11 mind-blowing facts about your body’s endocannabinoid system

From Green Flower

human body graphic

How is it that one plant – cannabis – can treat so many different illnesses?

It’s a great question and luckily there is a great answer based on scientific research.

The answer lies in our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Most people have yet to hear about the ECS, but as the world comes to better understand this crucial system, we continue to unlock the secrets of cannabis as medicine while understanding more about human health in general.

Here are some quick facts to get you up to speed – some of them might shock you!

#1) The endocannabinoid system was discovered in the late 1980s when researchers were studying how THC interacted with the body. For reasons we’ll get into, the ECS would soon be considered more significant than all other neuroscience discoveries combined.

#2) In the early 1990s another amazing discovery was made when researchers found two endogenous compounds that bind just like THC with the ECS. These THC-like cannabinoids, produced by our own bodies, are respectively called anandamide and AG-2.

#3) It eventually became clear that the receptors which comprised the ECS were the most prevalent neurotransmitters throughout the brain and also found in the organs, bones, and skin.

endocannabinoid system chart

#4) Scientists have learned that the ECS plays a direct role in homeostasis, which means that it regulates every metabolic process in the body to keep things running as they should.

As Dr. Sunil Aggarwal pointed out during the Cannabis Health Summit, the ECS plays a role in processes such as:

  • Mood regulation
  • Appetite
  • Memory
  • Inflammation
  • Pain perception
  • Muscle tone and movement
  • Extinction of traumatic memory
  • Protection of nerves and brain tissue
  • Bone growth
  • Tumor regulation
  • Baby breast-feeding reward
  • Stress management
  • Eye pressure
  • Gastrointestinal motility
  • Seizure activity
  • And many others

#5) When we don’t have enough endocannabinoids in our body, we call this clinical endocannabinoid deficiency – which medical researchers are connecting to a number of ailments including previously untreatable illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia or migraines. When the ECS isn’t healthy, any number of things can go wrong. The cannabinoids in cannabis can helps us bolster the ECS, which is why the herb is so effective for so many different ailments.

#6) In addition to endogenous and plant-based cannabinoids, attempts have been made to stimulate the ECS with synthetic cannabinoids such as Marinol, which is the synthetic version of THC. While some patients continue to benefit from this FDA-approved drug, the side effects can be very unpleasant for others.

#7) Despite knowledge of the ECS and its relationship with cannabis, governments have maintained severe restrictions on the study and legal access of this plant.

In 2014 alone the U.S. government locked up 700,000 people for cannabis all the while knowing the importance of this plant acting on the ECS.

#8) Pharmaceutical companies meanwhile are permitted to attempt cracking the ECS in other ways, creating chemical concoctions with often times ineffective, harsh or even fatal results.

For example, between 1999 and 2014 the number of opioid prescriptions quadrupled. The number of opioid-related deaths also quadrupled during that time span according to the CDC.

#9) People have been using cannabis for over 10,000 years (without a single fatal overdose ever being recorded), and some estimates have the ECS first developing at about 500 million years ago!

#10) Many medicals school continue to overlook the ECS, however this is starting to change now that we have the first science-based medical cannabis textbook.

#11) Almost every animal, with the exception of insects, has an endocannabinoid system.

Incredible discoveries await in the field of endocannabinoid science. We hope that medical schools across the globe introduce the subject into their core curriculum so that doctors can start learning about one of the most important systems in our body.

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New Discovery Proves Humans Have Been Using Cannabis for at Least 2,400 Years

October 8, 2016   |   Carey Wedler
(ANTIMEDIA) Archaeologists in China recently discovered evidence indicating humans have been using cannabis as medicine and employing it in spiritual rituals for over 2,400 years.According to “Ancient Cannabis Burial Shroud in a Central Eurasian Cemetery,” published in Economic Botany last month, “[a]n extraordinary cache of ancient, well-preserved Cannabis plant remains was recently discovered in a tomb in the Jiayi cemetery of Turpan, NW China.

The researchers, led by Hongen Jiang, an archaeologist at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, discovered 13 whole female cannabis plants buried in the tomb of a 35-year-old Caucasian man. The paper explains the cannabis plants “appear to have been locally produced and purposefully arranged and used as a burial shroud which was placed upon a male corpse.” Researchers suspect he might have been a shaman.

cannabis

Radiocarbon dating indicates the tomb is between 2,400 and 2,800 years old.

National Geographic explained the discovery:
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Opioid use decreases in US states that legalize medical marijuana – study

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From RT

New research shows a decline in the use of opioid painkillers in US states that allow people to treat pain with medical marijuana, affirming the fears of Big Pharma who have been vigorously seeking to frustrate efforts to legalize the herb.

Columbia University researchers examined data from 1999 to 2013 and found an association between a state legalizing medical marijuana and a reduction in testing positive for opioids after dying in a car accident, particularly among drivers aged 21 to 40.

The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, examined data of 69000 traffic fatalities in 18 states and analyzed the cases in which the presence of opioids was detected.

They found that drivers in that age bracket who died in car crashes, after a medical marijuana law had been implemented, were half as likely to test positive for opioids when compared to similarly aged drivers who crashed in states before such laws were in place.

“That’s a pretty moderate-to-large reduction,” said lead author June H. Kim, a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, according to Live Science.

“We would expect the adverse consequences of opioid use to decrease over time in states where medical marijuana use is legal, as individuals substitute marijuana for opioids in the treatment of severe or chronic pain,” Kim said.

This logic is not applicable to those over 40, however, with researchers finding no decrease in opioid use for over 40s in the states with operational medical marijuana programs.

This is consistent with previous research which has found that most medical marijuana patients are aged under 45.

The study comes only days after it emerged that as the amount of prescription painkillers and heroin dependence-related claims have increased, the private healthcare sector has been struggling to deal with the associated costs.

Research from Fair Health found that in 2015, “private payors’ average costs for a patient diagnosed with opioid abuse or dependence were more than 550 percent higher – almost $16,000 more per patient – than the per-patient average cost based on all patients’ claims.”

The report also coincides with the revelation that Insys Therapeutics, which profits off of a painkiller 50 times more potent than heroin, has been funding an anti-legalization campaign in Arizona in an apparent bid to eliminate ‘the competition.’

Insys isn’t the first pharmaceutical company to be found bankrolling anti-marijuana legislation though with a number of alcohol and pharmaceutical companies “heavily” invested in such laws in a number of states, according to The Intercept.

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