We all have one, the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) of the body.
Discovered only at the turn of the 21st century by legendary Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam, the ECS is now coming to be understood at least in scientific circles as the fourth major circulatory system. However, most people don’t know what ECS is or what it does. The science is still too new.
Here is the “science light” high pitch: The ECS is a network of at least two kinds of neurotransmitters or receptors. CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout the human body. When activated, they modulate vital “channels” of mineral transmission and processes, including protein modification. What they do beyond is only now, finally becoming more common knowledge as Prohibition dissipates.
Here, in a nutshell, is what this wondrous network does for the human body.
- Transports endocannabinoids (naturally produced within the human body) within the body itself. Cannabinoids that people consume that come from cannabis plants are called phytocannabinoids.
- Appears to work as a regulator of “normal” body functions. This includes the role of the ECS in lowering pain (for example) and what also seems to be the ability to reduce viral infection and organ damage caused by the same.
- Regulates food intake. In this case, it is not only the stereotypical “munchies” that recreational users can experience, or even the ability to conquer nausea, but some preliminary research has also shown that blocking cannabinoid receptors can be involved in weight loss. The ECS is also involved in the digestive processes of the gut.
- Impacts the central nervous system. Cannabinoid signaling impacts mood, memory, and pain sensation as well as spasticity.
- Regulates glucose in skeletal muscle cells leading to muscle and bone formation, remodeling, and growth.
- Responds to and appears to lower inflammation and trigger other immune system responses.
- Impacts movement and spasticity. Namely, it reduces spasms and pain caused by otherwise mostly untreatable movement disorders, including MS and dystonia.
- Alters memory function. This has been one of the most controversial aspects of even medical treatment. For medical users, for example, the drug appears to be able to block highly painful flashback memories. Studies have also indicated that the drug may be used to treat depression.
- Appears to contribute to the exercise-induced euphoria, also known as a “runner’s high.”
- Regulates other body functions, such as sleep, metabolism and even body temperature
What else it does is one of the most intriguing scientific investigations of our century.