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ECS
The EndoCannabanoid System

Special receptors found in the cells of dozens of organs within your body, including major systems like your heart, brain and skin.

ECS: What, Where, How.

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a remarkably intricate network within our bodies that contributes to maintaining internal stability, or homeostasis.

 

Comprising of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes, this system serves as a regulator for various physiological functions. Endocannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), are naturally occurring compounds produced by our bodies.

 

These molecules bind to cannabinoid receptors, similar to locks and keys, triggering responses that help balance pain perception, mood, appetite, and immune responses.  A receptor is a feature in the membrane of a cell that is designed to only interact with certain types of molecules. Their purpose is to allow certain molecules to interact with the cell's inside while preventing everything else from doing the same. 

There are other receptor types  throughout the cells throughout your body, such as Steroid Hormone Receptors, Neurotransmitter Receptors, Ion Channels, Nuclear Receptors and more.  

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Some Background on the ECS

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is named after the plant compounds called cannabinoids, which were initially discovered in cannabis. The prefix "endo-" comes from the Greek word "endon," which means "within" or "inner."

The term "endocannabinoid" refers to cannabinoids that are naturally produced within the body, in contrast to "phytocannabinoids," which are cannabinoids found in plants like cannabis.

The ECS was named to reflect its role in regulating various physiological processes within the body. It was first identified in the 1990s during research aimed at understanding how the active compound in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), affects the body.

 

Researchers discovered that the human body produces its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and has specific receptors that interact with both endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids.

The ECS plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis by regulating processes such as pain perception, mood, appetite, immune response, and more.

 

Naming it the "Endocannabinoid System" reflects its connection to both the body's internal regulatory mechanisms and the plant compounds that inspired its discovery.

It should be highlighted that when the ECS interacts with phytocannabinoids, that interaction is longer, stronger and more diverse.  

The entourage effect is a phenomenon observed in cannabis where the combined presence of various cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds enhances or modifies the overall therapeutic and physiological effects of the plant.

 

While both phytocannabinoids (found in cannabis) and endocannabinoids (naturally produced in the body) interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), there are several factors that contribute to the unique nature of the entourage effect with phytocannabinoids.

In contrast, endocannabinoids are naturally produced by the body in response to physiological needs and interact primarily with the body's own cannabinoid receptors.

 

While they play essential roles in maintaining homeostasis, the complex mixture of phytocannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis is not replicated in the same way by endocannabinoids.

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