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Real Life Wellness: The Effects of Cannabis on the Body

By Bill Hemmer
Over the last two articles, I have been telling the story of cannabis. It’s a plant that has been around for over 10,000 years and has been the source of much controversy. With the latest medical research and popular opinion of this plant changing, I thought it was time to help you understand more about it.

In 1992, scientist discovered an entirely new system inside your body called the Endocannabinoid System. Endo is short for Endocrine. Your Endocrine glands produce and control hormones and neurotransmitters. Cannabinoids are the bioactive compound produced by your body and found in cannabis.

This system controls your ability to handle stress by increasing or decreasing neurotransmitters, hormones, and inflammation chemicals throughout the body. This means we already have a built-in system that uses the same substances found in cannabis to control our nervous system.

This Endocannabinoid system must remain in balance for you to be healthy. If your producing too many of these endocannabinoids it leads to obesity, overeating, increased inflammation, insulin resistance/diabetes, Metabolic syndrome, and mental health instability.

If you aren’t producing enough endocannabinoids it can lead to Migraines, chronic pain, Fibromyalgia, IBS, Depression and PTSD. In both cases, too much or too little, cannabinoids help to balance the system.

We naturally produce our own internal cannabinoids daily. These substances are designed to balance our mood, focus and energy. Cannabis has plant-based substances called phytocannabinoids that have the same effect on the body as our internal cannabinoids.

There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors on our cells. The first receptor is called CB1. The CB1 receptor is mostly found in the brain. The second type of cannabinoid receptor on the cell membranes is called the CB2 receptors. These receptors are mostly found within the immune system.

The CB1 receptors interact with the compound THC to make you “high”. But the CB1 receptors are also important in memory processing, muscle regulation, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and sleep. CBD also interacts with the CB1 receptors by blocking THC from the CB1 receptor if both are present.

Another important action of the CB1 receptors is that when these receptors are activated it protects nerves from damage. Since there are the most CB1 receptors in the brain, making sure your CB1 receptors are healthy will help prevent and treat conditions like Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

The CB2 receptors are found primarily on cells in the Immune System. When these receptors are activated it stimulates a response to decrease inflammation, which in, reduces pain and decreases damage to tissues, such as, cartilage, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. These anti-inflammatory effects are beneficial for any inflammation-based condition like Arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Any supplementation with Hemp or CBD over-the-counter is also very tricky because if you don’t take enough you don’t get the desired effect or if you take too much you can become “spacy”.

The bottom line on this whole discussion about Cannabis is there is much more to it than we have all been told. I hope this gives you a fundamental understanding.

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