal models.
It is, therefore, evident that the ECS is important in the fundamental processes of the human body. There is a need to ensure that the resource is sufficient for the smooth running of the fundamental processes.