The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in Human Health

October 25, 2018 • 2 min read
Summary

The endocannabinoid system is composed of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes.

There’s a complex network of receptors, signaling molecules, and metabolic enzymes at play in the body that, despite having a significant influence on human health and well-being, most people don’t know about. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) – composed of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and metabolic enzymes – serves an essential function in the human body: restoring homeostasis via various physiological and regulatory mechanisms.

Components of the ECS are present and vital in nearly every area of the human body. Thus, disruption of the ECS has a serious, negative impact on human health. The ECS is responsible for both basic homeostatic roles:

  • Relaxation
  • Metabolism
  • Sleep
  • Memory

And more complex functions:

  • Neuroplasticity
  • Modulation of embryonic development
  • Neuroprotection
  • Immunity and inflammation
  • Apoptosis
  • Carcinogenesis
  • Pain and emotional memory

Deemed the “endocannabinoid tone,” the proper functioning of the ECS depends on the density, functional status, and availability of endocannabinoids (eCBs), endogenous, tightly regulated, lipid signaling molecules synthesized as needed in neurons. These signaling molecules bind cannabinoid receptors (CBs) to inhibit the release of certain neurotransmitters.

Endocannabinoid tone is influenced by multiple external factors, such as physical activity, eating a well-balanced diet of macronutrients, micronutrients, and phytonutrients, and stress modification. Whatever the reason, endocannabinoid deficiency prevents the ECS from properly regulating homeostasis in the body, but supplementation with phytocannabinoids can resolve some of these issues.

Read more about cannabinoid receptors.

Learn more.

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