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Your Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid System is not a theory or an opinion, it is a scientific fact. All animals (with the exception of insects) have an ECS. The ECS was discovered by scientists studying how cannabis interacts with the brain. That’s why they named it the Endocannabinoid System (endo: internal, within, endogenous: having internal cause, origin; and cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant). The ECS has two primary functions:
1) Retrograde Signaling System — The ECS functions as a signaling system throughout the body. Before the discovery of the ECS, scientists believed that signals in the body only went in one direction. With the discovery of the ECS, they realized that the ECS allows the body to send signals back and forth. This is very important because if the body can’t communicate with itself, it can’t fix itself.
2) Homeostasis — The definition of homeostasis is: “the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.” There are 12 different systems in the body working together. The other primary function of the ECS is to maintain an inner equilibrium of the body (homeostasis) between all these systems. It does this through a processes of locks and keys. The locks are called cannabinoid receptors which are located throughout the brain and body. CB1 and CB2 are the most common cannabinoid receptors. The primary keys are called anandamide and 2-AG. By turning these locks on or off, the ECS is able to maintain homeostasis.
It turns out that cannabis has two compounds called THC and CBD which can mimic anandamide and 2-AG respectively. So when you consume cannabis, the THC and CBD are able to fit into the cannabinoid receptors in the same way that anandamide and 2-AG do. Cannabinoids don't just "do" the work, they signal your body to do the work that it's supposed to do. When we supplement our bodies with cannabinoids and feed our cannabinoid receptors, our endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS) begins to work properly and begins to self-regulate and self-correct.