Piggybacking off of Missy Maconha’s post Revolution Coming, which mentioned the Endocannabinoid System and its potential for the treatment of disease, here’s a primer on this fascinating, newly-discovered part of our physiology, in a somewhat less jargony context than the previous link (please feel free to read that whole manuscript, though, if you’re so inclined).
Cannabis medications work so efficiently because of the endocannabinoid (EC) system, present in all humans and many animals as well. This system consists of a series of receptors that are configured only to accept cannabinoids, especially tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Not enough research has been done on the other ones, cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG) plus others, to know much about their mechanisms of effect.
This system, an integral part of our physiologies, was discovered in the mid-1990s by Israeli researcher Dr. Ralph Mechoulam who also identified THC as the main active ingredient in cannabis in the early 1960s. Israel has been one of the most progressive nations for cannabis research and currently has one of the most advanced medical marijuana programs in the world. They are international leaders in advanced greenhouse technology, routinely producing flowers with 20 percent or greater THC.
Dr. Mechoulam’s world-changing research discovered two main receptors, cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2), that are keyed to both the endocannabinoids that our body naturally produces and phytocannabinoids (plant-based) like THC and CBD. Our bodies actually produce the ECs similar to how our body produces narcotic-like endorphins. Synthetic cannabinoids, like the ones found in Marinol, also fit the receptor sites but don’t work as efficiently as the natural ones.
This research barely created a stir when first published as the whole world was still wrapped up in drug war madness. A prominent scientist discovers that our bodies not only have receptor sites cued just for cannabinoids but that our bodies actually produce them internally. The next step was to figure out how this affects our body’s functioning.
The key graf:
The fact that there is a system in our body that produces cannabinoids, and is specifically designed to accept just them, should be overwhelming proof of cannabis’ efficacy as a medicine. From the pain-killing effects of THC to the anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties of CBD, we have just scratched the surface of a world of possibilities. People are waking up to the benefits of these medicines as more researchers are exploring the infinite possibilities inherent in this seemingly simple plant. Future generations will look back and wonder why it took so long to figure this out.
Memes courtesy of reset.meby