An Overview of the Endocannabinoid System
It is one of the crucial systems in the body. Endocannabinoid primarily deals with regulation of body immunity. Other functions of the system include regulating metabolism, appetite, and memory. Most people are not familiar with this system, yet it is integral in the body. The name seems far-fetched, but it is because of a plant associated with the components. It is an important component in the medical industry; it is widely used for the manufacture of antibiotics and body process enhancement mechanisms. The system has a great impact on general health and influences other primary body systems.
About the Endocannabinoid system
The system is a combination of several others; it is an integration of enzymes that create and destroy cannabinoids. The system also entails receptor sites on cells that target at receiving cannabinoids. The third component is the endocannabinoids produced naturally in the body.
The primary aim of these three components is to regulate body processes. The first impact of the receptor sites interaction with cells is on homeostasis. Cells receiving cannabinoids have to be at an equilibrium level for the body to function normally.
Type of cannabinoids determines the reaction and response of the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The CB1 receptors are more active in the central nervous system. The specific receptors help in regulating anxiety, stress, appetite, nausea and general body balance. The receptors are also linked to the prevention of tumors. On the other hand, CB2 receptors are in the immune system cells. The receptor cells focus on fighting inflammation and repairing damaged tissue. While the receptors are positioned in specific parts of the body, some cells have both types of receptors active in one location but still responsible for their specific functions.
Other components of the endocannabinoid system are Phytocannabinoids, which are mainly in the flowers and seeds of cannabis. These components are also found in cannabis stalk and they actively interact with cannabinoid receptors. Most people are conversant with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but it is only one of the components says one Florida medical marijuana doctor. The second compound in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD). THC is a psychoactive compound while CBD is non-psychoactive.
The endocannabinoid system mainly interacts with the brain cells and the nervous system. Reproductive organs also largely rely on the endocannabinoid system. The cannabis components have a significant effect on the heart, lung, and brain; overdose of cannabinoids can paralyze functions of these three primary body organs.
Cannabis extraction was a popular practice across the world including in the United States in the 19th century. During this period, the plant components were mainly for medicinal purposes. Its popularity extended to use of the cannabis extracts for recreational purposes because of its effect on the brain and central nervous system. The increase in the use of cannabis led to the concern of abuse of the CND and THC as a drug hence a ban by the federal government later in 1937. The policy prohibited use of the drug for medicine, research, and even for recreational purposes. The ban attributes to the stall of research and awareness about the endocannabinoid system in the human body; there are significant therapeutic properties of the cannabis plant that remain unknown because of the low research activity in the topic. The increased use of cannabis for recreation purposes led to its degradation from a pharmacopeia to an illicit drug. Most Americans that were born from the late 19th century know the plant as an illegal and dangerous component because of the ban.
However, before the end of the 19th century, a new revelation came up about cannabis after a team of scientists discovered THC-sensitive receptors in a rat’s brain. The next 10 years were dedicated to identifying functions and features of the brain that control components in cannabis. Neuroscientists were actively involved in the research process with a special interest in creating medicine and enhancing body processes.
The discovery was an eye-opener to scientists across the world that suddenly became interested in specific components of the cannabis plant. After extensive research, it was evident that there are naturally occurring cannabinoids in the human body that alter the presumed negative effect of THC and CBD. The receptors in the human cells help in balancing the cannabis components.
Effect on health
Endocannabinoid system has since been linked to major health benefits. The 20th century had a new wave in the medical field; scientists discovered the impact on endocannabinoid system on pain. The cannabis components not only decrease pain but also fight cancer says an expert marijuana doctor. Besides, THC and CBD as the main components of cannabis enhance body processes and prevent neurogenerative diseases. The health of the central nervous system and body immunity is dependent on the endocannabinoid system.
Some people experience immune disorders like migraine, multiple sclerosis and irritable bowel syndrome because their bodies do not generate enough endocannabinoids. Deficiency of these components directly relates to fibromyalgia among other complications in neurons. Nevertheless, there are still unclear elements of cannabis that are open to research. Today, the endocannabinoid system is not a green area like before; with more scientists engaging in the research, there is more public awareness.
While it is still being used for recreation, the main focus of research is on its medicinal value. The plant extract is currently being used as a pain reliever and treatment of chronic diseases. The fact that it alters sensitivity of the central nervous system, the endocannabinoid system remains a crucial body process.