What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a unique system that helps the body maintain homeostasis (physiological stability). It is interesting that this system is even named after cannabis. Scientists discovered the ECS while studying the effects cannabis had in humans. Research and patient testimonies are clear evidence that phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis are helping people manage life while living with different health issues. Scientists are continually researching the pharmacokinetics of cannabis and the ECS. The ECS is located all over the body and helps regulate:
- Memory Formation and Processing
- Motor Function
- Immune Response
- Appetite Stimulation
- Pain Relief Management
- Blood Pressure Regulation
Three Components of Endocannabinoid System
- Endocannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids) are molecules that are naturally produced in the body. They communicate specific tasks by binding to receptors.
- Receptors receive the message transmitted by endocannabinoids. There are many different receptors but the two main receptors that interact with cannabis are called CB1 and CB2.
- Enzymes break down endocannabinoid after the message is completed.
For example, when your body is under stress it responds by increasing the release of stress hormones in the brain. The racing heart and panicked feeling is the result of the increased stress hormones. The ECS releases endocannabinoids that bind to receptors telling them to stop the release of stress hormones. The heart rate slows and returns to normal.
Benefits of THC
There are over 200 phytocannabinoids produced by cannabis that can influence the ECS. The most widely known phytocannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC benefits include:
- Pain desensitizer
- Itch reliever
- Mood Regulator
- Appetite stimulant
Endocannabinoid and CBD
CBD’s activity does not depend on CB1 and CB2 receptors. It is not like THC by acting like a key to bind to receptors. However, CBD has been shown to lower the activity of other substances’ reactions at these two receptors. Combining CBD and THC lowers the psychoactive effect and other negative side effects of THC while enhancing the positive effects of THC. These benefits of CBD include:
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