Can You Say EndoCannabinoids

Let us explore science for this post. Although cannabis has a long history of safe and therapeutic use there is still so much that is unknown or in the process of being discovered.

I actually find it curious that we along with many other animals and organisms have a biological system that evolved 600 million years ago and it’s only been identified in the last 70 years or so. This begs all kinds of questions I will not list. Instead let’s learn a bit about how and why cannabis is our friend and ally.

The EndoCannabinoid System has one goal. Homeostasis. That is a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment. That can easily apply to any moment of our constantly changing lives. This is how our bodies regulate almost everything from sleep to reproduction. They act as a bridge between the brain and the body. The receptors are embedded in the cell membranes and believed to be more numerous than any other system. Usually the acting chemicals are synthesized in the brain on demand. Other plants such as echinacea also have phytocannabinoids. They still contain the same antioxidant properties that protect their leaves and flowers from UV Rays and neutralize free radicals. I think by now we know how crucial it is to rid the body of those reckless, cell damaging free radicals.

So on an organ function level let’s see what is happening. There are 2 types of receptors for cannabinoids known so far. CB1 receptors are found predominantly in the nervous system but there are hardly any in the lungs or heart which decreases potential toxicity. These receptors are also found in connective tissue, the gonads and other organs. This is the receptor THC will bind to mediating neurogenesis, neuron plasticity and learning. This is fascinating to me because this is where cannabis can be immediately viewed as transformative. People can move beyond their limited patterns and reformat their behavior. The social promotion of sharing, humor and creativity are profound. CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, primarily the spleen but also in other related organs. CBD will bind to these receptors and has proven to have effects that are anti seizing & inflammatory, stress reducing and tumor shrinking as well as simply modulating immunity. Cannabinoids can also stabilize nerve cells and decrease sensitizers to prevent pain, minimizing damages from injury. It is important to note that many organs contain both receptors. It is here that I posit 2 points. 1. Science is not meant to be antithetical to nature. 2. One’s state of conciousness can promote health or disease.

What else do we know? In the 1940’s 60 cannabinoids were identified but there could be over 100. In 1964 Raphael Mechoulam at the University of Israel isolated THC. It wasn’t until 1992 that Dr. Devane working with a team from Mechoulam’s project identified the receptors. He named the natural chemicals the receptors receive ananadimides after the sanskrit word ananda meaning bliss. Technically they are endogenous ligands. He realized they don’t last that long & aren’t as potent as those found in marijuana.

Recently CBG or cannabigerol has been getting attention for it’s potential contributions to health and science. It is the actual precursor to the other cannabinoids. It essentially is converted unless it is bred specifically to exist in a higher concentration. CBG acts on the central nervous system like THC but seems to have a more balanced synergistic effect. When it is exposed to heat or light it loses a molecule and becomes neutral. Hence smoking it as cannabinoids are concentrated in the resin.

It is my opinion that we owe it to ourselves to thoroughly investigate a plant with the properties to help regulate our mechanisms of relaxation, nutrient transport and fight or flight in this intensely stimulating world. Further if that same plant has proven effective in treating a meaningful list of debilitating ailments there should be no hesitation in creating a focused funded exploratory endeavor.

At this juncture we find ourselves in a predicament. Patients are challenging the science and medical establishments to think about treatment and physiology in a new way. Unfortunately this need to add to the body of knowledge has yet to trump the disjointed federal policy. Researchers, advocates and even some congressional members blame the National Institute On Drug Abuse for hindering progress. Remember the War On Drugs? Welp apparently “drugs” is an arbitrary term. Aspirin and coffee have had documented adverse even fatal effects at high doses but there is still no recorded deaths from marijuana. That is to say nothing of tobacco or alcohol. Patients are entitled to safe, natural, inexpensive medicine. No one wants to engage a mountain of bureaucracy in order to live or carry out their work which could be highly beneficial to humanity. A researcher at the University of Arizona was just approved by the feds to do said research after much ado and fitting her proposal into their parameters. The most ridiculous issue that came to light is that the government only intends for research to be done using their stash of marijuana in Mississippi. The same one they’ve been using to highlight the negative affects of the plant. I think it’s best that science be nonpartisan and certainly unbiased. What we need is data not the presumption of dereliction.  There are already FDA approved synthetic THC products on the market that are 600 times more potent than actual THC. Somehow this seems contradictory. If the motive of their policy is simply control then that is just sad when people could be benefitting now. This train of thought will lead me into a cesspool of politics when we are here to discuss science. Why should there be any interference or obstacles to these types of advancement. Yes that question is rhetorical. It can not be said that the emerging information isn’t interesting. There is also the possibility that international doctors and research scientists will contribute to this work and everyone can move on to the next breakthrough. It would be greatly appreciated.

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