We are hearing more and more about this system called the ECS. All the amazing ways your body works can be absolutely mind-blowing. Even though you and I live on the same planet and many of us exist in similar communities, the way we perceive, respond and react to our world is vastly different.
One thing we do have in common is that we are all born with an internal system within us that is (ideally) actively engaged in regulating and responding to our environment … both internal and external. This extremely unique internal system we all possess is called the Endocannabinoid System, or more commonly referred to as the ECS.
A mouthful I know, but this is extremely important for all of us to understand. Your ECS is specifically designed to help you respond to your environment … both within you and surrounding you. It is critical to our survival primarily due to its important role in maintaining HOMEOSTASIS … which is a big fancy word for “human balance”.
The Regulator of Balance for Your Body
This is big! Considering that every health “problem”, condition and/ or disease stems from something becoming out of balance, and the ECS serves as an important regulator of human balance and seems to restore homeostasis. I think it goes without saying that the ECS holds the potential to help almost anyone dealing with a health challenge!
Research is exploding and more information is constantly being uncovered but so far, research has linked the ECS to the following processes:
- Memory and learning
- Neurological function and formation
- Inflammation and other immune system responses
- Appetite and digestion
- Motor control
- Muscle formation
- Bone remodeling and growth
- Cardiovascular system function
- Liver function
- Reproduction and endocrine function
Essential Key to Health, Well-being and Homeostasis
So, if the ECS is really an essential key to your health and well-being, why hasn’t your doctor mentioned this? It’s a relatively new field in the world of medicine. It was just recently, in the late 1980’s, that cannabinoid receptors were discovered. Unfortunately, because of the stigma associated with other connecting pieces of this system, most of the research in this area has been happening outside of the United States and hasn’t been a spotlight in media or medicine … until now.
In order to understand why healing stories of all kind are sweeping the nation, it’s helpful to understand a bit more about how this very unique system works.
And here we go!
The ECS has receptors throughout your entire body and is interconnected to your other vital systems (nervous system, immune system, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, endocrine system, etc.). This vast interconnectedness is a huge piece of HOW the ECS regulates “human balance” and why it is involved in a number of aspects from assisting in the development of the central nervous system to appetite and anxiety, learning and memory, depression and addiction, epilepsy and schizophrenia, stroke and multiple sclerosis, pain and inflammation, energy metabolism and cancer, cardiovascular and reproductive functions, liver and musculoskeletal disorders, and glaucoma … and probably many more …
Another key piece to the ECS involvement in the homeostasis puzzle is the retrograde style in which the communication of cannabinoids function. PLEASE Stick with me here …
All of our systems above maintain ideal function and proper balance and homeostasis by clear and constant communication. Our systems within our body work by sending messages from one cell to another. There is a physical space that messages must travel across in order to reach the other cell. Like the old school television set up with those funny looking bunny ears with an antenna on one side sending signals out, that travels across a “space”, and is then received by your antenna and the picture magically appears on the TV. Voila … it’s the same idea for our nervous system, it’s how our hormones work within the endocrine system, and most of how the body works in general.
The different “sides” of the “space” are termed presynaptic and postsynaptic and typically are travelling in that direction (from PRE, meaning before, to POST, meaning after). Now here’s the mind-blowing piece of the ECS puzzles … remember when I said this system is unique? It is a RETROGRADE signaling system which simply means messages travel in the opposite direction (from postsynaptic to presynaptic). It’s like there is something on your end of the television that is able to send the message across space that will reach the other antenna and communicate to it that something needs to change … the channel needs to change … your desire to experience a new program.
Thinking about that, aren’t you incredibly grateful that your body has been created with a system that’s entire design is to decode the messages that are being sent downstream from above and has the ability to send messages upstream in order to keep a constant and clear line of communication open between the brain and the rest of the body and enjoy balance and homeostasis!
The following clinical studies were instrumental in writing this article. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789136/
Get to know Dr Lauren Benakovich DC, ICAK
I was born and raised in my family’s health food store (Georgetown Market) in Indianapolis, IN. The seeds for optimal health were planted early on. As a child I was also raised with the hands-on healing art of chiropractic that blended beautifully into my roots. I continued growing into the field and became a chiropractor in 2007 (thank you Logan College of Chiropractic).
Throughout the years I have taken a special interest in holistic care for young families … beginning my own family in 2013 with a fairly rough start launched me into the field of functional medicine to heal my son. I am now blessed with the opportunity to facilitate the growth of four children (Noah, Hunter, Kylie and Clara) with the help of many … especially my husband, Isaiah.
I chose a long time ago to pursue a path where I could serve and inspire others in living a better life through safe and natural ways. I am humble enough to know that I do not have all the answers, but also have a passion for learning. As we continue to discover more about the endocannabinoid system, my hope is that our world can awaken to the amazing healing power and potential this will bring to all of us.