The endocannabinoid system (eCS) has receptors throughout your whole body. It helps regulate a wide range of bodily functions, with actions often summarised by:
“eat, sleep, relax, forget, and protect”
Actively supporting your eCS is important for overall health. There are many simple ways that
small (or big!) lifestyle changes can help you restore balance to your eCS.
Chronic stress downregulates the eCS by decreasing the levels of your naturally occurring
endocannabinoids (eg AEA and 2-AG). Stress, either physical or emotional, can release
hormones (corticosteroids & catecholamines) that can cause increases in heart rate and
breathing rate, sweating, light-headedness, difficulty thinking, muscle tension, chest pain, and
anxiety. The eCS and these hormones are closely integrated and together are responsible for
how we experience, react to, and process stress.
Consider what may interest you from the list below. Not everyone needs to become a yogi to
support their eCS. Do what works for you
Several studies have demonstrated that medium intensity exercise (but not low or high intensity) increases eCS signalling by increasing blood levels of AEA and increasing CB1 receptor expression.
Choose the kind of exercise YOU like. Forcing exercise can be interpreted by our bodies as stress and negatively impact the eCS. The “runner’s high” is now believed to be an eCS reward for exercise. Go get yours!
Massage and other manual therapies also support the eCS. They have been shown to increase AEA levels in the blood by 168%.
Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation have been demonstrated to increase production of all major endocannabinoids by >70%. Yoga has shown benefits for beginners as well as advanced practitioners.
Only Consume Alcohol in Moderation
Alcohol dependence is linked to downregulation of 2- AG and CB1 receptors in the brain. Both regular heavy drinking & binge drinking can significantly impair the ability of receptors to optimally process cannabinoids. Therefore, it is recommended to only drink in moderation.
Reduce Intake of CNS stimulants
Reducing your intake of CNS stimulants, such as caffeine and cigarettes, supports your adrenal glands and your eCS.