Cannabis patients are likely familiar with the terms THC and CBD and how the cannabinoid chemicals are effective therapies for many conditions involving nausea, chronic pain, inflammation, depression and anxiety. The University of Washington states that there are 480 natural components in the cannabis plant. Whereas opiates target the central nervous system, Cannabinoids similarly, and naturally, affect the user by “interacting with specific receptors.” Once medical marijuana is ingested, the receptors are opened and the medication begins to provide relief to patients.
Cannabinoid Receptors, referred to as CB1 and CB2, are an essential part of the human body’s endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system consists of cannabinoid receptors all over the body. This system enables a connection between body and mind, signaling to all other systems when something feels good or bad. When the body is defensive against trauma, this system begins to fail, resulting in physical, mental and/or neurological conditions. The compounds THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) found in cannabis signal the same cannabinoid receptors as anandamide. The cannabinoid receptor AEA is commonly referred to as the “bliss molecule” because of its ability to relieve pain and anxiety. When a patient consumes medical marijuana they are essentially supplementing their naturally-occurring endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids. If this system consistently has a shortage in the endocannabinoid system, disease or illness could develop.
The CB1 and CB2 Receptors and the endocannabinoid system work concurrently. In 1992, CB1 was discovered to bind to anandamide, “a naturally occuring substance within the brain. CB2 was detected and cloned a year later during a Cambridge University study. According to one report, they are similar in nature, but they present two very different mechanisms. The endocannabinoid system also controls most responses within the human system including memory, sensory, neuroendocrine, metabolism, and cognition responses. This system tells humans when they are hungry, tired, scared, sad or happy.
CB1 Receptors are part of the nervous system and the brain. This is the receptor for anandamide and THC which is in charge of the psychoactive effects within cannabis. Patients with anxiety will likely have lower CB1 receptors. Often when the CB1 receptors are activated through cannabis consumption, a patient begins to feel relief (depending on method, onset and length of time of medicine will vary) quickly and effectively. Medical marijuana patients find there are discreet methods to consume and administer cannabis.
CB2 Receptors activate the anti-inflammatory effects of medical marijuana. This receptors mimic an immune response and assist a patient’s immune system. Gut health is a vital part of a patient’s overall health. CB2 Receptor activation generally intervenes with immunosuppressive effects. There appear to be more CB2 receptors within the gastrointestinal system than any other part of the human body. The cannabis medicine will likely benefit those with intestinal issues and conditions.
With the powers of the endocannabinoid system and the proper use of medical marijuana, patients can experience long-lasting and natural pain and symptom relief.
Each patient’s needs are unique. Speak to a certifying medical marijuana physician to determine the recommended strain and method of consumption.