Before anyone can come to a deeper understanding of this miraculous plant called Cannabis and all the benefits that we can receive from it, it is essential that you have a general understanding of the scientific and physiological underpinnings of these benefits.
The essential science of Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system originates in our own bodies. The primary benefits of cannabis as medicine are found in a primary group of neuromodulatory lipids and receptors in the brain that is involved in a number of mental processes including pain, mood, hunger, sleep, memory and even fertility.
Scientists believe that our endogenous cannabinoid system, otherwise known as the “endocannabinoid system”, has been with us since not only since the beginning of Man’s evolution but 100’s of millions of years before in earlier living mammals and organisms.
Scientists believe that the main purpose is to regulate homeostasis which is defined as Nature’s tendency toward a relatively stable balance between interdependent elements, especially those elements maintained by critical physiological and psychological processes.
What is the role of the endocannabinoid system?
What are endocannabinoids?
What are cannabinoid receptors?
What is receptor expression?
What is endocannabinoid anandamide, aka “The Bliss Molecule”?
What is Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CEDS)?
How does CBD fit into all this?
There are 3 basic components to our endocannabinoid system (ECS): endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that control those endocannabinoid levels.
As previously mentioned, our bodies (as well as other mammals and animals) create endocannabinoids naturally thus the prefix “endo” meaning “made in the body”. Endocannabinoids and their receptor sites are part of the larger endocannabinoid system that regulates appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, and more.
As a modulatory system, the endocannabinoid system also plays an important role in the secretion of hormones in response to stress. Enzymes contributing to energy homeostasis (tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements) relates to food intake, the central nervous system, and gastrointestinal tract which also regulates adipose tissue production and glucose metabolism in muscle cells.
Via these CB1 and CB2 receptors, the endocannabinoid system also regulates gonadotropin fertilization capacity as well as contribution to the prevention of cardiovascular disease, curing type 2 diabetes, and treating the severe symptoms in neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and disorders like epilepsy, anxiety, and stroke with far superior results that prescription medication in most instances when applied.
Naturally produced by the body, endocannabinoids are a type of lipid which includes fats, sterols, monoglycerides, diglycerides, triglycerides, and phospholipids. These lipids affect the nervous system in ways that regulate the body’s various neurological functions, regulation, and repair. It is the endocannabinoid’s fate which is to be attracted to endocannabinoid receptor cells – which in turn affect these homeostatic changes, activities, and functions within the organism.
Endocannabinoids were named after the Cannabis plant because it was the plant that led to the discovery of the this intricately synergistic system within organisms. We are only now just beginning to appreciate the possibility and potential of these interactions. It is because endocannabinoids and plant cannabinoids can intersect within various systems of the body that the medical mysteries are constantly being realized.
Two types of Endocannabinoids connecting to these Receptors:
Anandamide and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Each one connects to specific receptors. For example, anandamide (aka the “Bliss Molecule”) engages with CB1 receptors while 2-AG receptors dock up with CB2 receptor cells. Each of these relates to and regulates different functions of the body……… CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the nervous system, reproductive organs, glands, and organs while CB2 receptors are dominant in white blood cells, spleen, and tonsils. Both receptors are found throughout the immune system and play an important role in overall physical well-being.
Imagine an individual that has more CB1 receptors than average, or in other words over-expresses CB1. That person may be very sensitive to the THC cannabinoid. Another patient may be underexpressed CB2 receptors meaning they are less affected by the CBD cannabinoid and will need more medication than other patients.
Receptor expression also refers to the density of these two receptors in various locations in the body. According to the British Journal of Pharmacology, a study published in 2010 shows that the density of these receptors varies among different regions of the body. Specifically, the brain, central nervous system, and immune system was identified to demonstrate variations in local densities among patients and participants.
For instance, CB1 receptors were characterized as “highly expressed in the central nervous system” with relatively low to moderate expression in the peripheral nervous system. Interestingly, THC was found to be the most ‘receptive’ among both CB1 and CB2 receptor sites as opposed to CBD and other cannabinoids, terpenes, and organic molecules.
The discovery of a specific “bliss” receptor ensued following the discovery of morphine as the most effective painkiller of its time. Similarly, the bliss receptor of THC and its antagonist CBD from the Cannabis plant was discovered in 1992 by the famous Israeli researcher, scientist, and distinguished professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. Endocannabinoid system discovery and most of the significant early work on cannabis as medication is attributed to Dr. Mechoulam.
Originally named N-Arachidonylethanolamide, it has now referred to as the endogenous cannabinoid anandamide, or AEA… or more popularly referred to as the “bliss molecule” functioning like a special ingredient to the recipe of CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body – as do the opiates like morphine.
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CEDS) has been identified as a root cause of a number of nervous system disorders. Researchers and medical community professionals are coming to the understanding that low endocannabinoid levels are at the cause of many serious diseases.
Ongoing research supports evidence that endocannabinoids play a vital role in the regulation of inflammation, insulin, fat retention, and stamina. Correlations between endocannabinoid deficiency defined as low endocannabinoid levels and symptoms of CEDS continue to point toward CBD (cannabidiol) as a logical treatment.
The Cannabis plant produces a similar substance to our body’s endocannabinoids called CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol. Despite our Federal Government’s obfuscation of the truth, anti-marijuana propaganda, the War on Drugs, the scientific research and medical facts, Americans are becoming increasingly aware that CDB (cannabidiol) binds to these endocannabinoid receptors creating desirable effects.
The significance of this knowledge is ultimately relieving the pain and symptoms of millions who suffer from numerous diseases including cancer. It is even curing them without destructive treatments like Chemotherapy and subsequent radiation treatments in some cases. With increasing frequency, physicians and scientists all over the world have been documenting the positive effects of medical marijuana, hemp oil, and isolated CBD oil which until fairly recently has been self-prescribed by their patients.
CBD helps your body optimize its potential by nourishing your endocannabinoid system naturally. And a healthy endocannabinoid system supports homeostasis and balance within the structures of body’s regulating systems giving your body the power to heal itself.
It is believed that CBD does not necessarily treat a specific disease or symptom as much as it facilitates the body’s natural systems and mechanisms much like lubricating oil facilitates the efficient operation of an engine. The better the oil’s lubrication characteristics, the better the engine’s performance.
Once again, Cannabis and the endocannabinoid system is evidence of Mother Nature and the riddle of the healing process for you and me to benefit. We now know that Endocannabinoid System Deficiency is a state of disease that can, and often does, lead to serious yet avoidable health problems.
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