endocannabinoid system

Shockingly, the endocannabinoid system wasn’t discovered until 1992. It was found by Raphael Mechoulam as well as NIMH researchers William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus.

Fifty years ago THC had just been identified – now, thanks to the discovery of that one cannabinoid we’ve discovered an entire molecular system within our bodies that we never knew about. How far we have come.

Have you ever wondered why cannabis affects us the way it does? Why does THC and CBD heal our bodies and offer so much relief to the ill? What makes this plant such a diverse medicine, able to treat such a large number of vastly different conditions? It’s due in large part to the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a biological system that can be found in just about any living thing with a vertebrae. The ECS helps to regulate just about everything in our bodies and helps keep our internal systems in balance. The endocannabinoid system is the most important system within our bodies – responsible for maintaining homeostasis. If our endocannabinoid system is out-of-whack, your whole body could be at risk as it is responsible for many of our normal day to day functions. This is the opinion of many scientists and backed up by data from government funded studies. Think about that, the ECS was discovered in 1992 and can very well be the most important system within us and we have kept cannabinoids illegal since then!!!

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that occur naturally in the human body (endocannabinoids) and cannabis plants (phytocannabinoids), and interactions with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) trigger various physiological actions. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the best-known cannabinoid because of its psychoactive qualities, while cannabidiol (CBD) absolutely has the most significant role in the plant’s medicinal benefits. The ECS is responsible for physiological processes like appetite, pain sensation, mood and memory. cannabinoids mediate communication between our cells and systems. Activated receptors trigger various chemical, natural and pharmacological effects relating to how we feel mentally and physically. Furthermore, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) owns patent No. 6630507 on the neuroprotectant properties of cannabinoids, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) says whole-plant marijuana appears to slow cancer growth and potentially kill certain types of cancer cells. NIDA also acknowledged that THC reduces nausea and muscle control problems, while CBD has therapeutic potential for childhood epilepsy, seizures, mental health disorders, addiction and other serious conditions.

We have deprived our bodies of cannabinoids for far too long. It’s a scientific fact that cannabinoids and other components of cannabis & hemp can modulate many physiological systems in our brains and bodies. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that trigger cannabinoid (and other) receptors such as CB1 and CB2. More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified in the cannabis plant. Of these tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) have been studied most extensively. In addition to cannabinoids produced by the plant, there are endogenous cannabinoids (such as anandamide and 2AG) that occur naturally in the mammalian brain and body. As humans, we have these compounds existing within us. After all, why would we have cannabinoid receptors if cannabinoids could only be delivered from external sources? We have evolved with this plant for thousands of years. Hemp and cannabis has been used for medicine, food, clothing, animal feed and religion since we walked earth. It’s no wonder we are experiencing a health revolution with the amazing health results we are finally receiving again.

Cannabinoid Receptors

CB1 Cannabis receptor
CB1 Cannabis Receptor

Anandamide was the first, naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid discovered. It was found by Raphael Mechoulam as well as NIMH researchers William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus. Endocannabinoids attach to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in our brains and nervous systems. Cannabinoid receptors are embedded in the cellular membrane in the central nervous system, the immune system and in various organs. Cannabinoids bind to receptors like a key fitting into a lock. The ECS helps the body maintain a stable biological environment, or homeostasis. While we knew about the plant first – this cellular process has been happening within us for millions of years.

The two main ECS receptors are type 1 (CB1) primarily in the central and peripheral nervous system and type 2 (CB2) primarily in the immune system. THC binds directly to cannabinoid receptors and CBD affects them indirectly by stimulating endocannabinoid production in the body and suppressing the enzyme that metabolizes the natural chemicals. This is what makes CBD so effective with so many ailments. Furthermore, CBD and CBN are both examples of phytocannabinoids that bind to non-cannabinoid receptors, including 5-HT1A (serotonin), TRPV1 (pain, inflammation) and adenosine A2A (cardiovascular, respiratory). I like to think of it this way, THC can get you REALLY HIGH, I mean it can really knock you on your keister. CBD won’t do that, but what will it do? If you smoke (or make an edible and ingest) a cannabis flower thats 20% THC you are feeling it, you are stoned. But if you do the same thing with a 20% CBD flower, you won’t get stoned. But what is it doing? Its the same strength of a different cannabinoid, its got to be doing something. It is, it’s traveling through your body and telling it to produce more endocannabinoids and replenishing your ECS.

cb2 cannabis receptor
CB2 Cannabis Receptor

The possibilities that come with understanding the endocannabinoid system are endless. The ECS is involved in regulating every aspect of our well being. The answer to curing and ending disease and other ailments lies in learning how to manipulate this system and the receptors. Here is a quote from a well known Dr. here in Maine, Dustin Sulak: “I now believe the answer is yes. Research has shown that small doses of cannabinoids from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. This is why many first-time cannabis users don’t feel an effect, but by their second or third time using the herb they have built more cannabinoid receptors and are ready to respond. More receptors increase a person’s sensitivity to cannabinoids; smaller doses have larger effects, and the individual has an enhanced baseline of endocannabinoid activity. I believe that small, regular doses of cannabis might act as a tonic to our most central physiologic healing system.” – Dustin Sulak, DO

 

People are starting to realize the best solution is a natural one. One thats been used for thousands of years to treat conditions of all sorts. With the understanding of the endocannabinoid system comes the chance to bring the truth about cannabis to light – finally allowing us to understand how one plant can have such a positive impact on so many different ailments.

 

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