Most of us are familiar with certain systems within the body and what they do; some are very simple and some very complex. Take the respiratory system for example; the primary function of the lungs is to bring oxygen into our bodies while forcing carbon dioxide out. There are several important systems within our bodies and one that was discovered by a chemist in the early 1990’s. It is defined as biological system that helps regulate the body and balance key functions. To get a better understanding, I did some more research and discovered some of these “key” functions include learning, memory, control, pain, sleep – and that’s just to name a few.
There are three main components in the Endocannabinoid system; Endocannabinoids, receptors and enzymes. Each of these do their part to work together to create a stable enviroment. Endocannabinoids are natural occurring, lipid-base neurotranmitters; they aid also with various functions and the body produces them as necessary. Receptors are on the surface of cells throughout the body. There are two main receptors, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are mainly present in the Central Nervous System or CNS while CB2 receptors are mainly present in the PNS or Perphrial Nervous System. To stimulate these receptors, our bodies produce molecules called endocannabinoids which have a similar structure to the cannabis plant.
ENS is composed of a vast network of chemical signals and cellular receptors that are densely packed throughout our brains and bodies. It plays a critical role in learning and in memory. THC administered in high doses had an effect on the individuals long term memory and the way this alters both their ability to memorize things in the short term. The role the ECS plays in forgetting also open up opportunities for treatment of PTSD. A recent study suggested that the act of forgetting is a way for the brain and body to function without being overloaded; if we didn’t forget, we couldn’t function and cannabis helps us to do that.
I know you must be wondering why this blog post seems like a science lesson. When I started reseaching the ENS, I was so amazed at how this system in our bodies works. I’m amazed at how the body works in general, but the fact that the Cannabis plant works so closely with a system within our bodies, it makes me much more hopeful for the future and what is yet to come.