Despite more than half a century of getting a bum rap, cannabis is much more of a wonder drug than previously thought and researchers are just now finding out about its amazingly therapeutic value.
Pieces of the Cannabinoid Puzzle
All vertebrates—mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and so on — have a vital system that maintains homeostasis, a balance of optimal function, of processes such as pain, memory, sleep, appetite, the immune system, etc., called the endocannabinoid system.
All of our organs have a puzzle piece, or receptor, which looks for a matching piece when we get out of balance. Cannabis has well over 100 phytocannabinoids, which fit perfectly with our endocannabinoids, helping us recover when need be. This is a fine example of nature always providing us with what we need to stay well.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes
CBD and THC are the best known and most thoroughly researched of the cannabinoids.
The proper name of CBD is cannabidiol, and it’s a naturally-occurring compound in the cannabis sativa genus of plants which includes both hemp and marijuana. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t have psychoactive effects because it works with the CB2 receptors which are evenly distributed throughout the body in cells of the immune system, regulating immune signalling and inflammation. It helps with types of pain including jaw, nerve and arthritis-related.
THC or trans-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, works with the CB1 receptors which are abundant in the brain and is what gives cannabis its psychoactive effects. Since it can act as a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen, it can affect everything from dopamine production to sleep patterns to the ability to perceive the passage of time.
Beside cannabinoids, cannabis contains terpenes which are highly aromatic compounds that determine the smell of many plants and some animals, and also acts on the endocannabinoid system enhancing the effects of the cannabinoids.
Putting out the Fire
Inflammation often results when our bodies get out of whack. Whether it’s due to an injury, infection or autoimmune issues, the immune system sends out inflammatory cells to attack the bacteria, heal the wound or in the case of autoimmune issues, destroy the healthy tissues.
Cannabis can help manage pain and inflammation by dulling the pain and by producing eicosanoids that influence the inflammation response.
This helps manage diseases like Crohn’s and multiple sclerosis, along with rheumatoid arthritis, etc. For treatment of concussions, it is most well-known to impact the inflammation but also neuroplasticity. It helps with glaucoma by reducing the pressure inside the eye that can damage the optic nerve. For cancer, CBD kills cancer cells while THC reduces tumour size. It can decrease the formation of amyloid plaques, a factor that contributes to Alzheimer’s disease. It treats Parkinson’s disease and CBD reduces seizure in epilepsy.
It seems like there’s nothing it can’t do but as always, do your own research because….
…not all cannabis is created equal. Different chemovars may contain different cannabinoids and terpenes, and therefore the effects can be different from one strain to another.
There is so much more that Cannabis does, so have a look at the chart above to see what it may help you or your loved ones with. It’s worth investigating the more natural solution without the harmful side effects of that offered by Big Pharma’s drugs.