Phytocannabinoids, Endogenous-Cannabinoids, and the Endocannabinoid Sytem
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System.
The eCS (Endocannabinoid System) or, Endogenous Cannabinoid System, is known to maintain homeostasis. The eCS has two main receptors that cannabinoids bind to and/or fit into like a skeleton key to a lock, and these receptors (or key holes) are called CB1 and CB2 receptors, respectively. Cannabinoid receptors are G-Protein receptors. G-Protein receptors “…regulate metabolic enzymes, ion channels, transporter, and other parts of the cell machinery, controlling transcription, motility, contractility, and secretion, which in turn regulate diverse systemic functions such as embryonic development, learning and memory, and homeostasis.” The eCS is found all throughout your body. The CB1 receptors are found primarily in the central nervous system, while the CB2 receptors are found primarily on bodily organs, such as the liver and lungs. The eCS is known to help regulate your autoimmune system. This explains why researchers are constantly finding new medical applications for cannabis: it can be used to treat cancer, dermatitis, multiple sclerosis, seizures, fibromyalgia, and many other ailments. Scientists are now aware that there are even more receptors (CB3, CB4, and CB5) found throughout all mammals, so it is true that there is always more to learn about this incredible relationship between human and plant.
Cannabinoids are considered a class of protein molecules (amino acids) that bind to these receptors. There are about 80 different cannabinoids (so far) found throughout the Cannabis plant. These cannabinoids are known as Phytocannabinoids. Until recently, I would define Phytocannabinoids as molecules found within the Cannabis sativa L species, just like our Endogenous Cannabinoids found inside of us (homo sapiens). That was until I read: Phytocannabinoids beyond the Cannabis plant-do they exist? “This prompts us to define ‘phytocannabinoids’ as any plant-derived natural product capable of either directly interacting with cannabinoid receptors or sharing chemical similarity with cannabinoids or both.” Currently, there is one other cannabinoid out there called β-caryophyllene. While abundant in the Cannabis Sativa L essential oil, that cannabinoid is also found in other plants. Until that discovery, there were only two species on this planet that produced their own cannabinoids: Cannabis Sativa with their phytocannabinoids and human beings with their endogenous cannabinoids.
The discovery of the eCS is accredited to the Scientist Raphael Mechoulam, Ph.D., who identified two primary endogenous (self-made) cannabinoids. One is called Anandamide, also known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine or AEA, which is a neurotransmitter. The name is taken from the Sanskrit word ananda, which means “joy, bliss, delight”. The other known endogenous cannabinoid is called 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). It is the most prominent cannabinoid found in the human body, and it is thought to regulate everything from appetite to pain management. Could it be possible that the rise in autoimmune disorders such as fibromyalgia, lupus, allergies, and eczema is actually due to humans’ cannabinoid deficiencies? Mammalian bodies deem cannabinoids so vital that we even produce them in our milk. I would be interested in a study comparing breastfed babies to formula-fed ones, since these important molecules are not found in formula.
“If it were not for these cannabinoids in breast milk, newborn children would not know how to eat, nor would they necessarily have the desire to eat, which could result in severe malnourishment and even death. Believe it or not, the process is similar to how adult individuals who smoke pot get the ‘munchies,’ as newborn children who are breastfed naturally receive doses of cannabinoids that trigger hunger and promote growth and development.” -Jonathan Benson, NaturalNews.com
I will be adding more content pertaining to cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system over the course of my lifetime. There is so much information out there that it takes lots of time to read, digest, and understand completely enough to regurgitate it clearly. The information pertaining to this subject is as vast as the galaxy. Who knew cannabinoids were so good for you? Oh, before I go, our next addition to Cannabinoids and the eCS, will include the term synergy. Synergistic effects of plant based supplements for a complete balanced mind and body.