The efficiency of cannabinoids, such as CBD, to treat the symptoms caused by so many illnesses lies in the endocannabinoid system of our own body. In other words, we were designed to have special receptors that bind with these compounds extracted from plants.
And when they do, incredible things happen in our body, things that are not yet fully understood but manage to provide relief to so many people out there without the risk of suffering unwanted side-effects. But, what is the endocannabinoid system and how does it help us get the most out of CBD treatments? Let us find out more about it.
What is the Endocannabinoid System?
The ECS or Endocannabinoid System is composed out of cell receptors and their adjacent molecules. These receptors act pretty much like locks, as only specific keys can open them up or, in this case, make them react. In anatomy, the keys to these locks are called agonists, which are small chemical molecules capable of triggering a wide range of reactions in the body.
So, each time an agonist meets a receptor cell, it will activate it, but it will also transmit a message as well, letting the receptor know what it has to do.
Thus, when it comes to the ECS, there are two main types of receptors that make its body, and we are talking about Cannabinoid Receptor 1 or CB1 (mostly found in the brain) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 or CB2 (mostly found the immune system).
The keys or agonists of these receptors are the endocannabinoids. “Endo” can be translated as “within” and “cannabinoid” makes reference to a compound that is more than suitable for fit within the cannabinoid receptors.
In our body, there are two kinds of endocannabinoids that interest us the most, which are anandamide and 2-Ag. Anandamide was discovered with the help of THC, once this psychoactive component of cannabis was discovered back in the 1960s, by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli scientist.
Once THC was discovered, everybody wanted to know what it actually works and if there is a chance for our body to produce the same kind of molecules. It took more than 20 years to find and isolate anandamide.
The name of this endocannabinoid is also interesting as, because they didn’t know how to name it once it was isolated, scientists found the word “Ananda”, in Sanskrit, which means “bliss”. So, yes, anandamides are the so-called “bliss molecules”.
In fact, ECS is starting to be considered in the various pharmaceutical strategies as it presents a great potential when it comes to treating various conditions more efficiently.
According to studies, modulating the activity of the ECS can help in a wide range of conditions, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain, spinal cord injury, cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, hypertension, stroke, glaucoma, osteoporosis, and the list may continue.
While many people fear that taking cannabinoids will make them experience psychoactive experiences, scientist state that there is no risk for these psychoactive effects to occur if the cannabinoid is derived from the hemp cannabis indica plant.
However we put it, the activation of the ECS with cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis indica plants is a strategy that is definitely worthy of exploiting due to the numerous positive results it provided in the scientific studies that were unrolled so far.
We may have many things to learn about this still, but at least we made a step forward, opening a door that can bring safer and more effective treatments to a very large number of people worldwide.