How does cannabis work in our bodies? What is the Endocannabinoid system?
It wasn’t until the 90’s that a vast receptor system was discovered in our bodies, they named this the endogenous endocannabinoid system.
Now where things get really interesting. The purpose of your endocannabinoid system is to create and maintain balance or homeostasis in your body, meaning when something in your body is overactive (stress, anxiety) or under-active (illness or pain) your Endocannabinoid system is supposed to kick into gear to bring you back into a state of balance.
Now it’s important to note that your own body actually produces these cannabinoids naturally and they are called Endocannabinoids. So the theory goes, when you’re totally healthy your own body is producing these endo- cannabinoids, it’s triggering your system to maintain balance keeping you happy and healthy and all is good.
Unfortunately with chronic stress, poor diet, and chronic pain our endocannabinoid system is negatively impacted which causes endocannabinoid dysfunction. Some of the diseases associated with this are: autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, anxiety and depression just to name a few. Basically if your endocannabinoid system is not functioning well, you are out of balance.
So, the question is, how do we fix it?
Endocannabinoid vs Phytocannabinoid
And here is where it gets really fascinating. The compounds found in cannabis act as a lock and key within our body’s endocannabinoid system. If we have a cell that is depleted or out of balance and we ingest some CBD or CBG, the plant compound goes into our body, attaches to the receptor on our cell that needs some TLC and “wala” that cell is now more balanced. This is why we are seeing cannabis helping with absolutely everything, it works in harmony with our bodies and helps regulate balance in our cells.
Now this receptor system is literally everywhere in your body – it’s in your brain and your immune system, its in most of your major organs, in your lymph system, your digestive system, its in your spine, pretty much everywhere – well except for your brainstem which controls your breathing, and this is why it’s impossible to lethally overdose on cannabis like you can on opiates.
In essence when your body is not producing enough of these molecules to feed your system this plant is there to supplement and that’s why cannabis has been so useful in treating so many different conditions.
So if we put this all together it makes sense, you have this vast receptor system that exists everywhere in the body. This system is designed to trigger homeostasis to keep you in balance. If your body goes out of whack you need your endocannabinoid system to kick into gear and help you restore. If your body is not producing enough natural cannabinoids you need to supplement with an external source, which in this case is phyto (plant) cannabinoids from cannabis. And hopefully when taking the right dose you return to a happy and healthy self.
For so many years we’ve been told that cannabis is bad for us, for our brains, for our bodies and even bad for our society. But science is actually telling a very different story.
And what if cannabis is not only NOT bad for you but is actually the key to health, happiness and longevity. Because in so many areas of our society we’re already accustomed to taking herbs and plants to support our health and happiness, echinechea for colds, st Johns wort for depression, chamomile for calming and on and on. So maybe it’s time to take a closer look at this special plant and to be open to whether cannabis might have a profoundly positive impact on our health, well-being and society, don’t you think?