A complete understanding of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) role in both health and disease is still being developed. The ECS controls a host of key brain and nervous system functions including regulating mood, memory, appetite, pain levels, and reward. Cannabinoid medicines are expected to have a significant impact on the treatment of neurological conditions including epilepsy, PTSD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and multiple sclerosis.
The endocannabinoid system was only discovered in 1988 when researchers identified the first cannabinoid receptor type, CB1, located primarily in the brain but also found in the central and peripheral nervous systems. CB1 Receptors are thought to affect memory, sleep, appetite, stress and pain.
A second receptor, CB2, was identified several years later. It is predominantly expressed in the cells of the immune system and is known to be responsible for the anti-inflammatory effect of cannabis as well as reducing inflammation and tissue injury.
The endocannabinoid system is comprised of a collection of specialized lipids, receptors and enzymes that help maintain basic functions and respond to illness. Although research is ongoing, some scientists even believe that the ECS helps balance and regulate proper homeostasis, which is the body’s ability to stay at its optimal condition to help keep you balanced and healthy. Through various actions, endocannabinoids are thought to help manage multiple medical conditions and a variety of symptoms.
Functions known to be affected by the endocannabinoid system include:
- Appetite and Digestion
- Cardiovascular function
- Immune function
- Organ function
- Psychiatric disease
Diseases, conditions and symptoms known to be managed by the Endocannabinoid system include:
- Cancer or cancer treatment symptoms
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders such as IBS, Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis
- HIV or AIDS symptoms
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle spasms or pain
- Nerve pain
- Sleep disorders