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The Endocannabinoid System Explained

Posted on: July 5th, 2015 by Young Le
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<img src="The_Endocannabinoid_System_Explained.png" alt="The_Endocannabinoid_System_Explained">The endo…what? It is actually called the endogenous cannabinoid system, endocannabinoid system for short, which is an important physiologic system in the human body that helps maintain your overall health. It was named after the cannabis plant because that’s what led to the scientific discovery of it. The endocannabinoid system, which includes cannabis-accepting receptors, enables medical cannabis to work efficiently and react with body in positive, medical ways.

The system was discovered in the 1990s by an Israeli scientist, Dr. Ralph Mechoulam, who also isolated THC as the key active element in marijuana. He was able to show that the human body has receptors specifically designed for processing cannabinoids and that humans can actually produce endocannabinoids in a manner similar to the way we self-produce endorphins.

Endocannabinoids are found throughout the body and their main function is to stabilize the internal ecosystem of the body no matter what is happening on the outside. In other words, the endocannabinoid system helps keep your body, which includes your brain, organs glands, tissues and immune cells, running smoothly. This endocannabinoid system connects with unique receptors, which can only receive certain cannabinoids, which include THC and CBD. These unique receptors accept other elements of medical marijuana but more research has yet to be conducted to discover the cannabis plant’s full potential.

The two important receptors in the context of the endocannabinoid system are CB1 (Cannabinoid 1) and CB2 (Cannabinoid 2). CB1 receptors are found in the brain and are mostly responsible for the perception of pain and the sensation of being ‘high’ when using marijuana. The perception of the feeling of pain is reduced when THC reaches the CB1 receptor. THC and CB1 work together to regulate or moderate pain which is why people use medical cannabis for the relief of chronic pain. The resultant decrease in pain is brought on by the marriage of cannabinoids and their receptors. They work together to keep pain at bay and to help promote a more pleasant existence.

CB2 receptors are commonly found in the immune system and mostly in the spleen. The CB2 receptors work with CBD (cannabidiol) to work as a general anti-inflammatory. (Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the many active cannabinoids in medical marijuana and has been shown to be anti-psychotic, anti-spasmodic and to reduce anxiety). When CBD, a cannabinoid, comes in contact with its receptor, CB2, anti-inflammatory effects begin as well as other immune-boosting benefits.

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