Italian scientist Vincenzo DiMarzo described the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in human health as helping us to “eat, sleep, relax, protect, and forget.”
Let’s take a closer look at these five key functions:
Eat: The ECS helps regulate appetite and satiety. Sleep: It helps you wind down and get a good night’s sleep. Relax: The ECS promotes physical and mental well-being by mitigating stress. Protect: It builds brain cells to protect your brain health, promotes healthy metabolism, and modulates your immune system so that it can fend off harmful invaders. Forget: Seems like an odd one here but forgetting is an essential component of healthy living. If you remembered every single detail of what happened every second of every day, you wouldn’t be able to function like a sane person. The ECS regulates both essential memory and “memory extinction,” forgetting what’s not important to remember.
How does the ECS do all these things? By acting as a master regulator for your body.
THE MASTER REGULATOR
Imagine you’re sitting in a room surrounded by four walls covered with 100 thermostats. Each of these thermostats regulates an essential physiological function that keeps us healthy. Think of the ECS as the sum total of all those thermostats combined into a single, dynamic system that’s involved in regulating nearly all human biological activity.
“Modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans.”
As the master regulator, the ECS controls a broad array of physiological processes like wound healing, blood pressure, pain perception, brain cell production, glucose metabolism, and immune function to control inflammation.
When you’re faced with an emergency situation, you get a surge of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline so you can act appropriately — “fight or flight,” as it’s commonly known. Once the threat is no longer present and the situation returns to normal, your ECS turns down the stress response and brings those hormones back to baseline.
Likewise, when you’re sick and you need a fever to fight and kill whatever bug you have, the ECS turns up the heat. And when the invader is eliminated and you no longer need the fever, the ECS turns down the immune system’s dimmer switch to bring your temperature back to normal. But when that dimmer switch is broken, your body can’t turn down the inflammatory response and your healthy tissues become damaged. Autoimmune diseases are an expression of ECS dysfunction.
Medical scientists have discovered that that the ECS is dysregulated - meaning it isn't functioning properly in nearly all disease states, including cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, sleep disorders, and addiction, just to name a few.
The health benefits of balancing the ECS are so profound that in 2013, U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists Pal Pacher and George Kunos declared that:
“modulating endocannabinoid system activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humans.”
Given that THC and CBD both modulate the endocannabinoid system, it’s easy to see how medical cannabis and Full Spectrum CBD products are potentially helpful for numerous conditions.