The Endogenous Cannabinoids. When looking at the words individually, each word is fairly self-explanatory. The mere fact that you have found this website suggests that you have a fair idea what Cannabinoids are, and you probably know that Cannabis got its name from the Cannabinoids which form an integral part of its composition.
Cannabinoids have various functions when ingested by an individual, and besides the fact that Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the fact that Cannabis is considered to be a psychoactive drug, it also has a great variety of medical benefits.
As do all of the approximately 85 Cannabinoids that form part of the chemical construction of the Cannabis plant. And especially Cannabidiol (CBD).
But what are the so called “Endogenous Cannabinoids” ?
So what does “Endogenous” mean? Endogenous means that whatever is under discussion has originated within the body of an organism, whether it is a plant or an animal.
Using this word in conjunction with the word Cannabinoids, one usually refers to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) within the brain, nervous system and peripheral tissues of a mammal, in other words a mammal has a set of cannabinoids that naturally occurs within its brain and nervous system. For the record: the term “mammals” includes humans.
What is interesting about this endocannabinoid system is that there is practically a receptor in the brain and body for each Cannabinoid that is contained within the Cannabis plant.
As though the Cannabis plant is specifically meant to use for our benefit, especially since Cannabis is significantly more nutritious than any of the other (mass produced) crops in existence.
What exactly is the Endocannabinoid System?
The endogenous cannabinoid system is probably the most significant physiological system that involves optimal human health and the maintenance thereof. This system was discovered during the process of research into the effects of Cannabis on the human body. And as such was named after the herb (Cannabis) that led to the discovery.
Endogenous Cannabinoids are present throughout the human body, i.e. the brain, organs, glands, connective tissue and immune cells.
Each Endocannabinoid has its own particular receptor by which the corresponding Cannabinoid in Cannabis connects to it within the human body. Cannabinoids perform different tasks within each different tissue, but the goal is always to maintain a stable environment within the body, irrespective of what goes on around us.
This process is called homeostasis.
Cannabinoids promote homeostasis at all levels, from the very basic sub-cellular level to the entire organism.
- A great example is Autophagy, a process in which a cell submits part of its contents to be reabsorbed by the body. This process keep body cells alive.
- B By the same process it also causes cancer to consume itself, thereby killing off the cancer. And of course, the death of cancer means life to the organism.
One can also locate Endogenous Cannabinoids and Cannabinoids at the contact points of the various bodily systems, thereby allowing vital interaction between different cell types.
When a person sustains an injury, Cannabinoids decrease the release of activators and sensitizers from the injured tissue. This stabilizes the nerve call, thereby preventing excessive firing, thus calming immune cells and preventing the release of substances that promote inflammation.
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Other properties of Endogenous Cannabinoids
The Endogenous Cannabinoids or endocannabinoid system can therefore literally be seen as a link between body and mind.
By comprehending the way in which this works, we begin to understand how cognitive function can be a portal towards physical health or -disease.
Aside of regulating internal and cellular homeostasis, Cannabinoids also influence a person’s relationship with nature and the environment.
Cannabinoids alter the way in which human beings experience social interaction, as well as their experience of the environment in which they live.
Administering Cannabis can alter human behavior to the effect that sharing, humor, creativity, etc. are promoted.
Cannabinoids also mediate neurogenesis (generation of new nervous tissue), neuronal plasticity (process that leads to the altering of brain neural synapses and pathways as a result of the effect of environmental, behavioral and neural changes) and learning;
They also influence receptiveness to change and promote the ability to surpass limiting thought patterns and the mental and emotional effects of traumatic incidents in the past.
Being able to reformat these old debilitating experiences is essential to mental. And ultimately also physical, health within an environment that is changing rapidly on a daily basis to the point of confusion.
So how does this Endocannabinoid System work?
As you most certainly must have noticed already during your internet browsing involving Cannabis, the plant has a significantly profound therapeutic and generally positive effect on the human body and mind. This plant is just one little herb. But basically it seems to be all we need from a health and medical perspective in order to keep our systems functioning at an optimal level.
A whole lot of research has gone into the effects of Cannabis on our bodies, and more research is still being done globally.
All the interested parties decisively agree on one thing:
Cannabis has the ability to heal or relieve a whole array of diseases and/or conditions, whether they are physical or mental. It influences virtually every aspect of our minds and bodies.
Medical conditions that have already seen improvement through Cannabis are, to name but a few: cancer, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, insomnia, Tourette’s syndrome, eczema and many more.
How can one herb be affective against so many different diseases and medical conditions? How can it both cure the body and heal the mind at the same time? Most of all: why does it remain so safe to use while at the same time powerfully attacks disease?
The answer to these questions lies within the body itself
Within the endocannabinoid system mentioned earlier. This Endocannabinoid system forms an integral part of the healing system of all humans, and nearly every animal in existence. Frankly, the therapeutic properties of conventional medicine are relatively pale by comparison. Yes, we still need to do a whole lot of research before we would be able to claim a doubtlessly correct conclusion.
Meanwhile, studies are going on, involving the different receptors involved, and how they are influenced by the Cannabinoids in Cannabis.
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What Are Cannabinoid Receptors?
Every single organism on Earth, from tiny nematodes, all vertebrate species and right up to humans share the same endocannabinoid system.
This is an essential part of life and adapting to unavoidable changes. Research has shown that this system has evolved in primitive animals over 600 million years ago, yet what we know about it today is but a drop in a bucket of water compared to what there is to know.
Cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the entire body. When stimulated, these receptors can act in many ways. Thus far, two types of Cannabinoid receptors were identified, the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CB1 is mostly present in the brain, nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs. And CB2 in the immune system and all associated structures. There may be yet a third receptor, but research goes on.
Endogenous Cannabinoids are substances produced by the body to stimulate the receptors. And the two best understood ones are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). These are made by the body and is broken down by fatty acids and enzymes, whereas Phyto-cannabinoids are derived from plants.
Interesting to know, the Cannabis plant uses THC to promote its own health and guard against disease. Other medical herbs, such as Echinacea Purpura, have been found to contain non-psychoactive cannabinoids as well.