Never heard of the endocannabinoid system? You're not alone. Most people have never heard of it, as it was just discovered in the 1990s.
TL; DR? The endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) brings balance to the body, including your skin and hair.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS for short) is like an air traffic control system for your body. It modulates many of the body’s most essential functions and processes: from sleep, temperature and pain response to cell renewal.
The ECS has receptors throughout the body—primarily in the brain and the skin. These receptors “receive” or respond to cannabinoids such as cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, which is derived from both cannabis and hemp plants, is the it-girl cannabinoid that everyone’s talking about right now, but it’s just one of more than 100 different cannabinoids we’re still learning about.
Cannabinoids don’t just come from plants. Your body also produces cannabinoids, most famously one dubbed anandamide. (Fun fact: anandamide was the first endocannabinoid ever discovered, and it was named after “ananda,” the Sanskrit word for bliss. Anandamide has become known as the “bliss molecule.”)
Balance is the prime directive of the ECS: to maintain homeostasis, or balance in the body. Its goal is to make sure you’re not too hot or too cold, or that your skin isn’t too dry or too oily. It works to keep your cells in “the Goldilocks zone.”
Emerging studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system is involved with many beauty functions, including balancing the production of oil/sebum, inflammation of the skin, cell renewal, and managing the stress response in the body.
Now more than ever, balance can be hard to come by. Hormonal changes, nutritional deficiencies, and prolonged stress can throw the body out of balance—and the results of these imbalances often show up in your hair and skin. In so many ways, your skin and your hair are actually a reflection of your inner state of health.
A well-functioning ECS impacts both health and beauty. The ECS is just one more powerful reminder of the importance of addressing underlying causes of health issues, and going beyond symptoms to get to the root of the problem. Just like plants, we need healthy roots to grow and thrive.
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