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Uncovered over 30 years ago

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system that is present and active in your body, even if you do not use cannabis. It was discovered in the late 1980’s to early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, perhaps the most popular cannabinoid of the bunch.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body; in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always homeostasis, the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.

What does the ECS affect?

Research is still being conducted, as there is still much to learn about the Endocannabinoid System. Studies and evidence thus far, however, suggest that the ECS may play an essential role in addressing issues related to:

  • appetite and digestion
  • metabolism
  • chronic pain
  • inflammation and other immune system responses
  • mood
  • learning and memory
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • cardiovascular system function
  • muscle formation
  • bone remodeling and growth
  • liver function
  • reproductive system function
  • stress
  • skin and nerve function

References:

  1. Lu, Hui-Chen, and Ken Mackie. “An Introduction to the Endogenous Cannabinoid System.” Biological psychiatry vol. 79,7 (2016): 516-25. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2015.07.028
  2. Chiou, Lih-Chu et al. “Targeting the cannabinoid system for pain relief?.” Acta anaesthesiologica Taiwanica : official journal of the Taiwan Society of Anesthesiologists vol. 51,4 (2013): 161-70. doi:10.1016/j.aat.2013.10.004
  3. Fride, Ester. “The endocannabinoid-CB receptor system: Importance for development and in pediatric disease.” Neuro endocrinology letters vol. 25,1-2 (2004): 24-30.
  4. Sharkey, Keith A, and John W Wiley. “The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in the Brain-Gut Axis.” Gastroenterology vol. 151,2 (2016): 252-66. doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2016.04.015

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