ECS – The Natural High

by | May 15, 2024

What is ECS?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring THC, a well-known cannabinoid. The ECS is involved in regulating a range of functions and processes, including sleep, mood, appetite, memory, and pain sensation.

ECS and Cannabis

Cannabis is the most commonly used drug in the UK after alcohol and tobacco. It is a Class B drug, and possession and/or supply can lead to criminal charges, a fine, and even a prison sentence.

The effects of cannabis can vary from person to person, but generally, people take it thinking it will help them feel relaxed and happy. However, there are serious mental health risks with cannabis use, including reduced motivation, impaired memory, mood swings, disturbed sleep, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and paranoia. The chances of developing serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia are increased with use, and it can make an existing mental health problem worse.

The ‘high’ achieved with cannabis use is due to a psychoactive compound called THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). The other component is CBD (cannabidiol), which doesn’t bring about a ‘high’ but can produce relaxation and sleep and has some medicinal properties.

ECS and the Human Body

Interestingly, the human body produces its own endogenous cannabinoids – or endocannabinoids – natural equivalents of THC and CBD. Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) has an effect on many systems of the body, including appetite, memory, pain, pleasure, inflammation, sleep, mood, and many more. Research into the ECS, which appears to be an intricate and far-reaching system, may lead to the development of new medicines for many health conditions.

There are many natural ways of increasing our endocannabinoids, including:

  • Reducing stress (read my blog post on building resilience to stress)
  • Exercise (Learn why your brain loves exercise)
  • Cold exposure
  • Omega-3-fatty acids in the diet
  • Social interaction (Find out more ways you can improve your mental health)
  • Massage

It’s important to note that these methods have not been clinically proven to affect levels of endocannabinoids; however, they are natural ways to support your ECS and improve overall health.

For a useful fact sheet, go to Cannabis – Find Out the Facts.

If you are concerned about cannabis use or want more information, call FRANK on 0800 77 66 00 or visit Talk to Frank.