Did you know that your body has its own endocannabinoid system?

 Photo by  Jennifer Skog

Photo by Jennifer Skog

Whether you use Cannabis for the purpose of getting high or use the plant for medicinal reasons, the effects would not be felt if our mystical bodies didn’t have a system for the cannabinoids to bind to. This is called our Endocannabinoid System, which has three key components: Endocannabinoids, Cannabinoid Receptors, and Metabolic Enzymes

Located in our brains, this region is extremely close to our amygdala, which is mainly responsible for our emotions. The Endocannabinoid System also regulates our mood, physiology, and how we experience emotions. In this region of the brain the endocannabinoids play an enormous role in maintaining internal homeostasis. 

Homeostasis / ho·me·o·sta·sis / : The tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes. (aka balance)
 

So how does the body actually reach this blissful state of Homeostasis? Follow me… lets take a trip deep into our brains, close our eyes and imagine the receptors that respond pharmacologically to cannabinoids like keys unlocking doors. These “doors” are what are the CB1 and CB2 receptors and the Endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2AG) are what we consider the “keys”. 

CB1 receptors are mainly concentrated throughout our brains and central nervous system. This abundant metabotropic receptor regulates brain development, how we learn, learn, memory, motor behavior, regulation of appetite, body temperature, pain perception and inflammation. They are involved in various psychiatric, neurological, and neurodevelopmental disorders. In contrast, the CB2 receptors are located throughout our peripheral area of our body although its affinity is higher in our immune system. 

The Cannabis plants have different cannabinoids as the ones that we naturally produce, their shapes fit perfectly into the receptor as it activates and releases neurotransmitters in our synapse. 

As THC (the psychoactive cannabinoid) binds to our CB1 and CB2 receptors, mimicking the Endocannabinoids that are already produced, CBD (the non-psychoactive cannabinoid) does something slightly different. CBD actually stops the enzyme FAAH from breaking down the anandamide concentration in our system, therefore making it more readily available for use by our cells. This is why CBD is a natural mood booster without any psychoactive effect, ultimately bringing us to a balanced state of mind (Homeostasis). 

Everyone out there is facing a tidal wave of stress in their day-to-day life. Over time stress IS unhealthy and contributes to struggle of achieving homeostasis. On top of stress an unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet can lead to developing an endocannabinoid deficiency. This is why using cannabis can be very beneficial! Cannabis can act like an adaptogen supporting a homeostasis state and this is because of natural receptors we have for these cannabinoids. 

So again, balance is always key. Each individual has a different body chemistry and it is important to understand what our bodies can benefit from, as well as what it doesn’t like. Some individuals do well consuming cannabis through edibles and others may find it more pleasing to smoke. Whatever way you find works best for you remember to listen to your body, it is a miraculous system.