The Endocannabinoid System
The endogenous cannabinoid system (ECS), named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.
Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands and immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks, but the goal is always the same: homeostasis; the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.
There are two types of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body (CB1 and CB2), but they are most abundant in the brain and immune system respectively. In a nutshell, your ECS is responsible for making sure your entire body is operating optimally.
The ECS is involved with many basic functions. It is believed to play a role in memory, mood, sleep, appetite, pain and immune response. It also affects several physiological processes including circulation, energy metabolism and organ function.
As a result, many scientists believe the overall function of this system is to regulate homeostasis.
Homeostasis is a key element in the biology of all living things. It is best described as the ability to maintain stable internal conditions that are necessary for survival. Disease is a result of failing to achieve homeostasis.