If you’ve done any research on cannabidiol you have more than likely stumbled upon the term, “entourage effect.” But what does it mean and why is it important? Keep reading to find out.
What Is the Endocannabinoid System?
In the 1990s, researchers identified the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a cell-signaling system within our bodies. Experts are still researching all that is encompassed in the ECS. So far, they know that it plays a role in regulating numerous functions within our body including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and reproduction/fertility.
The endocannabinoid system is present and active even if you don’t use cannabis. The ECS is comprised of three core components: endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes.
Endocannabinoids, which are also known as endogenous cannabinoids, are molecules made by your body. They are similar to cannabinoids, but the major difference is that they are actually produced by your body. Experts have identified two key endocannabinoids so far:
- Anandamide (AEA)
- 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)
These components work to ensure that internal functions are running as they should.
Endocannabinoid receptors are found all throughout your body. Endocannabinoids bind to them, which signals that the ECS needs to take action. The two main endocannabinoid receptors are CB1, which are mostly found in the central nervous system, and CBD2 which are mostly found in your peripheral nervous system. Endocannabinoids can bind to either receptor, the effect that results from the binding depends on where the receptor is located.
Enzymes have the duty of breaking down endocannabinoids once they have completed their function. The two main enzymes that are responsible for this task are fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA and monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG.
What Are the Functions of the ECS?
Researchers are still working to understand the ECS and all of its functions within our bodies. So far, researchers have linked the endocannabinoid system with:
- Appetite and digestion
- Chronic pain
- Motor control
- Cardiovascular system function
- Liver function
- Skin and nerve function
Today, the main conclusion that researchers have made is that the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in maintaining homeostasis within the body.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
Coined by Israeli scientists, The Entourage Effect is a term that describes the way that hemp’s cannabinoids, nutrients, and compounds work together within the human body. The scientists believe that when all of the compounds of cannabis are taken together, they produce a much better effect in contrast to when they are taken separately or alone.
When you consume cannabis and hemp products, your body takes in hundreds of botanical compounds. Each compound provides unique effects and benefits and they may change when combined with other compounds — this is the premise of the entourage effect.
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