to marijuana. It is a fact in the scientific community bold enough to lead the investigation that we human beings are fundamentally wired to respond to compounds found in cannabis (marijuana). In fact, all other life forms from the sea squirt to man’s best friend share this basic system of communication between cells that traces back 500 billion years.
Cultures of mankind have know for centuries that marijuana use alters consciousness, stimulates appetite, relieves nausea, quells seizures and eases pain but up until the late 1980’s no one understood the molecular reason why.
A US funded study
at the the St. Louis School of Medicine discovered receptors in brain cells that responded to the compounds in marijuana. These cannabinoid receptors are more abundant than any others found in the large family of G-protein receptors. They are found in abundance in the areas of the brain that control movement & muscle coordination, memory and cognitive thought, appetite and emotion but not in the brain stem region that controls breathing and heart beat. (This is an important fact, click here to read why.)
The National Institute of Mental Health then discovered the DNA sequence of these brain receptors and announced their finding on July 18, 1990 to the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine.
Soon afterward, a second similar type of receptor was found to be prevalent in the immune and peripheral nervous system of the body. They were also found in our vital organs, blood vessels lymph system, endocrine glands and reproductive organs.
Researchers dubbed these two systems as CB1 (brain receptors) and CB2 (body receptors); both trigger a cascade of biological signals that put the brakes on over active nerves when exposed to the compounds in cannabis.
The Endocannabinoid System
made it’s debut in 1992 after scientists stumbled upon it while mapping the cellular
pathways of the THC found in marijuana. They paid tribute to cannabis by naming this newly found system after it. Collaborating researchers also discovered an internal naturally occurring neurotransmitter that attaches to these CB1 and CB2 receptors and named it “anandamide” (derived from the Sanskrit word for “bliss”).
This molecular signalling system is crucial for regulating how we experience life: our sleep, hunger, mood, metabolism, pain, sexual desire, etc. are all under it’s influence.
For example: The immune system detects a virus and triggers a fever to burn it out. The endocannabinoid system communicates when to turn off that immune response and turn down the heat. When this intracellular system misfires, nerves become chronically agitated and, you guessed it,
The heat goes on……. Pain keeps pounding rhythm to the brain……. (love that song!)
Watch this for a detailed explanation.
In simple terms, we have a molecular communication system that modulates how our bodies function. When there is a lack of this internally made anadamide or the system misfires, believed mainly due to chronic stress, there is a breakdown of communication between cells and our bodies are no longer able to regulate themselves in a healthy way.
Cannabinoids found in marijuana
act like a key in a lock to turn down over stimulated nerves and literally tells them to “cool it” stepping in for the anadamide when need be. Inflammatory response is inhibited and over stimulated nerves are normalized allowing the body’s cells to relax and return to normal function.
This is where marijuana research gets exciting. Scientists are paving the way for new strategies to treat a myriad of inflammatory and auto-immune diseases. When the body’s endocannabinoid communication system falters; the compounds in cannabis provide the key it needs to communicate and become healthier.
And when we are healthier, we are happier. Stoned or straight, I think that is why marijuana popularity remains in a culture once established. Many just intuitively gravitate toward it.
Peace and Prosperity,