Endocannabinoid System

The reason cannabis has been used as a medicine for thousands of years is because of the recently discovered human endocannabinoid system. Ancient civilisations probably didn’t know the exact physiology of why cannabis worked so well for restoring health, but they knew it worked.

The endocannabinoid system, present in all humans and many animals, consist of a series of receptors found throughout the body that are designed to only react and to and accept cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. These receptors are able to respond to a stimulus and transmit signals to sensory nerves. The cannabinoid system has many different functions but the goal is always the same, homeostasis, or maintaining a stable internal body environment despite changes in the external environment.

This system was discovered in the mid 1990s by an Israeli researcher called Dr Ralph Mechoulam who also identified THC as the psychoactive element present in cannabis in the 1960’s. He discovered two main receptors called CB1 and CB2 which both play key roles in the endocannabinoid system that influences, pain, memory, appetite, as well as inflammatory and immune responses. CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and central nervous system while CB2 receptors are mostly found in the peripheral organs and cells linked to the immune system.

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