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The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) - A Primer



The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system comprising a network of endocannabinoids and cannabinoid receptors that exist in our bodies. While experts are still in the process of fully understanding ECS, research so far suggests its role in various functions, including sleep, mood, pain sensation, appetite and memory.


The three main components of our ECS are:


  1. Endocannabinoids - the cannabinoids made in, and by, our body (also called endogenous cannabinoids). Examples of endocannabinoids include anadamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG);

  2. Cannabinoid receptors - found on the surface of cells and bind to cannabinoids (that our body produces and/or that we consume). There are two main endocannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mostly found in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors are mostly found in peripheral nervous system, especially immune cells; and

  3. Metabolic Enzymes - are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoids after their function. Two main enzymes responsible for this are (i) fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA and (ii) monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which typically breaks down 2-AG.


The endogenous cannabinoid system has been described as “an ancient lipid signaling network which in mammals modulates neuronal functions, inflammatory processes, and is involved in the etiology of certain human lifestyle diseases, such as Crohn’s disease, atherosclerosis and osteoarthritis. The system is able to downregulate stress-related signals that lead to chronic inflammation and certain types of pain, but it is also involved in causing inflammation-associated symptoms, depending on the physiological context.” Gertsch J. Anti-inflammatory cannabinoids in diet: towards a better understanding of CB(2) receptor action? Commun Integr Biol. 2008;1:S26–8.


Cannabinoids may have many therapeutic benefits in managing chronic pain, including when it comes to sleep. Not only does normalized sleep improve pain relief and mood disorders associated with both poor pain control and poor sleep patterns, but there is significant risk of sleep-disordered breathing associated with central nervous system (CNS) drugs used to treat chronic pain. Zutler M. and Holty J.C. Opioids, sleep and sleep-disordered breathing. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17:1443–9. Opioid analgesics are most problematic, especially if combined with other CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines. It has been reported that cannabinoids suppress sleep-related apnea.Id.


The phytocannabinoids [i.e., the cannabinoids that naturally occur in cannabis or hemp plants] have efficacy in the treatment of various chronic pain conditions with greatest promise as a therapeutic adjunct in treating peripheral and central neuropathic pain and inflammation-mediated chronic pain. Perry G. F. and Mark J. R. The Endocannabinoid System, Cannabinoids, and Pain. 2013. Rambam Maimonides Med J. 2013 Oct; 4(4). Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most researched of the cannabinoids and has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent.Id.


Given that inflammation is the basis for a majority of chronic diseases in the Western world, CBD is assured to be a welcome addition to holistic healing. Supplementing various healing modalities with CBD can can advance one's health and wellness.


Finding the right CBD product can be a daunting task for many obvious reasons. To avoid the confusion among healthcare providers and consumers, we made CBD formulations that are pharma grade and are supplied to consumers only upon recommendation from a physician or a healthcare provider. Read more about us and our products to learn about how you can get our exclusive CBD products.


Flower Petals Botanicals LLC does not sell or distribute any products that are in violation of the United States Controlled Substances Act (USA CDA). We do sell and distribute hemp-based products. We are committed to scientifically advanced products to better serve the community. Research over the years has shown that CBD can be beneficial to a healthy lifestyle and serve as a possible alternative to traditional medications for a range of ailments. If CBD oil could improve your mental or physical well-being, there is no better time than now to start using it. Contact a healthcare provider near you and ask our products.

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