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Understanding the Endogenous Cannabinoid System and Homeostasis

Understanding the Endogenous Cannabinoid System and Homeostasis

The Endogenous Cannabinoid System is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health and is key to understanding how Cannabis interacts with the body:

  • The ECS comprises of cannabinoid receptors which are found throughout the body embedded within cell membranes. The most well known cannabinoid receptors are CB1 predominantly present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands and organs and CB2 receptors predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures.
  • Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors. An Endo cannabinoids is the substance made naturally by our bodies to stimulate these receptors.
  • The two most well understood of these endo cannabinoid molecules are called anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG)
  • The primary function of the endo cannabinoid activity is to maintain a stable internal environment despite changes in the external environment.
  • This stability is known as homeostasis which endo cannabinoids promote at the most basic levels.

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What is the difference between CBD and THC?

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD(Cannabidiol) are some of the main active ingredients found within the cannabis plant. Both of these are classed as cannabinoids. Both of these substances are in medical and recreational Cannabis, but to understand the difference in these compounds and where they fit in in terms of medical and recreational marijuana, we must first understand what a cannabinoid is.

What Is a Cannabinoid?

Cannabis contains more than 500 natural compounds, with cannabinoids arguably being the most significant. THC produces the “high” associated with recreational weed, and CBD is the therapeutic ingredient, and the relationship between these cannabinoids and our bodies is multifaceted.

Some cannabinoids are psychoactive, but most of them are not. Interestingly, as the THC primarily in its Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabidinol form provides the “high”, the Cannabidiol calms this effect, producing many of the medicinal benefits it offers.

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Cannabis – Perception VS Reality

Cannabis – Perception VS Reality

For thousands of years, Cannabis has been used for its many medicinal and industrial usages. From paper and clothing to natural pain relief and relaxation, the many usages of this noble plant were valued by nations from around the world. In the last century or so, however, the plant that’s given so much to us has experienced a major downfall.

Due to widespread propaganda, prohibition, and improper usage, the reputation of cannabis had been tarnished, and the usages which the world had benefited from for so long, have been slowly forgotten.

But in recent years, that’s all starting to change- Thanks to modern science and the support of key cannabis advocates, what some have called an “enlightenment” has begun, as people everywhere are becoming more educated and more aware about the proof of the benefits that Cannabis can provide. Minds that were once closed are now beginning to open, and at the centre of this “age of enlightenment”, is a cannabis compound that is quickly growing in popularity — Cannabidiol (CBD).

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The Mystery of Cannabis by Israeli Professor Raphael Mechoulam

The Mystery of Cannabis by Israeli Professor Raphael Mechoulam

As a young post-doctoral student looking to make an impression at the Weizmann Institute in Israel, Professor Raphael Mechoulam was in search of “important topics” to research.

After reading the literature on cannabis he “was surprised to a large extent that while the active compound in morphine had been isolated from opium 100 years before and cocaine had been isolated from cocoa leaves at the same time, the active component of cannabis was unknown.” It was this mystery that incited Mechoulam to investigate the chemistry of cannabis in the early 60s.

By 1963, Mechoulam and his research partners had revealed the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), a key ingredient in cannabis. By the following year they had isolated THC for the first time, established its structure and synthesized it.

Further years of collaborative research showed that THC is the key ingredient that activates specific receptors in the brain just as similar chemicals in the human body do. These compounds work with the receptors to protect against many symptoms and conditions, including the nausea caused by chemotherapy and the pain from degenerative muscular diseases.

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Informational Videos

Informational Videos

The benefits of Cannabis from TEDx:

Take in these two interesting perspectives from TEDx talks on the benefits of Cannabis for medicinal use.

 Why I changed my mind about medical cannabis.
– Hugh Hempel, TEDxUniversityofNevada

Thinking Differently About Cannabis
– Michael Zaytsev, TEDxBushwick