THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM AND CBD
In recent years, cannabis has undergone a real renaissance, with substantial research, numerous seminars, publicity and articles on the impact of cannabis and cannabinoids on health and the endocannabinoid system. So far, more than 112 cannabinoids were discovered in cannabis, and the most important ones are THC and CBD. THC is the culprit behind the 20th century’s criminalization of this centuries-old plant. In contrast to THC, cannabidiol (CBD) is not psychoactive and acts on other receptors that are found in the leukocytes, the spleen, bone marrow, and other tissues associated with the immune system. International clinical trials and research confirm that CBD activates the immune system, has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, suppresses vomiting and nausea, reduces sugar levels, and small intestine contractions. There have also been positive results in the treatment of a wide range of autoimmune conditions, for example, multiple sclerosis. It is also effective in the treatment of malignant diseases, which weaken the immune system. It has an anti-inflammatory effect, which is promising for the treatment of different chronic inflammatory diseases, for example, Crohn’s disease etc.
EMERGENCY CALL SYSTEM
Cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors that comprise the endocannabinoid system in the human body (ECS). ECS is a very important physiological system and it is present in our body for the regulation and maintenance of health. How does it work? ECS is involved in establishing and maintaining homeostasis, that is, the existence of a stable inner (cellular) environment in a dynamic, ever-changing external environment. ECS is therefore responsible for balance, and if there is an imbalance in the system, it is responsible to restore it. This system is responsible for communication between cells, tissues and organs in our system, while at the same time takes care of our health and the immune system. It regulates important body functions such as sleep, appetite, reproduction, fertility, memory, and guards against stress. This system functions as a kind of emergency call system – when the nerves are over-stimulated due to injury, stress, strong emotions or a condition caused by an illness, there is an overflow of nerve impulses in neurons, which can lead to cellular damage. In this case, the system releases cannabinoids, which calm the nervous system. When the nervous system is overwhelmed, the nerve cells release endocannabinoids, which in turn calm the nervous system. This is why our bodies can still function under unfavourable conditions. However, because of modern-day diseases (poor nutrition, lack of movement, the introduction of toxins and medication in the body, radiation …) our ECS is often exhausted or disrupted, because it is unable to produce enough endocannabinoids required by our bodies. Cannabinoids found in cannabis (phytocannabinoids) are very similar to endocannabinoids produced by our bodies; plant cannabinoids can, therefore, bind to receptors in the ECS – they are perceived by the body as its own and therefore does not reject them. This means that instead of the endocannabinoids, the body’s processes are activated by phytocannabinoids. The medicinal value of cannabis is thus reflected in the regulation of a multitude of processes – simply put, in self-medication. Moreover, some studies confirm that hemp cannabinoids destroy bad, cancerous cells and do not disrupt the immune system in the process.
Cannabinoid receptors are activated by endocannabinoids, which are produced naturally by our body (anandamide and arachidonoylglycerol), synthetic cannabinoids or plant cannabinoids, found in cannabis. Thus, the body perceives the plant cannabinoids as its own and does not reject them.
CB1 receptors are found in the central nervous system, connective tissue, glands, sexual glands, in the cerebral cortex and in brain regions such as the hippocampus, the basal ganglia, the cerebellum and the amygdala. CB2 receptors are mostly found in the lymphatic organs (the spleen, thymus glands and pancreas, the palatine bone, bone marrow) and white blood cells. Because the receptors are arranged in two different regions, they are activated by different types of cannabinoids.
That is why THC, which also contains psychoactive substances, activates the CB1 receptors and works well against all forms of depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease provides relief for pain, inflammation (arthritis, lupus), hormonal disorders and many forms of cancer. CBD in contrast to THC, activates the CB2 receptors and thus helps against all inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and the leaky gut syndrome, and it has many positive effects on all forms of blood disorders and cancer.
The number of CB1 and CB2 receptors differs from person to person, and it depends on a person’s response and sensitivity to CBD and THC. In order to maximize the benefit, the THC to CBD ratio in the preparations varies for each individual depending on the CB1 and CB2 receptors count in their bodies.
Many researchers believe that CBD is the most important cannabinoid that has ever been discovered, and because of its significant therapeutic potential in healthcare, ongoing research and studies are being performed to this day. We might even say that cannabinoids are one of the most popular daily consumed dietary supplements. Of course, science has already synthesized pure, synthetic cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, which are being used to manufacture some of the drugs already on the market. But experience in the use of synthetic cannabinoids suggests that they are significantly less effective compared to natural forms of cannabinoids.
The best solution is to use plants from their natural habitats that are cultivated in indigenous-controlled production, without the use of pesticides or herbicides, and if possible, harvested by hand. The quality and properties of products greatly depend on the quality of the cannabis. For this reason, the manner in which the plants were cultivated, where they were cultivated and how the plant was harvested, are also important in order to achieve the most positive effects of plant-based CBD products.
Summaries of some studies:
- Multiple sclerosis: cannabinoids protect the nerves and, in the case of multiple sclerosis, have strong anti-inflammatory effects.
- Alzheimer’s disease: cannabinoids dilute protein phosphorylation and prevent inflammation of the nerves and oxidative stress (too much oxygen) in the brain. This slows down or even completely cures Alzheimer’s.
- Breast cancer: in the year 2000, the California Health Center conducted a study, where it was found that cannabis use prevents and limits the formation of a genome that causes the onset of metastasis and consequently spreads breast cancer cells away from the nucleus.
- Cancer cells: studies at the University of Madrid have shown that substances in cannabis cause dangerous cancerous cells to kill other cancer cells. Patients did not experience cannabis related side effects or poisoning.