Explaining the Endocannabinoid System in the Human Body
As more people learn about the positive therapeutic effects of cannabis, the role of the endocannabinoid system will also become more relevant in the lives of everyday people. Endocannabinoid system research is already becoming quite a popular topic in scientific circles. We can definitely expect to see more of this research in a mainstream light as the politics of cannabis becomes more popular.
One of the hidden benefits of introducing cannabis into the world of legitimate medicine goes beyond its personal benefits. As scientists began to understand how cannabis can help the body balance itself, naturally a new question began to arise: why is the body so receptive to the substance? There must be something within the body itself that allows it to respond positively.
Endocannabinoids and the Systems of the Body
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) acts a lot like cannabis does. It supports the major body systems, including immune, circulatory, nervous, and GI. It acts like a police officer might, directing and monitoring many of the chemical responses and processes. When it works correctly, the body feels healthy and rested. The blood flows to the organs. The bones stay strong and healthy. The mind is relaxed. But, the body’s systems can sometimes fail from time to time. From diet to pollution, exposure to stress, they may start to break down. When one system isn’t working properly, it can cause a chain reaction that affects the other systems.
And when this happens, the ECS may not function the way it should. It may stop reacting to certain events or it may overreact to certain stimuli. For example, people who have an autoimmune disorder. The immune system mistakes the healthy cells and tissues for illness or injury. This makes it more difficult for the body to handle external and internal stress.
Cannabinoids and endocannabindoids also work to synthesize the various systems of the body. Because of these two systems, cell types that would otherwise have difficulty coordinating with each other able to communicate. For instance, when the body is injured, cannabinoids help to stabilize the nerve cell. This is also the system that will help to prevent excessive firing and call in immune cells so that the injury does not become too inflamed. Without the cannabinoid system on the job, the body would have to spend a great deal more energy calling three systems together in order to address a simple injury.
The endocannabinoid system actually works as a bridge between the mind and the body. It performs incredibly complex actions within the body’s immune system, organs and nervous system. The study of endocannabinoids in the body actually helps researchers understand how different states of consciousness can promote faster healing of certain diseases.
Cannabinoids also influence the way that the body behaves within the environment that surrounds it. Obviously, cannabinoids have the ability to alter human behavior. This is where you will find the stereotypes of weed smoking – open-mindedness, different patterns of thought, happiness and sharing with others. We are just beginning to find out why the body responds in this way, and the best part about the research is that all that happiness will soon be quantified scientifically.
Sometimes the ECS can get back on track with little more than a few days rest. But, if it’s taxed, a person will start to see long-term effects over time. Depression, digestion, or autoimmune disorders are just a few possibilities. If the ECS starts to break down, it can result in general pain or unexplained discomfort. When people take cannabis, it can have the effect of managing the ECS so that the user can get back to normal.
What are the Cannabinoid Receptors?
The word ‘cannabinoid’ refers to the active parts of cannabis. A cannabinoid receptor refers to the part of the cell that responds to the cannabinoid. The cannabinoid system in the human body consists of two main types of receptors: CB1 and CB2. These receptors refer to how the cells react to the two main parts of the cannabis: THC and CBD.
Cannabis consists of both CBD and THC. It’s possible to extract either one from the plant (either in part or completely). This is how the public ends up with a variety of cannabis products. CBD is the nonpsychoactive part of cannabis, meaning it won’t make a person feel ‘high’. It may help relieve stress or depression, but it does not affect a person’s mental state.
THC is the psychoactive part of the plan and can make users feel anything from paranoid to silly. This is the most common stereotype associated with cannabis. But it is not always the one that people should remember. People use cannabis for a variety of reasons. They use it to relieve chronic pain or to help their anxiety.
The CB1 receptors are those that respond to THC, and the CB2 receptors are those that respond to CBD. Neither THC or CBD is addictive. Both can have positive results if taken in the right dosages. If there are more CB2 receptors in a specific part of the body, then it will react to CBD. If there are more CB1 receptors, then it will react to THC. The central nervous system is more likely to respond to THC. This makes THC a solid choice for people who suffer from PTSD or anxiety. The cannabinoids bind to the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain that’s responsible for emotions.
The nerves that lie outside the brain and spinal cord have both types of receptors. In this case, it’s the receptors that are strongest that will determine if CBD or THC are appropriate. These special nerve cells (called the peripheral nervous system) favor CBD over THC. Many children and adults will take CBD to control seizures. That’s because CBD can regulate the nerves that cause the convulsions. A person can also find both types of receptors in the actual brain, though there are more CB1 than CB2 receptors. This fact explains why THC causes psychoactive effects in the brain.
Cannabis research is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. We still need a lot more information about what the ECS does and how cannabis can alter it. But, from what we can tell, cannabis has very positive effects on the ECS of many people. This can lead to positive results when taking it for a variety of conditions. As researchers learn more about the ECS, they’ll tell t how to use it to benefit the human body.