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Dopamine and Your Endocannabinoid System

You’ve certainly heard of dopamine and maybe even learned about it in biology class. But what is it and how does it affect you?

Dopamine is a chemical in your brain that is responsible for your sensations of pleasure and pain. It has been linked with addiction, ADD, ADHD and neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. When someone exhibits symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease for instance, they are low on dopamine and must enhance it with medication. The flip side of that theory is that too much dopamine may cause symptoms like those found in schizophrenia.

There are 5 dopamine receptors located deep in the middle of your brain which is also known as the substantia nigra.

 

What the Substantia Nigra Does

This part of your brain controls things like physical movement, how you learn and behave. The loss of dopamine in your brain is part of aging and researchers state that occurs naturally between 20 and 80.

In addition to movement, dopamine has other weighty jobs regulating mood, cognition and creativity. And so does your endocannabinoid system [ECS].

Your ECS is a relatively new player on the medical scene. And, while it was discovered as a part of scientific studies on marijuana, it has nothing to do with the high you can get from ingesting it.

Your ECS is a finely tuned machine that helps you maintain homeostasis in your body. Homeostasis means balance and you know what that’s like. It’s finding the sweet spot in anything you do similar to a perfect tennis shot from the middle of your racket or driving a golf ball straight and true.

 

Your endocannabinoid system works like a lock and key

Transmitters [the keys] talk to receptors [the locks] and help your body’s cells and organs function properly.  Your ECS receptors are everywhere in your body and are known as endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 [CB1 and CB2].

The receptor that is connected directly to your brain is CB1 and that’s where dopamine is stored.

 

Dopamine + Your ECS

One of the more important functions of dopamine in your brain is that it is one of the switches that powers things down and works together with something known as retrograde inhibition.

Retrograde is exactly as it sounds: Something that moves in the opposite of forward motion. Inhibition in the endocannabinoid sense is when a cell or organ is restrained. When this happens, fewer stimuli get to your midbrain and forebrain.

Your ECS makes dopamine available. When dopamine gets into your brain, retrograde inhibition occurs and you’re less likely to experience the symptoms of things like ADHD and even panic attacks because you have the requisite dopamine so there is less over-stimulation.

Here’s another way to look at it. You were probably raised to try to think first and act later. Yet, when you don’t have enough dopamine, you may reverse that more often than not by acting first and thinking later.

Your brain’s availability of dopamine is directly attributed to the cannabinoids that take up residence on dopamine binding sites. They help slow the activity in your midbrain – the area where your fight or flight reflex occurs – and gives you time to think before leaping into a situation you may later regret.

Keeping your endocannabinoid system strong and healthy is a must in today’s world of stress. Emerald Bioceutical’s line of supplements help keep your ECS in optimal form…and support the production of dopamine, too.

Reference links:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/208418-what-is-dopamine-responsible-for/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/dopamine-an-important-neurotransmitter-you-probably_us_596d05fee4b05561da5a5994