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What is the Endocannabinoid System?

by Route 40 Home & Wellness

Maintaining a healthy immune system has become more critical than ever in today’s current climate. Understanding how it works and how you can support it will give your body the best chance to fight off harmful viruses and infections. The immune system is packed with endocannabinoid receptors, which help maintain balance and homeostasis in the body. To understand your immune system, you must first understand the endocannabinoid system and how it functions in the body.

The endocannabinoid system is composed of a vast network of receptors throughout the body, regulating your biological processes, including memory, sleep cycle, appetite, mood, and your immune system.

Endocannabinoid receptors

There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors in the body: cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are found in the lungs, kidney, brain, liver, heart, bones, reproductive organs. CB2 receptors reside in the immune system and are present in the muscles, bones, and spleen.

These receptors will let the endocannabinoid system know that it needs to take action, based on the different types of cannabinoids that bind to them.

What are cannabinoids?

Cannabinoids listen to what is going on in your body and latch on to relevant receptors to signal to your body that there is a problem. As an example, if there is inflammation in your body, cannabinoids may bind to the CB2 receptors in your immune system. There are two primary kinds of cannabinoids:

  1. Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids are molecules that your body creates itself. They are naturally produced in response to any changes that occur within the body. Endocannabinoids then seek out the relevant receptors and bind to them.

  1. Phytocannabinoids

Phytocannabinoids are cannabinoids that naturally occur in plants, such as the cannabis plant. These cannabinoids help to stop your endocannabinoids from breaking down, allowing them to function for longer. They may also produce therapeutic effects and offer potential benefits for anxiety, insomnia, hypertension, epilepsy, and more.

How can you support your endocannabinoid system?

Supporting your endocannabinoid system means supporting the optimal function of your immune system. Here are a few ways that you can help to maintain a healthy endocannabinoid system.

  • Supplementing Omega-3 Fatty acids can strengthen the formation of your endocannabinoid receptors, ensuring they can effectively communicate problems to the endocannabinoid system.
  • Caryophyllene, a type of terpene, also stimulates the endocannabinoid receptors and can be found in essential oils such as black pepper and basil oils. Other essential oils that will boost your immune system include citrus oils, like orange, lemon, and grapefruit, tea tree, cedarwood, and frankincense.
  • CBD is a phytocannabinoid, and a natural immunity booster found in the cannabis plant. It helps the body naturally produce more endocannabinoids, preventing endocannabinoid deficiency.

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