Medical Marijuana and the Endocannabinoid System
The ECS also known as the endocannabinoid system was first discovered when researchers were studying the famous cannabinoid THC. This occurred in the early 90s and it was found that the system is a cell signaling system with some real complexity.
While the endocannabinoid system is still not fully understood we do know that it helps regulate a number of systems in the human body, including:
- Pain Perception
The ECS exists and is active in your body even if you don’t use cannabis. For example, when you exercise and get the “Endorphin High”, it is actually mediated by the ECS.
What are its functions?
The ECS is complicated, and experts have not yet determined exactly how it works or all of its potential functions. However, it is known that the ECS affects the following bodily functions:
- appetite and digestion
- Chronic Pain
- learning and memory
- motor control
- muscle relaxation
- bone remodeling and growth
- nerve function
The aforementioned functions all contribute to homeostasis, which refers to stability of your internal environment. For example, if an outside force, such as pain from an injury or a fever, throws off your body’s homeostasis, your ECS kicks in to help your body return to its ideal operation.
Today, experts believe that maintaining homeostasis is the primary role of the ECS.