Phytocannabinoids, Homeostasis and the Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

Phytocannabinoids, Homeostasis and the Discovery of the Endocannabinoid System

People have been using cannabis as a medicinal herb for thousands of years. But despite its long history of use and all of the cultural wisdom that has accumulated around it, our understanding of how it takes effect in the body on a cellular level has only really developed very recently.

In the mid-1960s, Israeli scientist Dr. Rafael Mechoulam discovered THC, which is the main psychoactive constituent in cannabis. And at that point, science really just began to scratch the surface of how cannabis works and how it has such an affinity with the human body and mind. And how it possesses this enormous number of potential health benefits.

THC led to the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System.

the Discovery of the endocannabinoidsystem

THC was identified isolated and tested alongside numerous other cannabinoids in cannabis. But it took another couple of decades to figure out exactly how THC takes effect when we consume it. In the mid-1980s, a receptor for THC was discovered in the brain and the central nervous system and it was called CB1 or cannabinoid receptor number one.

But the question still remained why is there a receptor in the brain specifically for accepting the THC compound in cannabis. And could it actually be that the CB1 receptor is actually there for receiving chemicals naturally present in the body?

The research expanded, from just studying the cannabinoids in marijuana, to looking for cannabinoid like compounds that were produced in the body itself, which also acted on the CB1 receptor. And because the body’s own self-produced cannabinoids were endogenous, they were actually named endocannabinoids.

CB1 Receptors & the first discovered Endocannabinoid

It took a couple more years of research before the first endocannabinoid that actually binds to the CB1 receptor was found. And it turned out to be a neurotransmitter which was called anandamide, which is also known as “the Bliss Molecule” because it acts as a mood enhancer and it stimulates sensations of joy and happiness.

And while Anandamide doesn’t actually have the same chemical structure as THC, it does bind to the CB1 receptor and it does exhibit exactly the same effects as THC, albeit in a much smaller concentration.

CB2 Receptors & other Cannabinoids

endogenous cannabinoids 2

The second receptor was also found, and it was called as you may have guessed the CB2 receptor.

But unlike CB1, this receptor wasn’t so abundant within the brain.

It was actually found in a much higher concentration in the periphery of the body and it had a particular affinity with the immune system.

So it was found mostly within the membrane of immune cells and very densely located in immune tissues and organs like the spleen, the bone marrow, thymus gland and the tonsils.

It’s not just THC that acts on these two receptors. There’s many different cannabinoids in Cannabis that act either directly or indirectly on these two receptors, like CBD and CBN and also a lot of other different endocannabinoids that act on these receptors. Anandamide (AN) and Arachidonylglycerol (2AG) being just two of many.

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The ECS as the most important Factor for Homeostasis

As of yet, CB1 and CB2 are the two definitive receptors that make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of our bodies. Although to be honest, there is still a vast amount of research yet to be done on the hundreds other Phyto-Cannabinoids that are in the plant.

And all of the numerous self-produced chemicals in the body that have the same effect. It’s likely that there’s going to be a lot more receptors and a lot more endocannabinoids yet to be found. And our understanding of the endocannabinoids system is going to evolve over time.

We do know quite a lot already though, we know that it’s one of the biggest contributing factors to homeostasis. Now when we look at the dictionary definition of homeostasis it says that:

Homeostasis is the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

Homeostasis – the driving Force of Health

homeostasis

Homeostasis is a systemic force, where all of our organs, tissues and bodily systems all work synergistically to find a dynamic state of balance.

It’s the body and minds innate ability to always find the center. The point of balance, no matter what situation we’re in. it’s our ability to respond to all forms of stress in a low-impact sustainable way and protect ourselves from disease as well as heal faster, if and when we do become sick or injured.

It’s basically like a collective thermostat for every interconnected system of the body and mind.

Because obviously, in the modern world we’re facing a tidal wave of chronic stress, that over time can begin to break down our ability to adapt and respond to stress in a healthy and harmonious way.

So we end up struggling to achieve homeostasis and we end up becoming very exhausted, very drained and developing a number of possible health challenges because of that.

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Endocannabinoid Deficiency

endocannabinoid_system

Endocannabinoids like Anandamide and 2AG are integral to our mental function, stress management and our immune health and our ability to maintain homeostasis.

But through stress, toxicity, wrong diet and lifestyle choices there’s a very real possibility that we can develop an endocannabinoid deficiency. Meaning that the function of the endocannabinoid system can become impaired.

This is why supplementing with Phyto-Cannabinoids from the cannabis plant or using medical marijuana can be very beneficial. Because from this perspective, cannabis does act like an Adaptogen, because it does support homeostasis.

This is largely because we already have the organic infrastructure in place, to fully utilize the constituents in cannabis. Because the plant produces a spectrum of bioidentical compounds that are produced within our own bodies, which is very interesting.

THC

THC-tertahydrocannabinol

For example, when THC connects to the endocannabinoid system, it’s a supreme pain reliever.

Because it modulates neurological function, to reduce pain signals being sent to the brain from elsewhere in the body.

It can also cause malignant cell apoptosis, and it’s a chemo protective agent and it can dramatically reduce all of the vomiting and exhaustion and all of these kind of symptoms that accompany chemo and radiation treatment.

And it also stimulates the very withered appetite that very commonly affects people that are undergoing conventional cancer therapy.

THC can also offer symptomatic relief to those suffering from asthma and chronic bronchitis. It’s shown very powerful effects in reducing and even eradicated seizures in those suffering with epilepsy that can support our circadian rhythm and really help to reverse sleep disorders like insomnia.

And it also acts as a great source of relief for a lot of people suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and it acts as a general antidepressant when it’s used responsibly.

CBD

CBD-Cannabidiol

CBD on the other hand isn’t psychoactive at all, but it is a potent antioxidant and it’s an excellent anxiolytic.

Meaning that it has the power to reduce anxiety agitation and panic attacks and instill a much more relaxed and stable mental state.

CBD is a bit more sedative than THC, so it can be really great for interrupting repetitive obsessive behavior.

And like THC it does also offer significant anti-cancer benefits. And it has many more potential benefits that you can read on our website.

CBN

CBN is another plant-based cannabinoid that offers yet more pain relief and anti-epilepsy benefits. And it’s also very good at lowering pressure build-up within the eyes which is why there’s so many glaucoma patients that are using medical marijuana.

CBD & CBG

CBC works as a support mechanism for THC and CBD and generally just consolidates the effects of THC & CBD. Whereas CBG is an anti-inflammatory agent that again does have some calming sedative properties.

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The Entourage Effect of Cannabinoids & Terpenes

Entourage effect of cannabinoids and terpenes

This is just a small number of the cannabinoids that are in cannabis. And while it’s tempting to examine the benefits of all of these compounds separately, the truth is it just doesn’t work like that in nature. Because all of these cannabinoids in cannabis, just like the endocannabinoids produced in our own bodies, all of these things have an interdependent relationship with one another.

Some of them are present in minute amounts and they may appear to do very little or even nothing on their own. But when we view them in a more collective and holistic context, it becomes a lot clearer that many of these compounds actually enhance the overall medicinal effect and they’ve regulates and moderate one another. Which we think is largely why the endocannabinoid system is so integral to homeostasis.

Plus, cannabis is a rich source of numerous different terpenes that interact with the plant cannabinoids and actually have an indirect yet very significant influence on the endocannabinoid system.

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The Plants Cannabinoid Profile & its cultivation play an important role
cannabinoid profile

Considering medical marijuana or any kind of cannabis (CBD) Oil, it’s very important the plants are actually cultivated properly and they’re prepared appropriately to ensure the bioavailability of the constituents.

And that it’s administered correctly, according to the desired outcome of the individual, which is really going to vary from person to person.

So, buying any old marijuana from someone stood on a street corner, is highly unlikely to deliver optimal results that are tailored to your individual needs.

But then of course, this leads us to ask the question, why are so many people forced to buy substandard cannabis from strangers on the street. The answer is pretty complex and multifaceted. But we think the foundation of that answer is actually very simple and straightforward.

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Why is a plant illegal?

Cannabis is largely illegal, because it perfectly mimics endogenous chemicals that are produced within the body, that are vital to health and homeostasis.

So admitting that cannabis is generally safe and it offers legit medical benefits when it’s used strategically and responsibly, admitting that would be utterly devastating to the pharmaceutical industry.

Unfortunately for now, we just have to endure this warped corporate propaganda, that straight up denies decades of conclusive scientific research. And instead, it just insists that cannabis is still this gateway drug that leads to heroin use and amphetamine use and it’s going to turn you into a criminal.

Pietraszko Sandro

Pietraszko Sandro

As a passionate writer and researcher, the cannabis expert is an important cornerstone of The Hemp Oil Benefits. He has been writing for large but also smaller websites in the industry for many years. His experience and expertise is a welcome addition to our team. Learn more about us.

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