We may find ourselves technologically advanced but looking back at our ancestors, we’ll realize we have a far way to go in terms of understanding and utilizing natural resources. They did something right about using cannabis for curing a variety of ailments. It says a lot about their understanding in the medical field and it took a long time for us to consider the possibilities of this plant.
Studies on the Endocannabinoid system started off with the aim of finding the mechanism of cannabis products on the biological system. What followed was a shocking discovery of a major system present and active in our human body. Even though researchers assume this system has been evolved 600 million years ago, it’s been nearly 25 years that we have actively started studying the endocannabinoid system. In this blog you can read more about:
What Is The Endocannabinoid System?
Endocannabinoid system is present in most of the mammals, both vertebrates and invertebrates. Endocannabinoid system is comprised of different chemicals mainly cannabinoids, endocannabinoids, receptors, ligands and so on. The functioning of the endocannabinoid system maintains and helps in the smooth functioning of different physiological properties. Some of them include appetite, sleep, pain, inflammation, intraocular pressure, and the list goes on.
Endocannabinoid receptors are found to interact with cannabinoid compounds. The number of these receptors is greater than any other receptors found in the human body. The two main receptors found in the endocannabinoid system are CB 1 and CB 2 types of receptors. They are two major classes of receptors that are categorized mainly with respect to where they are located.
CB 1 class of receptors are present mostly in the brain and CB 2 receptors are present mostly in the immunity system. These two are activated by different cannabinoids but few cannabinoids found to work for both, such as anandamide.
CB 1 present in the central nervous system works towards dealing with pain perception, stress control and other mechanisms which are connected with neuronal activity. Whereas, CB 2 receptors help with giving relief to pain by dealing with inflammation. Being present in the immunity system, CB 2 receptors are targeted in cases of chronic pain and other pain-related diseases such as arthritis. An increased amount of CB 1 calls for the increased psychoactivity and an increased level of CB 2 accounts for the decreased immunity.
Endocannabinoids are the cannabinoid compounds our body itself produces and these are the natural cannabinoids found in the body. They activate the cannabinoid receptors such as CB 1 and CB 2, which then results in different mechanisms that respond to different triggers.
It is being noted that the endocannabinoid system has a role in almost every disease that happens in our body. This is hypothesized as the endocannabinoid deficiency. An increase in endocannabinoids and expression of receptors are found in the cases of diseases.
Since the endocannabinoid system works closely to bring balance in the human body, regulating the endocannabinoid system is necessary to heal any disease condition, and also to maintain an overall healthy state of the human body.
What Happens If The Endocannabinoid System Is Not In Balance?
An increased or decreased endocannabinoid levels of receptors are known to have an adverse effect on the functioning of physiological activities that are regulated by these chemicals. Therefore, it is important to have a balanced endocannabinoid system. This means having a desirable amount of compounds such as endocannabinoids, receptors and other compounds that participate in this complex system. But, what happens if we have an imbalanced endocannabinoid system?
An increased CB 1 activity may result in Diabetes or Obesity whereas a decreased level of CB 2 receptors may cause inflammation. An imbalance in the endocannabinoids or other ligands also may result in different dysfunctions such as neurodegenerative disorders. Our body is prone to show symptoms that our endocannabinoid system is not in balance. The following are some of them:
- A heightened sensation of pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Unhealthy food habits
- Untreatable skin conditions
- Chronic pain due to inflammation
How To Restore An Imbalanced Endocannabinoid System?
Endocannabinoid system can be restored with the external supply of cannabinoids from plants. The phytocannabinoids, which are the cannabinoid compounds present in the plant, can help with balancing the endocannabinoid system. Different cannabinoids act differently in activating the endocannabinoid system.
THC is a compound that is present in the Cannabis plant that directly activates CB 1 receptors. This is a compound known to give the “high” feeling from marijuana consumption. Whereas, CBD or cannabidiol is another compound present in the cannabis plant extract that helps with activation of the cannabinoid receptors by increasing the endocannabinoid production or by increasing the availability of these endocannabinoids in the human body. This compound doesn’t provide any psychoactivity and can be included in the treatment plan for many diseases.
The consumption of these phytocannabinoids can help with bringing balance to your endocannabinoid system.
Are Phytocannabinoids The Only Option To Restore The Endocannabinoid System?
No, there are other factors that can help with bringing back the balance to your endocannabinoid system. Exercising is one of the activities that has shown to give good results to an extent. Having a regular cardiovascular improves your overall health and contributes to increasing the amount of anandamide in the brain. This effect which is also known as “runner’s high” is a good way to improve your endocannabinoid system.
Another important factor which also helps in improving your endocannabinoid system is a healthy diet. Omega 3 fatty acids is a good ingredient to add to your diet if you are looking to strengthen your endocannabinoid system. Omega 3 fatty oils are present in fish oil, flax seeds or hemp seeds.
The endocannabinoid system is one of the many complex biological systems that work towards keeping us healthy. An imbalance in the endocannabinoid system is found in case of most of the diseases, and our body keeps us notified about these imbalances through various symptoms.
The major ways to restore the balance of endocannabinoid system are by regular exercise, healthy diet and by external supply of phytocannabinoids like CBD.