I said I’d do this, so here it is. Everything I know about the endocannabinoid system in our bodies and the effects said system has for us.
Note that everyone is different, so my endocannabinoid system may not react exactly the same as yours. When one thinks about it, this is something we hear for virtually all forms of medication. The slight difference between medical marijuana and some other medications is both fewer and less severe “Side effects may include:” For me, side effects of medical marijuana may include a nap, as opposed to things like my anti-seizure medication having a chance of causing more seizures (since my brain surgery, I can say that it hasn’t, but the fear will always be there). But why is that? We can thank the endocannabinoid system for that.
We should try to learn as much as we can about as much as we can, especially when faced with confusion, and that’s also true about the medication we take. That doesn’t make them bad, quite the opposite in fact. I know it seems like an oversimplification, but medication is good, traditional or alternative. What’s important is finding the right medication that can help you, and, understanding how that medication works inside of our bodies to help us do the things we need to do, every day.
So, what does this mean?
For me it still ended up being confusion. That was, and still to a degree is, my first reaction to two things. One, that the endocannabinoid system is naturally existing in the human body is a thing. Two, finding out the scope of the effects the endocannabinoid system throughout our bodies. That is a lot of information to take in at once, and that’s how I prefer to take in my information. My brain would have probably overloaded if not for my endocannabinoid system and my medical marijuana!
Let’s start by breaking down the word Endocannabinoid. Endo represents the word “Endogenous,” which basically means that it is within our body naturally. Cannabinoid is here, of course, representing the the parts of cannabis that affect the body (like Cannabinol, for example). So yes, we have naturally occuring receptors for cannabis in our bodies. Whether or not you choose to use is irrelevant, your endocannabinoid system is still there inside of you even if you’ve never consumed marijuana! All throughout your body, to boot (so if you’re trying to get rid of it, amputation is not recommended.) This explains the variety of medical uses for cannabis and hemp, and that variety keeps on growing and growing and growing! There are new treatments and uses with or for cannabis and hemp discovered more frequently than one would imagine. I had no idea there was a hemp based suntan lotion SPF 30! There’s now hemp based medication for some forms of seizures, and it wouldn’t still exist if it didn’t work for some.
TIME TO GET A LITTLE MORE COMPLICATED
During my last article, we came to learn that there’s different parts of the plant, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol(CBD). Feel free to review and come back, blog’s not going anywhere. (Well, we learned the acronyms, I still have a hard time remembering those massive sciencey words.) Now for the bit that I just learned; we’ve got two known receptors ( known as of now); CB1 and CB2.
We’re still understanding how the endocannabinoid system works, but it’s not just something that we find in the brain. CB1 receptors are also found in other parts of the body, including our vital organs! Vital organs! In fact, CB2 receptors are mostly found in other places in the body and are particularly something associated with our immune system. These receptors are believed to reduce inflammation. These receptors can also be found throughout the human body! This helps to explain how medical marijuana actually helps humanity on a semi-scientific level, but we’re still finding out more about how medical marijuana helps patients with each new study
This is just a puff of the information out there about our endocannabinoid system. There is more already out there about the endocannabinoid system, and more being discovered frequently.
For more information, you can read:
- Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System By Dustin Sulak, DO
- What Is the Endocannabinoid System and What Is Its Role? By Nick Jikomes, PhD
- The Endocannabinoid System as an Emerging Target of Pharmacotherapy By, Pál Pacher, MD, Sándor Bátkal, PhD, George Kunos, MD, et. al
Warning: I’m not a biologist or a scientist, so I may have accidentally gotten a bit wrong. If so, correct me! I must learn more! Please check out the comments section below and let me know what you think about the endocannabinoid system, and what it means for the future of medicine!