We are the first generation of human beings to know about our EndoCannabinoid System (ECS).
Its discovery in 1990 means that cannabinoid science is now one of the most exciting new branches of medicine, biochemistry, molecular biology and neuropharmacology.
Importantly, knowing about the ECS can literally save your life
Some of the wide-ranging benefits gained by loving your ECS:
* all words highlighted in green are links to peer-reviewed research papers
Cannabinoids provide effective pain management whilst improving digestion, unlike Opioid medicines which cause constipation, drowsiness and confusion. Critically, opiod medicines do not address the cause of our pain, they simply block the pain signal. Most pain is caused by inflammation, particularly nerve inflammation. Cannabinoids are neuroprotectant which means they reduce nerve inflammation, thus treating the cause of the pain as well as the pain itself. Furthermore, recent research has linked opioids to cancer growth.
Cannabinoid science combined with talking therapy is rapidly becoming effective treatment for the silent killers PTSD and depression. Currently in the USA, PTSD is taking the lives of more than 22 US veterans every day. In the UK, depression is the highest cause of death, commonly suicide, in men under the age of 50.
The ECS is bringing hope and joy to a growing number of parents whose children have drug-resistant epilepsy.
The ECS is a multi-tasking marvel, regulating our organs and our core body temperature (Thermoregulation) as well as regulating our fat and muscle mass. The ECS even regulates conception and sexual function/dysfunction.
Our ECS produces the natural “runner’s high” through sporting activity by increasing levels of Anandamide. it can also greatly improve quality of life. Indeed it can make a “life of pain”, livable.
Particularly important for the elderly, as working with the ECS offers a more effective approach to pain management without affecting the digestive system and without fear of overdose or dependency. Vital too for treating Sepsis, which is on the increase.
In a world with increasingly ageing populations, it offers a humane and caring alternative to many opioid medicines.
70% of us are currently heading towards an Opioid End of Life care and it’s an undignified way to die and has little to recommend it.
21st Century cannabinoid science raises standards of care, brings quality good-byes and improves quality of life.
The far-reaching effects of the ECS can be shown by three of the processes that it regulates:
1) Homeostasis is the regulation of all the body’s systems to maintain and optimise our health.
2) Autophagy functions as a tumor suppression mechanism by allowing regulated degradation and recycling of damaged cell parts.
3) Neurogenesis is the creation of brain cells and neural matter, particularly in the Hippocampus where our new memories are formed.
The EndoCannabinoid System – an overview
The ECS was discovered in 1990 as a result of all the pioneering research work carried out by Professor Raphael Mechoulam in Israel. Humans have the ECS in common with all mammals, so this science benefits our pets too.
The ECS is involved in establishing and maintaining homeostasis, which optimises our body’s needs and resources (keeping us well) and regulating the body’s ten other physiological systems. The ECS is made up of cannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors which can be found in the brain, organs, glands, central nervous and our immune system.
The ECS is a hugely extensive communication network that links all our organs to our immune system. All our organs are connected to the ECS by cannabinoid receptors. In our organs there are Cannabinoid type 1 receptors (CB1) which are made from 473 amino acids. The ECS also regulates the immune system through Cannabinoid type 2 receptors (CB2) made from approximately 360 amino acids. Cannabinoid receptors are found all around the body, making the ECS the largest receptor system in the mammalian body.
In this image we can see CB1 receptors (shown in orange) on the surface of a neuron and these receptors can be triggered by various cannabinoids (acting as agonists).
Of particular importance is the fact that whilst the brain has a huge concentration of CB1 receptors, there are however, surprisingly few in the brain stem. This means that phytocannabinoids can neither stop our heart, nor stop our breathing – unlike opioid medicines. Especially as accidental opioid overdoses are now a major killer in the USA.
Currently, we know that our bodies have five endogenous cannabinoids.
Now there is a contender for a sixth, acting on receptor GPR55.
GPR55 is now a candidate to be named cannabinoid receptor type 3, CB3.
Cannabinoid signalling, with all its complexity, is the basis of how the ECS carries out its regulatory role.
The ECS uses biochemical cascade, where a stimulus on a receptor triggers a series of reactions.
The ECS is a signalling system that helps cells communicate, facilitating homeostasis and autophagy. Autophagy is the regulated process where cells can isolate a degraded or dysfunctional part of the cell’s contents for recycling.
The ECS is far more than a sum of its receptors. It regulates all the organs it connects to the immune system. Which explains why it plays such a vital role in keeping us well. The regulatory role of the ECS is to manage homeostasis. This means that our ECS is always working to optimise every aspect of our body’s energy balance and health.
The EndoCannabinoid System is vital to our existence; of the known endogenous cannabinoids (naturally found in our body) we know most about Anandamide (found in mother’s milk) and 2-AG (found in the nervous system and also in mother’s milk). So it is worthy of note, that both CB1 and CB2 receptors are found on sperm cells and that levels of Anandamide and 2-AG are found in the uterus and control both the viability and mobility of the sperm.
The discovery of the ECS is a game-changer as it provides us with a golden opportunity to completely rethink preventative healthcare, palliative care and indeed most areas of medicine. It could help us to enjoy being healthier, for longer. It also benefits the state since healthier people place less of a burden on the state, e.g. NHS (in the UK) or Obamacare (in the USA).
Our individual ECS is as unique as our DNA and the EndoCannabinoid System is such an exciting discovery that some researchers are now describing it as “the supercomputer that regulates homeostasis in mammals”.
The EndoCannabinoid System is now in the process of being added to the list of systems common to all mammals.
Currently there are ten systems: 1. Cardiovascular/circulatory blood system 2. Digestive/Excretory 3. Endocrine system (hormones) 4. Integumentary/exocrine (skin, hair, nails) 5. Lymphatic/Immune 6. Muscular/skeletal
7. Nervous 8. Renal/urinary 9. Reproductive 10. Respiratory. The EndoCannabinoid system will be the 11th, regulating the other ten systems.
At last, for those who are terminally ill or living life in pain, there is hope. The more that researchers discover about the ECS, the more its importance grows. It is already clear that the ECS is vital to our very survival.
It’s always wise to question information, so please feel free to google and research the EndoCannabinoid System. Become informed and be sure to check out the growing wikipedia page on the EndoCannabinoid System.
It’s Time for Everyone to Know…
We will be expanding this site to fulfill our charity’s four objectives:
1. Our prime purpose is to educate everyone about the existence of the EndoCannabinoid System (ECS) discovered in 1990, to educate everyone about the importance of their own EndoCannabinoid System, that we share with every vertebrate creature and some invertebrates.
2. To aid and support those seeking assistance by facilitating information and guidance through online forums, social media and our website whilst championing the importance of the ECS. Communicating the latest breakthroughs in cannabinoid science in a way that is easy to understand.
3. To educate the differences between Endogenous Cannabinoids, Exogenous Cannabinoids, Phyto Cannabinoids and the synergy of the “entourage effect” between different phyto cannabinoids.
4. To promote the study of the ECS as a part of biochemistry, molecular biology and neuropharmacology as one of the most exciting new fields in medicine.
Thank you for taking the time to read our overview of the ECS. Please share this knowledge widely and you can also support us by clicking the donate button to really help us make a difference… Thank you.
Don’t die of ignorance
love your endocannabinoid system