The Endocannabinoid System: Our Body’s Unique System for Maintaining Health

Some scientists and researchers believe that the discovery of the endocannabinoid system in the human body is one of the most important finds in recent medical history. That is saying a great deal, especially since there have been thousands of other medical breakthroughs in our time. It’s also very interesting because the endocannabinoid system was named after cannabis sativa, the marijuana plant.
Why is this system so important? The researchers who are involved in the study of this incredible network of receptors say that it has a hand in influencing many of our bodily systems such as, the musculoskeletal system, the cardiovascular system, the respiratory system, the nervous system, the gastrointestinal system and our metabolism. They also tell us that they see great potential in the treatment of insomnia, nausea, cancer, arthritis, glaucoma, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, obesity and other ailments through the modulation of the activity of the endocannabinoid system.
Dr. Ralph Mechoulam, an Israeli researcher, discovered the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s. He was also the scientist who identified THC as marijuana’s main psychoactive ingredient. Dr. Mechoulam discovered two endocannabinoid receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). These receptors (in the nervous system and brain) are uniquely designed for accepting and distributing cannabinoids from the marijuana plant. It was also observed that the human body can produce endocannabinoids very much like the body produces its own endorphins, which cause a euphoric effect. Endocannabinoids are simply cannabinoids that we produce ourselves, inside our own bodies, and cannabinoids come from outside the body and are an important pain relieving and medicinal components in marijuana.
The receptors have different functions. When ingesting marijuana, CB1 receptors are responsible for our perception of being “high” and for the feeling of pain. When the cannabinoid THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) reaches the CB1 receptor, the pain is diminished greatly and the “high” is experienced. CB2, on the other hand, is compatible with other cannabinoids such as CBD (cannabidiol), which can reduce anxiety and spasms along with reducing the number of epileptic seizures a patient might have. When CBD plugs into the CB2 receptor it also works as an anti-inflammatory and antipsychotic medication among other benefits.
Most of the research on the endocannabinoid system has shown that it is indeed a very important and necessary physiological system that works in conjunction with our own endocannabinoids and with outside cannabinoids from the marijuana plant. The system’s receptors then disseminate all of the cannabinoids’ and marijuana’s healing aspects throughout the body. Research on the endocannabinoid system is ongoing in Israel and several other countries. When our government decides to take marijuana off of the dangerous drug list then more research will take place here. Until then, know that your body has an incredible system that is constantly working to keep you healthy.

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