The Endocannabinoid System is a complex cell-signaling system whose primary function is to help keep the body in homeostasis.
Discovered in the late 1980s experts are still working to determine exactly what ECS does and how it does it. In the interim, it is known that ECS manages and regulates many of our body's natural functions including: Mood; Cognition; Memory; Motor Cordination/Control; Appetite; Pain Perception; Immune response; Temperature; Reproduction; Sleep and Bone Development.
Based on this list of functions ECS bridges mind and body with logical influence on both our emotional and physical balance.
What the Endocannabinoid System Does
Simply explained, ECS communicates with cells located throughout our body to keep us as stable as possible in the face of (for many of us) frequently-changing external circumstances. To do this, the Endocannabinoid System uses a network of two (2) specialized types of Receptors located throughout our body:
The following chart shows the locations of Endocannabinoid System Receptors throughout the body in vital organs and systems:
How ECS does it
Collectively ECS uses this network of receptors to adjust to changes in our external environment that affect our cells and/or require them to adjust. ECS uses Endocannabinoids (which it manufactures on demand as needed) to signal these adjustments and importantly direct different types of cells to collaborate toward our body’s best outcome. We like to think of ECS much like the "conductor of an orchestra" who uses a "baton" to signal different orchestra sections toward the common goal of producing a great, harmonized sound (like ECS uses Endocannabionoids to cause our cells to work together).
In short the Endocannabinoid System helps keep our internal processes stable. But we still have much to learn. Hopefully as further ECS research leads to new knowledge of how this highly-complex cell signalling system works we will be guided on how to keep our ECS performing at its best.
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