To begin to understand the symbiotic relationship between our bodies and cannabis it is essential to know about the Endocannabinoid System. Discovered in the 1990s by the famed Israeli researcher, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, the Endocannabinoid System is an integral, highly complex network of receptors in the brain and body. These receptors accept cannabinoids & terpenes; the Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor plays into our nervous system and the Cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor plays into our immune system. The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is involved in many physiological processes including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, and mediating the psychoactive effects of certain cannabinoids. In fact, the ECS has the second highest amount of receptor centers in our bodies, only behind the Central Nervous System.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain. The human body naturally produces cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids. Plant-based cannabinoids, such as THC, are known as phytocannabinoids. Current research suggests that THC predominantly binds to the cerebral CB1 receptors. Thus, creating a psychoactive effect that we associate with feeling “high.” This is medicinally valuable due to its ability to manage and moderate pain levels, PTSD, and other neurological-based ailments.
CB2 receptors help regulate the immune system and are predominantly found in the spleen, as well as throughout the body. Plant-based cannabinoids, such as CBD, bind to CB2 receptor sites and produce a non-intoxicating psychoactive effect. When activated, the CB2 receptors help reduce spasmodic episodes, seen with tremors or epilepsy, as well as pain management, balanced moods and many other medical conditions.
There is new research being published on a daily basis revolving around the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids in cannabis and how they interact with the Endocannabinoid System. We have just barely skimmed the surface on conducting research on cannabinoids and which aliments they aid in. Once federal legalization occurs, cannabis will be removed from the Schedule 1 drug list and clinical trials will start being conducted. This will determine which cannabinoids interact with which receptors in the body. This will inevitably change the way we practice medicine, as one day you will be able to seek out a specific cannabinoid ratio for your own particular body chemistry that aids in an individualized ailment with very little side effects.
Continue your education on the two most popular cannabinoids in our next blog, THC & CBD: A Deeper Understanding!
For a deeper dive into the cannabis plant, its various compounds and the industry that surrounds it, call and book your private educational experience with City Sessions today. 720-250-8828