MEDS: Cannabinoid receptors and the endocannabinoid system
Ever wondered what it is about cannabis that makes it such a great plant medicine?
There are two key things you need to know: the chemical properties of cannabis such as the cannabinoids, terpenoids and flavonoids are by nature anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant.
When we consume cannabis, these chemical compounds communicate with our endocannabinoid system (ECS), an internal physiological system in all humans designed specifically to interact with cannabinoids.
So, essentially, humans are designed to use cannabis and other herbs/plants that produce cannabinoids.
This intermingling process of plant cannabinoids with the endocannabinoid system helps to create balance in the body and regulate its functioning.
That’s why cannabis helps treat cancer, eases pain or put persons in a state of calm.
Most animals also have an ECS and can also benefit from the medicinal properties of cannabis.
Scientists have discovered two cannabinoid receptors throughout the body. Cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB1) is located primarily in the brain but is also found in organs such as the liver, kidneys and lungs. CB1 is also responsible for binding to THC which causes the euphoric effect when we consume cannabis.
CB2 receptors are more closely associated with the immune system and help to relieve pain.
While the ECS is primarily aroused through cannabinoids from cannabis, our body produces its own cannabinoids that act similar to plant cannabinoids. Anandamide is the most common and is closely associated with “runners high” during distance running.
Are you feeding or are you starving your ECS?
While smoking cannabis is the most common consumption form, there are other alternatives to nourishing your ECS. Oils, teas and cannabis infused foods are all options that allow you to provide your body vital cannabinoids for a balanced lifestyle.