WHAT IS THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM?
Between all the body’s systems (respiratory system, digestive system, …) known to mammals, there is an everlasting intercellar communication taking place. Its medium are various sorts of signals, being distributed thanks to a web of cellular transmitters and receivers, known as the endocannabinoid system. It is the key coordination system of the human brain, forming the largest web of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for the communication between the brain and the immune system. In it, we find some cannabinoid molecules, present in the human body before the ingestion of cannabis; they are our natural tie to cannabis and the reason we respond to it on so many different levels.
When weakened, the endocannabinoid system produces an imbalance that often results in disease. Luckily, the cannabinoid molecules found in the brain and the ones found in the cannabis plant have an incredible capacity to merge, which allows for treating many medical issues being treated with cannabis. Newer studies show numerous health issues, such as migraines, are to be associated with an imbalance in the endocannabinoid system. Cannabis treatment has proved efficient even with rodents suffering from an imbalance in the system.
There are known links between the endocannabinoid system and the human appetite, which cannabis tends to increase. This discovery has proven to be crucial, since some of the medication for losing weight was exploiting the decrease of appetite caused by the system’s imbalance. The latter was so severe, depression, anxiety and insomnia were beginning to form, while rodents exposed to long-term endocannabinoid system imbalance were beginning to develop cancer cells.
What is interesting is the system’s role in the mental wellbeing. Many studies are only beginning to discover these incredible connections. It plays a vital role in the brain’s capability to forget the data it does not find useful. Its effect on the mental health is positive, perhaps due to the system’s complex way of so-called retrograde communicating between cells, which allows for the brain’s constant stream of thoughts being paused for a few moments, causing feelings of mental relief. Some of the positive effects are possible due to a significant number of cannabinoid receptors being in the part of the brain known as the hypothalamus, where crucial processes regarding thinking take form. These receptors tend to connect with plant-based cannabinoids on a larger scale than those found in the human body.