Ever wonder about the comprehensive system we humans possess to operate our daily life routines, how we can observe different mental, emotional and physiological stimuli and respond accordingly.
Recently in the 90s, scientists discovered an extensive phenomenon known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is responsible for controlling most of our daily and essential work activities such as cognitive processes and memory, appetite, mood, and emotional thinking, sleep, temperature control, pain sensation, and inflammatory and immune responses. It is a biological amalgamation of lipid-based neurotransmitters that bond with cannabinoid receptors (CBRs) and proteins in our central and peripheral nervous systems.
Although the studies are still in the nascent stages and continuous probing and years of developmental research are required to know more about the endocannabinoid system (ECS), it is considered a breakthrough in drug development research.
In the 1980-1990s, teams of cannabis researchers Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Allyn Howlett, among other scientists, discovered the science of the ECS. Scientists claim that it encompasses a complex network of chemical signals and cellular receptors efficiently situated within the human body, enabling it to respond immediately to actions.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has three players that run the system endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. But how do they work?
The "cannabinoid" receptors in the brain act like controlling agents that monitor and regulate the activities of neurotransmitters that produce immediate mental and motion responses to pain, hunger, or other stimuli. The body responds with endocannabinoids, which are pharmacologically similar to molecules in the cannabis plant. Endo means "within the body," and cannabinoids are compounds pertaining to cannabis.
Two significant endocannabinoids have been identified: the anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG), which bind the receptors to instruct the ECS to function holistically. The endocannabinoids bind to any of the CB1 receptors (present in the central nervous system) or CB2 receptors (present in the peripheral nervous system) to produce a response with the help of fatty acid amide hydrolase and monoacylglycerol acid lipase enzymes. This response is the immediate reaction to our actions such as hunger, anger, feeling hot or cold, falling asleep, etc. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) has been analysed both genetically and pharmacologically showing that these cannabinoids pose as neuromodulators in controlling physical and cognitive human processes.
Endocannabinoid System and CBD
With the growing popularity of alternative medicines and herbal medicine, cannabis has made a mark amongst the masses for its medicinal properties. Although many pharmaceuticals are working on cannabis-related drugs that still require Food and drug administration's approval, practitioners prescribe CBD for anxiety, arthritis, and epilepsy.
The cannabinoid found in cannabis is cannabidiol (CBD). It is one of the eighty active compounds derived from different parts of the cannabis sativa plant (also known as the hemp plant), such as the stem, leaves, and flowers. When a cannabinoid is produced naturally from within the body (endocannabinoid) or synthetically (CBD), the cannabinoid receptors are engaged in a signaling response.
The responses are high if a more concentrated synthetic version such as CBD or THC is used.
However, in contrast to THC, the intoxication level of consuming CBD doesn't make you "stoned" and results in minimum side effects. Researchers are still working on identifying how CBD relates to the ECS; they believe it does not attach to CB1 or CB2 receptors but stops them from breaking down, increasing the impact on the body, unlike THC.
However, debatable, but studies have shown CBD provides relief from pain, nausea, and other symptoms.
As the endocannabinoid system works on the body to improve and control metabolism, mood, memory, sleep, motor control, pain perception, immune system, fertility, and pregnancy; CBD can assist positively. However, the leading conditions for CBD consumption are pain, anxiety, and depression; recently, epilepsy has been added to the list.
The consumption of CBD has taken many forms, from oils, topical sprays, edible gummies and vapes, and e-juices. With the increase in demand, many routes have been adopted for consuming CBD for medicinal purposes or as a fashion statement after it has been legalized in some regions.
CBD oil is produced with a carrier oil such as coconut or hemp oil and a specific CBD concentration.
Vape pens and pods filled with CBD oil are a good form of consumption if one is looking for a particular dosage and bioavailability as vaping or inhaling the tincture enters the bloodstream through the lungs without being broken down chemically.
People also advocate for CBD vapes over smoking because it is non-toxic and carbon monoxide free, with lesser lung damage. Trials have shown improvement in chemotherapy pain and epilepsy. In addition, it is known that asthma and COPD patients find smaller doses of aerosolized vapes more effective as they directly enter the lungs, resulting in better pain relief than oral or subcutaneous injections. Still, further investigations and studies are imminent as medical researchers work hard to learn the vapes' benefits and risks.
CBD edibles are another spinoff of ingesting CBD through foods containing the compound. Gummies, cookies, chocolates, mints, gums, and protein powders, all infused with CBD, are examples of edibles. They are easy to consume, tasty, flavorful, and have long-lasting effects.
Due to the attractiveness and demand of Cannabis, Canna Expert UK tend to regulate the cannabis experience for medicinal purposes; fully licensed practitioners serve the cannabinoid industry making the trade experience lawful and monitored while providing facilitation for research in this area
The endocannabinoid system is still in the nascent stage of discovery; researchers have to focus on many avenues to understand its involvement in regulating human mind and body.
Furthermore, efforts must be made to explore the pharmacological effects of cannabis. Finally, ECS's physiological or cognitive impact on a human's neural function can lead to many developments in relieving pain and healing diseases and disorders. However, it is essential to consult a licensed practitioner before adopting or experimenting with CBD or its related products.