The human body has a natural system called the Endocannabinoid system, a biological system composed of endocannabinoids which are naturally occurring lipid based neurotransmitters that are active throughout the nervous system.
The body creates it’s own cannabinoids that effect by binding to two receptors within the Central Nervous & Immune Systems
These two primary Endocannabinoid receptors are called CB1 & CB2
It is believed that the job of these endocannabinoids is to help the human body, in many facets and operations, maintain a healthy balance called homeostasis
An example of the Endocannabinoid System at work - endocannabinoids released during physical exercise contribute to the exercise induced euphoria, sometimes referred to as “runner’s high”.
The endocannabinoid system is still undergoing preliminary research ie it is a relatively new science, under development
The cannabis plant has been found generically, to have over 100 different CANNABINOIDS and over 200 different chemical compounds called TERPENES
When the CANNABINOIDS and TERPENES interact in combination with each other, within the human body, this complimentary function is called the Entourage Effect
THC or CBD, the most known CANNABINOIDS, when isolated and experienced alone in the body, do NOT have the same therapeutic effects as when they are used in combination with each other and the other plant chemical compounds
CANNABINOIDS and TERPENES occur in greater or lesser concentrations, within the plant, depending on the strain of Cannabis
In 2015 there were over 6000 known strains of cannabis – this number has probably increased significantly since then
Each strain has it’s genetic origin – to greater or lesser degree – from either Cannabis Sativa or Cannabis Indica
Cannabis Sativa’s balance of components – particularly high in CBD - is known for their desired therapeutic effect
The Endocannabinoid System Striking A balance called Homeostasis
There are many cells in the body that are naturally designed to interact with the bodies own Cannabinoids. It is known that there are 2 main receptors that occur on cells within the Central Nervous System, predominantly the brain and the Immune System (CB1 and CB2 receptors are found in both). This Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS), commonly referred to as an “Endocannabinoid System,” is found in every animal and regulates a broad range of biological functions. The ECS is a biochemical control system of neuromodulatory lipids (molecules that include fats, waxes, sterols and fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K and others) and specialized receptors configured to accept certain cannabinoids. In general, a given receptor will accept only particular classes of compounds and will be unaffected by other compounds, just as a specific key is needed to open a lock. Specialized receptors are located throughout the human body, including but not limited to, in the hippocampus (memory, learning), the cerebral cortex (decision-making, emotional behavior), the cerebellum (motor control, coordination), putamen (movement, learning), the hypothalamus (appetite, body temperature) and the amygdala (emotions). When a specific cannabinoid or combination of cannabinoids bind to a specialized receptor, an event or a series of events, is triggered in the cell, resulting in a change in the cell’s activity, its gene regulation and/or the signals that it sends to neighboring cells. This process is called “signal transduction.”
CB1, first cloned in 1990, are found predominantly in the brain and nervous system, as well as in peripheral organs and tissues, and are the main molecular target of the endocannabinoid ligand (binding molecule), anandamide, as well as its mimetic phytocannabinoid, THC. CB2, CB2, cloned in 1993. One other main endocannabinoid is 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) which is active at both cannabinoid receptors, along with its own mimetic phytocannabinoid, CBD. 2-AG and CBD are involved in the regulation of appetite, immune system functions and pain management. For more on the Endocannabinoid System see Wikipedia.
The cannabis plant has been found to have 100 different CANNABINOIDS and 500 different chemical compounds called TERPENES. When they interact within our own endocannabinoid system, this complimentary function is called the Entourage Effect. It is important to know that, according to current research, this effect is largely as a result of synergistic interactions between many of these plant compounds in tandem and NOT from only a single cannabinoid working in isolation.
THC (Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol) An example of the commonly known phytocannabinoids needing each other’s presence in order to work optimally.
THC is generally associated with mild to moderate painkilling effects, treating nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and to stimulate appetite and is the psychoactive component
THC in it’s synthetic form – eg Marinol and Dronabinol – has NO record of abuse, just not pleasant on it’s own
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis has been shown to help shrink inflammation and reduce pain
Together they act on / open the CB1 or CB2 Receptors and together provide a superior analgesic (pain killing) effect than when used alone
CBD acts as an Antagonist / dampens the psychoactive effect and feelings of panic, increased heartbeat, and anxiety that THC can produce as a side effect.
In other words different concentrations of CBD and THC, with all the other Cannabinoids and Terpenes will interact together to create a balanced effect
Terpenes - the plant's essential oils
These are organic compounds that are generally associated with smell and are found in many other plants. Currently 200 to 500 different Terpenes have been reported in Cannabis Sativa. They have their own beneficial effect as well as modulating the psychoactive effect of THC or other Cannabinoids.
Examples Alpha-Pinene – found in essential oils from Pine Trees & some Cannabis strains – calming effect, pain relief Caryophyllene - found in essential oils of Clove, Black Pepper & Oregano & Cannabis Sativa – binds to CB2 sites, lessens pain, reduces inflammation and optimised brain function Myrcene – found in Mango & Hops & Cannabis Indica – enhances relaxation of the blood brain barrier, has a sedative effect when combined with THC Limonene – Lemon Rinds & Cannabis Sativa – will produce an up-lifting effect when combined with THC
For an in-depth journey into the interaction synergy and corresponding reactions in the human and all creatures with a backbone, for that matter, view the YouTube presentation by neurologist Dr Etan Russo click on the title below:
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