It’s quite confusing for some of us who don’t understand how cannabis can benefit our general health. Over the past years, cannabis has been treated as a psychoactive plant with no value in the medical industry. Surprisingly, today cannabis is one of the most potent herbs believed to cure various health conditions. How is it possible for this one herb to heal all those health problems? What makes it so good that it doesn’t affect the body negatively? The answers to these questions rely on how well you understand the endocannabinoid system and its works.
What Is The Endocannabinoid System, and What Does It Do?
The Endocannabinoid system (ECS) was first discovered late in the 80s and early 90s. Furthermore, it’s one of the critical essential biological systems that regulate most human body activities. Despite the much research that has been carried out on the ECS, there is still much that isn’t known about it. However, its essential system in the body consists of enzymes, receptors, and cannabinoids. ECS components help regulate human body functions like mood, memory, sleep, pain sensation, appetizer, and reproduction. Moreover, it may take time before the scientist understands fully how the ECS works.
Homeostasis: Staying in The Goldilocks Zone
What is homeostasis? How does the body stay in the goldilocks zone? What are all these terms? To understand how ECS helps the body, it’s ideal that you have the basic biological concept of homeostasis. Homeostasis itself may be confusing, but you can recall the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The story explains that the result usually lies in the middle between extreme ends.
Similarly, our body needs to be balanced. Therefore, the cells must have the necessary condition for their optimal performance. Since the ECS is an essential molecular system, it ensures the cells are in their Goldilocks zone.
Key Pieces of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
The role of the Endocannabinoid system in the homeostasis process is critical, and that’s why it is found in members of the animal kingdom. The Endocannabinoid system pieces had evolved way back in time, and vertebrate species have key Endocannabinoid system pieces. There are only three critical pieces of the Human ECS, including Cannabinoid receptors, Metabolic enzymes, and Endocannabinoids.
Why Do We Have Cannabinoid Receptors, and What Are They?
Cannabinoid receptors are found on the cell surface, and their main task is to relay information whenever there are changes. Moreover, the two primary cannabinoid receptors are CB2 and CB1. Furthermore, there are other cannabinoid receptors, but the two were the first to be discovered. CB1 is the most popular receptor found on the human brain, and their interaction with the THC causes psychoactive effects. However, the CB2 receptors are abundant outside the central nervous system, including the immune system. When the endocannabinoid interacts with the cannabinoid receptors, they relieve pain, stress, anxiety, inflammation, depression, insomnia, and improve cognitive function.
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are molecules like cannabinoids except for the fact they are produced with the human body. The endocannabinoid’s significant role in the ECS is to interact with the endocannabinoid receptors to maintain homeostasis. Basically, 2-AG and Anandamide are the two significant endocannabinoids in the body. They are generally manufactured from a fat-like molecule that can be synthesized whenever the need arises.
Anandamide’s name Anandamide is derived from the Sanskrit word called Ananda, meaning joy, delight, or bliss. Therefore, Anandamide, scientifically known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA), mostly alleviates the mood, ensuring you are stress-free. Raphael Mechoulam was the first to discover these endocannabinoids in 1992. Moreover, scientific studies point out that Anandamide is essential in the early stage of embryo development and healthy working memory.
2-ArachidonoylGlycerol (2-AG) is another crucial Endocannabinoid described between 1994-1995 by Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat (his student). Initially, it was known as a chemical compound, and at this time, scientists discovered that it had a high affinity for cannabinoid receptors. It’s highly found in the Central nervous system. It’s available in human milk and bovine material.
To ensure the optimal performance of the ECS, you should understand the importance of metabolic enzymes. They majorly help break down the endocannabinoids used as they don’t need to stay longer in the body. One of the notable metabolisms known as FAAH helps break down Anandamide after being used to ensure optimal body performance. The other metabolic enzyme is the MAGL, which plays a crucial role in breaking down the 2-AG Endocannabinoid. Furthermore, metabolic enzymes always ensure that the endocannabinoids are used whenever they are on demand. Therefore, differentiate endocannabinoids and other molecular signals within the body.
How Does THC Interact With The Endocannabinoid System?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is one of the compounds found in the cannabis plant, and it’s what makes people feel high. When THC is in your body, it will bind with the Endocannabinoid system’s receptors just as the endocannabinoids. Moreover, it can bind to both CB2 and CB1 receptors. Thus, it can cause positive or negative effects on both your mind and body. In one case, it could cause anxiety and paranoia while it can also stimulate appetite and reduce pain. There is still ongoing research to extract the THC that benefits the Endocannabinoid System without affecting the body.
How Does CBD Interact With The Endocannabinoid System?
Cannabidiol or CBD is the most prominent cannabis compound that has several health benefits. CBD doesn’t bind directly to the Endocannabinoid system receptors like THC, which is why it doesn’t cause psychoactive effects. Moreover, CBD prevents the breakdown of the Endocannabinoids in the ECS, thus Ebeling them to have a more significant impact. Furthermore, CBD could also be binding with some of the receptors that perhaps have not been discovered. The fact is that not many fully understand how CBD functions to maintain homeostasis. Results indicate that CBD can treat health conditions such as nausea, pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
What About Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
Health experts believe in a theory that’s known as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. According to the CECD theory, the lower level of endocannabinoids, also known as ECS Dysfunction, can cause certain health conditions. A 2016 publication on a trusted source that took over ten years reviewing the impact of Endocannabinoid deficiency on our body clearly illustrates why people develop Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), migraine, and fibromyalgia. Unfortunately, none of the after-mentioned conditions have precise underlying causes. Moreover, they often occur alongside the other, and at the time, they resist treatments. Therefore, if these conditions could be related to lower endocannabinoids, increasing the improving ECS or Endocannabinoid production could be the solution.
The endocannabinoid system plays a critical role in maintaining general health—that is why one needs to understand how it works. Moreover, every piece of the ECS has its unique task to perform. If one isn’t functioning correctly, then this the time you are likely to have health problems. However, taking Cbd products could be a solution that restores the endocannabinoid system to its original working state. Moreover, unlike THC, CBD will not cause any side effects unless you overdose on some minor side effects like lightheadedness, stomach upset, and dizziness.