Think back for a moment to the last time you sent an urgent message to a friend, coworker, or family member. Now imagine that a glitch in the system prevented that message from being delivered. The breakdown in communication could have triggered any number of unfavorable consequences, issues that could have been avoided had your message reached its intended recipient.
Lost messages and communication delays can also have a considerable impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Since nearly every essential function in your body relies on a complex network of messengers and receptors, any glitch in communication can have a considerable impact on the way you feel, particularly when communication breaks down within the largest regulatory system in your body, your endocannabinoid system (ECS).
ECS signaling regulates such a wide range of vital functions that many researchers believe its primary role is to regulate the processes of homeostasis, the internal balance all living organisms must maintain to survive.1 When internal or external forces disrupt that balance, it’s the processes of homeostasis that restore equilibrium. You can help protect that balance, that essential equilibrium, by knowing how your ECS works and what you can do to support its many vital functions.
Understanding the Basic Principles of ECS Function
The messengers relaying urgent signals to ECS receptors are called cannabinoids. Your body makes two main cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-Ag (2-Arachidonoylglycerol). They’re called endocannabinoids because “endo” means within. The endocannabinoids produced in your body are made as needed and quickly broken down by metabolic enzymes once their message has been delivered. The response initiated by your ECS receptors depends on the chemical composition of the message received. To understand just how essential ECS function is to your overall health and wellbeing, consider some of the many processes throughout your body influenced by ECS signaling:
- Moods and emotions
- Memory and learning
- Sleep and sleep cycles
- Stress responses
- Appetite and metabolism
- Thermoregulation and neuroprotection
- Digestive processes and cardiovascular function
- Endocrine system function
- Muscle movement and motor control
- Pain perception and reward-seeking behavior
Ideally, your body would make all the ECS messengers and receptors it needs to keep essential communication flowing efficiently. But numerous internal and external factors can increase the demand for ECS messengers, including illness, injury, and stress. When your body can’t keep up with the increase in demand, communication suffers. Supporting ECS function could help your body regain or maintain essential balance.
Five Ways to Support the Largest Regulatory System in Your Body
While events leading to the discovery of the endocannabinoid system began decades ago, researchers didn’t realize they had uncovered a previously unidentified regulatory system until the early 1990s.2 That’s why so many people today are learning about ECS function for the very first time.
Once you realize how essential ECS function is to your overall health and wellbeing, it’s much easier to recognize the many potential benefits of ECS support. The following five recommendations will help ensure your body has all the ECS messengers and receptors it needs to keep essential processes balanced and working as they should.
#1 — Focus on Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats essential for a wide range of functions throughout your body, including the production of the ECS messengers anandamide and 2-AG. Your body also needs Omega-3s to synthesize CB1, the ECS receptor located throughout your central nervous system.3 Since omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in ECS function, be sure your diet contains a steady supply of foods like salmon, mackerel, almonds, chia seeds, and walnuts.4 If your diet does not have enough omega-3 fatty acids, your body may not be producing ECS messengers and receptors as efficiently as it could.
#2 — Pay Attention to Your Gut
The bacterial composition of your gut influences the communication between the nerves lining your digestive tract and your brain, forming your enteric nervous system (ENS). Although your ENS forms the connections linking your central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, and adrenal system, current research suggests that the communication between these essential systems is regulated by ECS signaling. That’s why many researchers today believe that beneficial bacteria commonly found in yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods (lactobacillus acidophilus) not only has benefits for overall digestive health but also supports ECS function.5,6
#3 — Increase Activity Levels
For decades, much of the research investigating the many health benefits of regular exercise linked the mood-boosting potential of physical activity to the release of endorphins, the chemicals responsible for the feelings of euphoria associated with intense physical activity. But with new insight into ECS function, current research also shows that physical activity supports endocannabinoid system function by increasing anandamide production, one of the two main endocannabinoids produced in your body. Anandamide influences a wide range of physiological mechanisms, from mood fluctuations to brain cell formation by binding with ECS receptors. Anandamide is frequently called the “bliss molecule” because of its mood-elevating capabilities.7
#4 — Find Meaningful Ways to Alleviate Stress
Stress triggers the release of cortisol, the hormone responsible for preparing your body to fight for survival or flee to safety. Over time, elevated cortisol levels can take a considerable toll on your physical and emotional health.8 Based on the results of animal studies, current research suggests that increased cortisol levels impair the way CB1 receptors function. That means reducing the impact of stress hormones on your body could help your endocannabinoid system function more efficiently.9 To manage the effects of stress and reduce cortisol levels, consider spending time revisiting a forgotten hobby, investigating a few calming yoga poses, practicing deep breathing exercises, or meditating to boost ECS function.
#5 — Add CBD to Your Daily Routine
CBD is the commonly used abbreviation for cannabidiol, a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid (plant-based cannabinoid) found in cannabis plants. Most people using CBD to support ECS function prefer hemp-derived products because they don’t contain enough THC to cause intoxication. The plant-based cannabinoids in hemp extract support ECS function by mimicking the effects of anandamide and 2-AG to relay urgent messages to your ECS receptors. 10
Supporting ECS Function with Pure, Potent Hemp-Derived CBD Products
Supporting ECS function with hemp-derived CBD can have a considerable impact on your overall health and wellbeing. But not all CBD products are the same. Some product manufacturers rely on questionable extraction methods that could leave potentially harmful chemical residues behind. Others sell low-quality products that contain far less CBD than specified on product labels. Since the purity and potency of your hemp-derived products could determine how well they might support ECS function, it’s important to purchase products from a reputable, reliable company like CBDistillery™.
To learn more about the many potential benefits of ECS support, visit CBDistillery™ to download The Ultimate CBD User Guide, or browse our #CBD Movement™ blog. While your there, consider viewing our selection of high-quality CBD tinctures, gummies, capsules, and topicals. All CBDistillery™ products are third-party tested for purity and potency and US Hemp Authority™ certified. You can view third-party test results on our product pages or scan the QR code on every product label.
- Journal of Young Investigators. C Sallaberry, L Astern. (2018 June 01) The Endocannabinoid System, Our Universal Regulator.
- Labroots. M Moore. (2018 April 05) How the Endocannabinoid System was Discovered.
- Intech Open. C Bosch-Bouju, S Laye. (2015 September 29) Dietary Omega-6/Omega-3 and Endocannabinoids: Implications for Brain Health and Diseases.
- Healthline. F Hjalmarsdottir. (2019 September 30) 12 Foods That Are Very High in Omega-3.
- Nature Medicine. C Rousseaux et al. (2007 January 13) Lactobacillus Acidophilus Modulates Intestinal Pain and Induces Opioid and Cannabinoid Receptors.
- Medical News Today. Z Villines. (2019 January 15) Is Lactobacillus Acidophilus Good for Health?
- Acta Pharmacologica Sinica. M Scherma et al. (2018 July 26) Brain Activity of Anandamide: A Rewarding Bliss?
- Healthline. A Pietrangelo, S Watson. (2020 March 29) The Effects of Stress on Your Body.
- The Journal of Neuroscience. J Wamsteeker et al. (2010 August 18) Repeat Stress Impairs Endocannabinoid Signaling in the Paraventricular Nexus of the Hypothalamus.
- Product CBD. (2020) How CBD Works.