While we are learning more and more each day, how the Endocannabinoid System works with the body is the prevailing question these days. As we figure this incredible system out, are we finding the secrets to restoring health, the fountain of youth or even more difficult to explain things? In short, we believe the ECS will be the single greatest area of healthcare over the coming years.
A very interesting discovery about one of our endocannabinoids, Anandamide, is that in small amounts it produces anti-anxiety effects. However, it?s also been found that in high doses it can actually increase anxiety.? Why? HOW?
The simple answer is it effects our endocannabinoids and mitochondria function.
Inside every tiny little cell of your body resides something called the mitochondria. This extremely unique component of every cell has many different functions from energy production all the way to controlling the fate of the cell. Yes, that’s correct whether a cell decides to live or die is somehow magically held within the power of the mitochondria!
The amazing cellular link between the ECS and the mitochondria explain its pivotal role in maintaining cellular energy balance (homeostasis at the CELLULAR level) AND also on a larger scale balance SYSTEMIC energy. From a small impact to a big impact, this begins to answer the question of how the ECS actually regulates and balances us in addition to its critical role in our survival.
The mitochondria is nicknamed by many as the powerhouse because of its role in producing the energy (or fuel) needed for that cell to function (called ATP). No energy = no function = no life. It is seriously important!? The flow of energy is the defining difference of a living, breathing body and a cadaver. Energy is the expression of life.
However, when under attack the mitochondria appear to switch from energy-producers into self-protection mode and the primary focus becomes survival.? It essentially turns into a battleship.? There are many things that can attack our cells exposure to toxins through medication, lifestyle, and the environment all contribute.
Let’s talk about a common and simple one the flu virus
When we are exposed to a virus that threatens our body, the mitochondria of the cells shift from producing energy to protection and kill mode. This is why we get very tired and don’t feel like moving out of bed our cells priority is on survival and knocking out the invading infection. Thank God for this pre-programmed, innate response!
I feel like people are the same way. When we have the right environment and support, we can thrive and output some amazing things that can bring about wonderful things. When under constant attack and in a toxic environment, we operate out of survival and don?t output stellar work.
Back to the mitochondria
If the threat or damage to the cell is too intense, the cell will undergo one of two different pathways to death:
- APOPTOSIS – Also referred to as programmed cell death which is kind of like the old school Control-Alt-Delete trick. The mitochondria will trigger a self-destruct pathway. The cell will begin to shrink and depart from its neighboring cells. It is then broken down into small pieces which are then removed by macrophages.
- NECROSIS – which happens when the cell is physically injured, exposed to toxic chemicals and poison, or in some other way harmed that is associated with leaving a mess of highly toxic debris that creates inflammation.
It is definitely preferred for a cell to undergo apoptosis than necrosis for a number of reasons, one of which being that it is much easier to clean up and leaves no trace so these cells have no chance to cause the damage that necrotic cells do. Without this vital function programmed into every cell, women wouldn’t experience menstruation and we’d all have webbed hands and feet among many other things!
Cells are constantly turning over. Old cells die. New cells are made. This is just how it all works. For instance, the cells of your intestinal lining turn over every 5 to 7 days while the liver can take about 7 years. Your entire body is basically made new every 7 to 10 years from this cellular turn over process. But it relies heavily on the proper function of the mitochondria to do this exhausting work.
From maintaining homeostasis to eradicating potentially dangerous cancer cells, apoptosis is a critical component to the cycle of every cell. This pre-programmed response to undergo apoptosis is a big piece of the cancer puzzle.
Ready for this hot nugget to throw into the mix
Cannabinoids have a direct impact on apoptosis!
Research is uncovering the vital role the Endocannabinoid System plays in modulating mitochondrial function and giving deeper validity to how the ECS actually regulates and balances the many systems that make us tick. It may also be a big building block in understanding why cells that are under attack can become hijacked and turned into cancer. Could the cannabinoid connection be a vital link?
Understanding the cellular connection of the ECS is definitely explaining some of the how behind our innate ability to self-regulate and create balance and maintain HOMEOSTASIS.
Let’s fly up a bit and look down on the forest for a moment
We have this maze of connections within our body that is able to receive information about changes to the environment (both internally and externally), and is then able to communicate with all the other systems of our body (immune, endocrine, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, etc.) by reaching the energy source INSIDE of teeny-tiny little cells all over our bodies so that those cells and systems can then elicit it’s best response to the change.
See our bodies are truly incredible masterpieces!
And all of this is done without our conscious awareness to it! This intelligent force just naturally exists within each and every one of us and we’re just scratching the surface in our understanding of how it all works. What a truly amazing discovery!
Understanding how the Endocannabinoid System works with the body is something we may never stop learning more about. We at Restore Health are committed to this life changing field for the long haul. Read more from a clinical study regarding the role of the endocannabinoid system in the regulation of endocrine function and in the control of energy balance in humans.