The efficiency of cannabinoids, such as CBD, to treat the symptoms caused by so many illnesses lies in the endocannabinoid system of our own body. In other words, we were designed to have special receptors that bind with these compounds extracted from plants.
And when they do, incredible things happen in our body, things that are not yet fully understood but manage to provide relief to so many people out there without the risk of suffering unwanted side-effects. But, what is the endocannabinoid system and how does it help us get the most out of CBD treatments? Let us look at the lines below and find out more about it.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The ECS or Endocannabinoid System is composed out of cell receptors and their adjacent molecules. These receptors act pretty much like locks, as only specific keys can open them up or, in this case, make them react. In anatomy, the keys to these locks are called agonists, which are small chemical molecules capable of triggering a wide range of reactions in the body.
So, each time an agonist meets a receptor cell, it will activate it, but it will also transmit a message as well, letting the receptor know what it has to do.
Thus, when it comes to the ECS, there are two main types of receptors that make its body, and we are talking about Cannabinoid Receptor 1 or CB1 and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 or CB2.
The keys or agonists of these receptors are the endocannabinoids. “Endo” can be translated as “within” and “cannabinoid” makes reference to a compound that is more than suitable for fit within the cannabinoid receptors.
In our body, there are two kinds of endocannabinoids that interest us the most, which are anandamide and 2-Ag. Anandamide was discovered with the help of THC, once this psychoactive component of cannabis was discovered back in the 1960s, by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist.
Once THC was discovered, everybody wanted to know what it actually works and if there is a chance for our body to produce the same kind of molecules. It took more than 20 years to find and isolate anandamide.
The name of this endocannabinoid is also interesting as, because they didn’t know how to name it once it was isolated, scientists found the word “Ananda”, in Sanskrit, which means “bliss”. So, yes, anandamides are the so-called “bliss molecules”.
The Endocannabinoid System as a therapeutic target
Its main role is to maintain a state of well-being at a physiological level, as it is spread throughout our entire body.
Thus, it can help with the management of brain disorders, various organs illnesses, musculoskeletal problems, inflammatory and immune system problems.
To reduce the unwanted symptoms of these problems, our body produces cannabinoids all the time, which work pretty much like THC or CBD, which is extracted from cannabis.
Because our body is amazing, it knows when to make these cannabinoids and how to use them, in order to help us preserve a great state of health.
Of course, there are cases in which the ECS is not working as it should and we end up having difficulties managing the health problems we may be suffering from. Thus, we can all aid our ECS by adding the right dose of cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant, which has the same structure and purpose as those created by our own body.
The best part is that we need very low doses of cannabis in order to feel better, enjoy relief from the symptoms created by your illness, and help your system to up-regulate itself. What are, more precisely, the functions regulated by ECS?
Our appetite, sleep, mood, digestion, hunger, immune function, motor control, pleasure and reward, fertility and reproduction, memory, pain, and the ability to regulate body temperature. So, since the ECS is in charge of so many processes, it is easy to understand that it has a great therapeutic importance.
Great potential to treating various conditions
According to studies, modulating the activity of the ECS can help in a wide range of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury, cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and the list may continue.
While many people fear that taking cannabinoids will make them experience psychoactive experiences, scientist state that there is no risk for these psychoactive effects to occur if the composition and used dose are carefully monitored.
Considering that not all cannabinoids contained in the cannabis plant provide psychoactive effects, such a statement is valid and does represent the chance for cannabinoids to turn into real treatments in the near future.
Pharmaceutical drugs that target the ECS
At the moment, there are a few pharmaceutical products in clinics that were created to target ECS, with the purpose of providing a more effective treatment for patients suffering from various disorders. Sativex, Dronabinol, Cesamet, and Marinol are all drugs that will activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Cesamet and Marinol are prescribed for nausea and vomiting, Marinol is also used to appetite stimulation, and Sativex is used for the management of pain caused by a wide range of conditions, including cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Cannabidiol was also discovered to be highly effective in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, which makes it a promising treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, hypertension, and so on.
However we put it, the activation of the ECS with cannabinoids extracted from plants is a strategy that is definitely worthy of exploiting due to the numerous positive results it provided in the scientific studies that were unrolled so far.
We may have many things to learn about this still, but at least we made a step forward, opening a door that can bring safer and more effective treatments to a very large number of people worldwide.