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It has been discovered that the endocannabinoid system is some kind of checking system of our bodies and it helps to keep the other physiological processes in balance. ECS influences sleep, appetite, stress, mood, inflammations in the body, memory, fertility and perception of pain.

 

 

Endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been discovered only recently, in the 90’s, when the scientists tried to find out how THC influences the functions of human body. They discovered that the bodies of most of the mammals have a network of receptors (CB1 and CB2) located in the brain, in the nervous system and also in the immune system. These receptors behave as locks on the surface of the cells, which are waiting to be unlocked by cannabinoid substances – endocannabinoids, which the body creates itself (endo = “inside” of the body).

 

5 simple steps how to take care of your ECS and how to return it back to balance

1. Overeating

The CB1 and CB2 receptors react with organic substances – endocannabinoids (Anandamide and 2-AG), which influence the biological functions such as reducing pain or protecting the body from stress. 

The scientists are still exploring the ECS, but it definitely has been discovered that the ECS plays an important part in metabolic dysfunctions like obesity or diabetes.

In a recent study, which was conducted on rodents, kept on “western world diet” it was found out, that the abnormal urge for sweet and fatty meals is also connected with high level of endocannabinoids in the body and unregulated work of CB1 receptors, compared to the rodents who were on a regular diet.  

Another theory “The dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system in diabesity—a tricky problem) describes that excessive amount of body fat also increases the amount and activity of endocannabinoids, because the fatty cells are able to produce endocannabinoids themselves.

This is also another reason why to give up doughnuts, potato chips and hamburgers, and rather buy a membership in the nearby fitness center.

2. Lack of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet

Even on the healthy diet, it is important not to exclude fats, especially the ones that are beneficial for the health of our bodies – omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. These fats should be eaten in the ratio 3:1 (omega 3: omega 6).

In the case of unbalanced diet, full of instant and preserved foods, the amount of omega 6 is in excess, and that results in ECS dysbalance. The lack of omega 3 corresponds with the low level of DHA in the brain, which can result in lowering of cognitive functions, mental disorders, increased risk or degenerative disorders, chronical inflammations or pain in the joints.

The solution is simple: Exclude the preserved, instant or other chemically treated foods you’re your diet, and replace them with foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids like fatty fish and organic seeds, like flax, chia, or hemp seeds.

3. Chronic stress

Stress is considered to be one of the factors that cause many lifestyle diseases – from cancer to autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases. Chronic stress influences ECS by reducing the level of anandamide and 2-AG – endocannabinoids which bring pleasant feeling.

Relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga or acupuncture work as anti-depressives and they increase the level of anandamide in the brain. Another possibility to increase the function of ECS and lower the stress level at the same time is regular use of CBD (Cannabidiol). This cannabinoid binds to the receptors in sufficient amount and works against stress, while at the same time it doesn’t have the intoxicating effect like THC does.

4. Alcohol abuse

A glass of alcohol, which we drink from time to time, doesn’t influence ECS. The scientists have found out that the amount of consumed alcohol corresponds with increasing amount of endocannabinoids in the body, which return back to normal later.

The problem starts with chronic drinking, which exhausts the ECS, and that results in decreased ability to react to stressful situations. This is the reason why people have a tendency to repeatedly abuse alcohol – and the vicious circle starts. Martin Lee from the Project CBD writes: “…when the alcoholism is a syndrome of an insufficient function of ECS, it makes sense that people can stop drinking thanks to smoking weed, which activates ECS receptors.” You can also strengthen your ECS with consumption of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids and with regular work out.

5. Lack of sleep

Did you also notice the connection between lack of sleep and increased appetite in the next day? The researchers have proven that the lack of sleep increases the level of endocannabinoid 2-AG up to 80%. At the same time, it was found out that the participants of the study had increased the urge to eat unhealthy foods (fast food, sweets etc). The scientists think that this is due to increased activation of CB1 receptors, which cause a need to have a snack.

This is not a problem if a person suffers from insomnia only from time to time. If insomnia persists though, it can lead to unwanted gaining of weight, which is later connected with health risks such as diabetes, heart diseases, or overly stressed ECS.

If the lack of sleep is caused by hectic lifestyle, try to limit or completely cut out some of the social activities. If the lack of sleep is beyond your control (for example when taking care of a baby or when working on shifts) try to satisfy your need for fatty food with healthier snacks.

Although we all know that diverse diet, exercise, relaxation, moderate drinking and enough of sleep are the key to a happy life, now you have one more reason to stick with these rules – to keep your ECS in balance.

 

 


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