As we will show, cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD) can be utilized in the treatment of many difficult ailments. But, to understand how this works, we must first understand the endocannabinoid system of our own body and how its special receptors can be targeted to therapeutic ends by using plant-based compounds.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a physiological system that consists of “receptor cells”. Think of as something like keyholes that can be unlocked by specific keys. This is similar to the synaptic system between neurons, and the neurotransmitters that “unlock” them.
The keys are called “agonists”. The locks are called “receptors”. The agonists unlock the receptors, but they also deliver instructions when they do.
In the ECS, the receptors involved are called CB1 and CB2. And the agonists are endocannabinoids (which just means “internal cannabinoid”).
In the human body, anandamide and 2-Ag. Anandamide are the two key endocannabinoids. They were discovered in the 1960’s (see the work of the Israeli scientist, Raphael Mechoulam) through experimentation with Tetrahydrocannabinol (also commonly known as THC).
Once THC was discovered, everybody wanted to know how it works and if our body is capable of producing the same kind of molecules. Two decades later, we had located and demarcated anandamide (which means “bliss molecule”).
The Endocannabinoid System as a Therapeutic Target
The principle function of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is to regulate physiological “well-being” at a systemic level. Hence, it can play a role in managing many issues, including:
- brain disorders,
- various organ illnesses,
- musculoskeletal problems,
- inflammatory and immune system problems
The body regularly produces cannabinoids in regulating these functions. Those internal cannabinoids (or endocannabinoids) work basically like THC or CBD – the most prominent cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis plant.
The main point here is this: cannabinoids are part of our normal evolved functioning physiological system, and they play a key role in maintaining the proper functioning of that system in our daily lives.
But, as with any key physiological system, it doesn’t always work perfectly. And that can lead to various disorders, ailments, symptoms, and complications. But, the good news is, through the use of plant-based cannabinoid treatments, we can treat such issues in the most natural and effective way possible.
But, before we go on to using phyto-cannabinoids to aid the functioning of the ECS, let’s first cover all the areas of our basic systemic health that the ECS regulates:
- immune function,
- motor control,
- pleasure and reward,
- fertility and reproduction,
- pain, and
- the ability to regulate body temperature.
As you can imagine, with this system functioning at the heart of so many core processes, it holds great promise as a therapeutic target.
Treatment and Therapeutic Promise
Research has shown that it is possible to impact the functioning of the ECS, and such a form of treatment has the potential to aid in combating many health issues. Will such a course of treatment induce a psychoactive “high”? In fact, research has clearly established that proper dosage and administration can produce the desired effects without any such psychoactive consequences.
Importantly, not all of the cannabinoids derived from cannabis induce that type of high. Hence, these compounds have become an intense area of study as potential major treatment solutions for a long list of ailments, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury, cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and many more.
Current Pharma Options Targeting the Endocannabinoid System
There are currently few treatments in the pharmaceutical complex that specifically target ECS functioning. But there are some. Sativex (for pain), Cesamet (nausea), and Marinol (nausea and appetite stimulation) are all drugs designed to activate CB1 and CB2 receptor cells.
Cannabidiol (CBD) has been shown to be effective in treating inflammation and stress. That points to applications that include derivative conditions, such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis,
- hypertension, and
In conclusion, tapping into the body’s ECS functionality offers a tremendous amount of promise for treating a wide variety of ailments and helping people live better and healthier lives.