The Endocannabinoid System

The Endocannabinoid System

Recent studies on marijuana’s effects have led to the introduction of a previously unknown biochemical communication system in the human body, the Endocannabinoid System, which plays a crucial role in regulating our physiology, mood, and everyday experience.

Scientists recently discovered receptors in the brain that respond pharmacologically to cannabis. The subsequent identification of endogenous cannabinoid compounds in our own bodies that bind to these receptors has significantly advanced our understanding of human biology and its reaction to cannabis.

It is a well established scientific fact that cannabinoids and other components of cannabis can modulate many physiological systems in the human brain and body. Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that trigger cannabinoid (and other) receptors. 100+ cannabinoids have been identified inside marijuana plant. Of these cannabinoid molecules, the most extensive research has been done on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). In addition to cannabinoids produced by the plant, there are endogenous cannabinoids (such as anandamide and 2AG) that occur naturally in the mammalian brain and body, as well as synthetic cannabinoids created by pharmaceutical researchers. On top of cannabinoids produced by the plant itself, there are also endogenous cannabinoids (like 2AG and anandamide) that take place naturally in a human brain and body. In recent years, pharmaceutical researchers have also created synthetic cannabinoids to mirror the same effects.

The US government sponsored extensive preclinical research that indicates that CBD has potent anti-tumoral, antioxidant, anti-spasmodic, anti-psychotic, anti-convulsive, and neuroprotective properties. Researchers found that CBD directly activates serotonin receptors, causing an anti-anxiety effect, as well.

Scientists associated with the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) have proven a number of molecular pathways through which CBD exerts a therapeutic impact. Dr. Sean McAllister in conjunction with the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco report on how CBD destroys breast cancer cells by down-regulating a gene called ID-1, which is implicated in several types of aggressive cancer. Silencing the ID-1 gene is, thus, is a potential strategy for cancer treatment.

“Cannabidiol offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy,” says McAllister.

CBD and THC Synergy

According to McAllister’s report, the best results were obtained when CBD was administered along with THC. Several studies underscore the therapeutic advantages for combining CBD and THC. To learn more about this see Entourage Effect and Terpenes

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