You have heard about the 11 major organ systems including the respiratory, muscular, skeleton, digestive and reproductive system. But have you heard about the Endocannabinoid System? Probably not, because it has only been discovered in the 1990s and scientists are still trying to understand the complete working of this system.
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) has been found to be the most important physiological system involved in establishing and supporting our health. It plays a vital role in modulating the regulation of homeostasis of the human body, which encompasses the brain, reproductive, and immune system, to name a few. Let’s take a deep dive into the ECS and how Cannabis works here.
Cannabis infused Ayurvedic medicines are available for patients because of their therapeutic benefits. You can buy Cannabis medicine online at Vedi Herbals.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a biological system composed of 3 components- 1. Endocannabinoids, 2. Cannabinoid receptors and 3. The cellular machinery (enzymes that produce and breakdown endocannabinoids). ECS is responsible for regulating various physiological and cognitive processes including appetite, mood, fertility, pain, and memory.
Endocannabinoidsare molecules produced by cells that bind to cannabinoid receptors, known as CB1 andCB2, found throughout the body. Stimulating these receptors results invarious physiologic processes inside the cell.
To understand how Cannabis works and its benefits, it’s important to understand the ECS.
How and when Medical Cannabis Evolved?
- Decades back while Cannabis was being studied, it’s main active compound THC was discovered. However, scientists then didn’t have any clue that the human body has special receptors for it.
- Research work on rats in 1988 helped the discovery of the first cannabinoid receptor (CB1).
- In 1993, a second cannabinoid receptor (CB2) was identified which was found to be distributed throughout the immune system and peripheral tissues of the body.
- In 1995, researchers discovered that the two receptors, CB1 and CB2 were found not only in rats but in million other species including humans. However, scientists were confused about why humans would have receptors for a substance which was made by some plant. Was it possible that our bodies produced cannabinoids similar to THC?
- As research advanced, this was proved true. From what we know yet, human bodies produce 80 endocannabinoids (i.e. cannabinoids produced by our body) and nearly 32 receptors to bind them. The cannabinoid receptors and endocannabinoids interact in the same way as lock and key and together comprise the ECS. When the cannabinoid "key” attaches to the receptor "lock”, activation occurs, resulting in the amazing effects on the brain and body.
- The cannabinoids produced by Cannabis like CBD and THC (also known as “Phyto-cannabinoids” or “Exo-cannabinoids”) work similar to the cannabinoids produced by our body (Endo-cannabinoids) and act as keys for the receptor locks.
Why We Need Cannabis or Phyto-Cannabinoids?
With age and lifestyle, the endocannabinoids levels might change and can lead to various health problems including sleep disorders, inflammatory response, and Alzheimer’s.
Cannabis can play a vital role here. The most popular cannabinoids found in Cannabis are THC and CBD, with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. This external source can help promote homeostasis in our body and re-establish good health.
How does Cannabis Works?
They work in two ways, one by maintaining the ECS and secondly by complementing if there is a deficiency.
THC in Cannabis is responsible for the intoxicating effects of cannabis, as well as many of the medicinal properties. THC works by interacting with the ECS’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. By stimulating these receptors,THC can imitate the function of the endocannabinoids our bodies produce to regulate physiology and maintain health.
While CBD in Cannabis interacts with other nominal receptors with remarkable effects. For instance, CBD activates the receptor GPR55, which has been shown to assist in reducing pain and inflammation. CBD has been shown to decrease the activity of THC’s activity at CB receptors. Combining CBD and THC decreases the intoxicating and other side effects of THC, while enhancing some of THC’s benefits and hence they usually work best together.
If there is a cannabinoid deficiency in the body, administering Cannabis can help bring levels to normal. Low Cannabinoid level trigger health issues like headaches, mood swings, irritability, etc. The optimum level of endocannabinoids maintains vital health functions and helps restore the balance within the body.
How is Cannabis and Ayurveda related?
Interestingly, Cannabis is a vital ingredient in more than 80 traditional Ayurvedic formulas. It has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years in India, mainly to treat pain, insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Cannabis is regarded as one of the five essential plants in Vedas. Cannabis, also known as “Vijaya” means attaining victory over sufferings.
What is CBD and what is THC?
CBD and THC are two vital components, described as "sister molecules". CBD and THC have many similarities,yet distinct differences. Both have different roles to play, offer incredible health benefits, and relief to symptoms.
For some ailments, the intoxicating effects of THC are more beneficial while for others CBD is more appropriate. CBD is capable of blocking the effects of compounds such as THC. Consequently, it can balance the intoxicating effects of THC. Cannabis medicines are available in different proportions of CBD and THC for various health issues.