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Endocannabinoid system

The Endocannabinoid System-What We Know So Far

June 8th, 2017 WebSiteAdmin News 16 Comments

The ‘Endocannabinoid’ system is a biological system that has a number of important roles to play within the human body such as determining the psychological and physical effects of cannabis. Here the term “endo” stands for endogenous which means ‘originating within a body’ and the term ‘cannabinoid’ refers to the group of compounds, that can activate this biological system.

This natural system was first discovered by scientists, who were aiming to understand the effects of cannabis and therefore it was officially named as the Endocannabinoid system and it has become an important focus for medical research due to its widespread therapeutic effects. While scientists already know about some of the benefits of this system such as the regulation of sleep, pain and metabolism, there are still benefits being constantly being discovered such as its effects on neural development and cardiovascular function but listed below are the different types of functions in the human body that the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating.

  1. Sleep
  2. Pain
  3. Metabolism
  4. Appetite
  5. Temperature
  6. Movement
  7. Mood
  8. Neuroprotection
  9. Inflammation
  10. Immune function
  11. Memory and learning
  12. Digestion
  13. Neural development
  14. Reproduction
  15. Cardiovascular function

Apart from maintaining the basic functions, this system is also effective in treating different illnesses like tumours, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis and chronic pain and due to this, scientists are looking for new and different ways to target this system.

Currently, there are two main ways to do this which include medical marijuana and synthetic cannabinoids.

  • CBD Products are one of the most common methods to target the endocannabinoid system and can be taken daily for general health and well-being. CBD is a completely natural product derived using clean extraction processes from the Hemp plant.
  • Synthetic cannabinoids are manufactured molecules that are used to imitate the activities of existing cannabinoids. Therefore, these are able to target the endocannabinoid system in a more specific manner. For instance, Dronabinol is a synthetic version of THC, which is prescribed to AIDS and cancer patients to deal with appetite loss and nausea. Cesamet is another synthetic cannabinoid,  it’s quite similar to THC and is used for managing pain for different disorders such as multiple sclerosis, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease and also vomiting in cancer patients.

Now for some information about the cannabinoids themselves:

Cannabinoids are basically chemical messengers created specifically for the endocannabinoid system. While different types of cannabinoids exist, the two main types include: exogenous and endogenous.

  • Exogenous cannabinoids: These cannabinoids originate outside the human body and are found in hemp, as cannabidiol or CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. When consumed as a CBD product, these interact with the cannabinoid receptors to create both psychological and physical effects in the human body.
  • Endogenous cannabinoids: Also known as the endocannabinoids, these cannabinoids are produced inside the human body naturally. Therefore these interact with the cannabinoid receptors to deal with basic functions such as appetite, mood, sleep, pain and many others.

Discussions on cannabinoids can’t be completed without mentioning cannabinoid receptors. These are message receivers, and the messages are received in the form of chemical signals which are bound to the receptors to create a characteristic effect within the human body.

The endocannabinoid system has two receptors, known as CB1 and CB2. Each of these responds to different types of cannabinoids, but some of the cannabinoids can also interact with both. Distribution of both these receptors within the brain and body explains why cannabinoids have positive effects on the body:

  1. CB1 receptors are those found within the body and these are mostly present within the spinal cord and brain. These remain concentrated in the brain regions associated with behaviour,and have a lot of influence over these areas. they have influence.
  2. CB2 receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system and these are mostly concentrated in the immune cells. Once these receptors are activated, they help to reduce inflammation, which plays a role in many different health issues and diseases.

You can find more information about these receptors by visiting https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabinoid_receptor

Next, it is important to get information about the endocannabinoids:

The endocannabinoids are those cannabinoids that are naturally produced within the human body as “short-order” neurotransmitters that can be synthesised on demand. Once these are released, they are immediately broken down by enzymes that include MAGL or Monoacylglycerol Lipase and FAAH or Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase. Anandamide and 2-AG are two major types of endocannabinoids that scientists are currently aware of.

  • Anandamide was the first type of endocannabinoid, which was identified by scientists back in 1992. The name of this endocannabinoid was derived from the Sanskrit term ‘Ananda’ or bliss due to the unique effects it has on the user’s body and mind. This endocannabinoid is found in different parts of the body in high levels of concentration.
  • 2-AG or 2-arachidonoyl glycerol is another type of endocannabinoid discovered by scientists in the year 1995. This is found in the human brain in high levels of concentration.

When someone consumes a CBD Tincture, for example, cannabinoids enter the body and stick around and the endocannabinoid system is then activated for a longer period than usual, encouraging the body to regulate bodily functions for healing effects.

So, in conclusion, it can be said that the endocannabinoid system is a treasure trove for medical professionals, scientists and alternative healing enthusiasts. Although a complex system, it plays a major role in different important procedures and also works as a targeted treatment for different types of debilitating diseases.

As CBD is a completely natural, non toxic product that stimulates the endocannabinoid system, the healing benefits can be widespread and unparalleled when it is taken as part of daily health living routine.

 


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