The human body is a very complex machine, and while people attempt to write-off cannabis the human body is specifically designed to interact and regulate the effects of hemp-based compounds known as cannabinoids. After extensive research into their effects, scientists have discovered the endocannabinoid system, which is present in all mammal species.
This physiologic system is one of the more important biological systems when it comes to maintaining human health through a series of retrograde neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptor proteins. Found throughout the body including connective tissue and immune cells, the endocannabinoid system is chiefly connected to the peripheral and central nervous systems and rooted in cell membranes.
In whole, the endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating processes such as pain sensation, mood, memory and appetite. It also plays a large role in the reproductive process for women dictating fertility and both pre-natal and post-natal development of embryos and infants, respectively.
Per its namesake, the endocannabinoid system is heavily involved in the process of regulating the effects of cannabinoids through the presence of receptors. Researchers have identified the presence of two cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These two receptors affect different parts of the body’s system and allows different cannabinoids to attach to them and cause a myriad of effects.
CB1 is present in the nervous system and is associated with neurological effects most often associated with cannabinoid extracts such as anxiety reduction. On the other hand, CB2 predominantly exists in the immune system and plays a role in more health-related effects of cannabinoids.
For example, CBD hemp oils and salves act upon both the CB1 and CB2 receptors and produce positive reactions ranging from anti-inflammatory to pain relief. Unlike THC which connects to CB2, CBD does not directly connect to either of the receptors but simply acts in tandem with them to produce the wide range effects associated with the hemp compound.
In fact, a 2013 study published by Cerebrum has shown that small doses of cannabinoids from cannabis products such as dermal lotions or inhalants such as vapes can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids, which results in the creation of additional cannabinoid receptors. This growth in available receptors also leads to an increase in a person’s sensitivity to compounds such as CBD or other cannabinoids that bind to the CB1 or CB2 receptors.
Unfortunately, this model significantly limits the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids. Cannabis products like full spectrum CBD, which allows all 113 cannabinoids to work synergistically to produce better medical effects and less side effects than their isolate counterparts, affects the endocannabinoid system in ways currently unknown. Research into the endocannabinoid system has only begun to scratch the surface.
The discovery of the endocannabinoid is a relatively new find in the scientific community, so the information available about this biotic arrangement remains relatively limited and centered around its pharmacotherapy potential. However, this is likely to revitalize the health and lifestyle industry with scientists and researchers discovering additional benefits to the inclusion of CBD and other cannabis extracts and the ways in which they interact with the human body.