There are eleven bodily systems that are well-understood and are generally considered a part of every student’s science education:
- The circulatory system
- The respiratory system
- The reproductive system
- The urinary system
- The digestive system
- The muscular system
- The skeletal system
- The endocrine system
- The lymphatic system
- The integumentary system
- The nervous system
All of these systems play critical roles in the function and health of the human body. They’re well-understood even by individuals who have simply taken compulsory science classes in school. One system that you may not have heard about, and still remains mystifying to many people today, is the endocannabinoid system.
What is the Purpose of the Endocannabinoid System?
It wasn’t until scientific minds threw their hats in the ring to understand the medical benefits of cannabis that the purpose of the endocannabinoid system started to become clearer. In fact, the ECS wasn’t even discovered until the 1990s, by Dr. LA Matsuda. His discovery changed the way that we look at the internal functions of the human body – as well as the role that cannabinoids (components of the cannabis plant) can play in human health.
That having been said, there is still a lot that science doesn’t know for sure about the ECS. What has been established is the fact that this system sort of “fine-tunes” many of an animal’s (including humans) physiological functions. It helps to promote homeostasis that aids in sleep, pain management, appetite, inflammation, memory and mood. There have even been links to the ECS and reproduction.
Interesting Facts About the Endocannabinoid System
Every vertebrate and invertebrate possess an endocannabinoid system.
There are more neuromodulatory receptors in the endocannabinoid system than anywhere else in the body. In the human brain alone, the naturally-occurring cannabinoid anandamide has the most receptors in the brain. It’s essential for healthy brain function.
ECS activity changes as a result of certain diseases. Rheumatoid arthritis and many neurodegenerative disorders have been shown to impact the activity of the ECS. This suggests that the endocannabinoid system makes for a great target in the potential treatment of these maladies.
Because the endocannabinoid system is integral to so many functions of the body and in bringing overall balance to human life, the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant serve many health functions. Prior to cannabis prohibition, humans used cannabis to treat any number of pains and illnesses as they occurred in their lives.
The discovery of the ECS has laid the foundation for the argument in favor of medical cannabis legalization, which has the potential to transform the way humans view medicine and the human body overall. As we learn more about the role of the endocannabinoid system in human health, we can expect to see a lot more research come into the mainstream regarding the medical effects of cannabis.