By: Alexis K. Phillips
The human body naturally produces cannabinoids (or chemical compounds) called endocannabinoids that exist within the brain, muscle, and circulatory system. When the body is out of balance, the cannabinoid receptors (mainly CB1 in the central nervous system and CB2 in the nerve endings) bind to the cannabinoids to regulate the problem. Endocannabinoids maintain homeostasis and control the endocrine system by managing the following: appetite, digestion, sleep, pain, inflammation, mood, adrenals, pituitary gland, learning, memory, and reproduction.
The cannabis plant is made up of over 100 different cannabinoids, with the most prominent being tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is psychoactive and known to create euphoria and sedation effects, whereas CBD reduces inflammation and helps with seizures. As THC and CBD react with the body’s cannabinoid receptors, neurotransmitters are released to send messages between cells.
Combined, both cannabinoids found in marijuana have a wide range of therapeutic benefits beyond the naturally occurring endocannabinoids, treating various conditions such as: posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), epilepsy, anxiety, opioid addiction, pain, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and cancer symptoms, Tourette Syndrome, sleep problems, nausea, and more.