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How Does Cannabis Relate to the Human Immune System

Cannabis relates to our immune system through a system called the “Endocannabinoid System”. The “Endocannabinoid System” is a biological system which plays important roles in the immune system (human body). It is also responsible for the physical and physiological efforts of Cannabis.

Science first discovered the system while trying to understand the effects of Cannabis, and named it the “Endocannabinoid System” for this reason.

 

What are Cannabinoids

The word “cannabinoid” is the derived from the word cannabis. Cannabinoids are the chemical messages sent from the “Endocannabinoid System”. While many different cannabinoids exist they, all fall under two categories, namely Endogenous (inside) and Exogeneous (external).

Endo – means originating from inside the body. Also known as endocannabinoids, these cannabinoids are produced naturally by the human body. They interact with the cannabinoid receptors to regulate basic functions, including mood, memory, appetites, pain, sleep etc.

Exo – means from the outside of the body. The cannabinoids found in marijuana such as (THC) tetrahydrocannabinol acid, and (CBD) Cannabidiol, are considered exogeneous. When consumed they also interact with cannabinoid receptors to produce physical and phycological effects in the body.

 

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The “Endocannabinoid System” is named after the plant that led to its discovery, and is probably the most fundamental physiological system involved in establishing and maintaining the human health. The “Endocannabinoid System” together with its receptors CB1 and CB2 are found throughout the human system/body e.g., brain; organs; connective tissue; glands; immune cells. In each tissue, the cannabinoid system performs different tasks. But the goals are always the same. Homeostasis… meaning the maintenance of a stable internal environment despite fluctuations in the external environment.

For many years the science of our own physiological system has not been available to us on the public domain, what on needs to know is that all animals expect for insects have an Endogenous Cannabinoid System (ECS). It has been found that we make our own cannabinoids, and they are similar in structure to those of the cannabis plant, further, we have receptors for these molecules. This newly discovered molecular signalling system is essential for life and helps to keep us in balance as we deal with daily stress. Many studies suggest that a weak or overstressed ECS may be the underlying cause of a variety of ailments and autoimmune diseases.

Endocannabinoids are our bodies own form of cannabinoids, they are involved in most of our cells and structures, they control a variety of functions in the nervous system, heart, reproductive and immune system. Endocannabinoids massagers help the cells to communicate. Typically, they help protect our good cells while killing the bad ones, such as cancer cells.

A very basic way of looking at is like this: The body creates endocannabinoids to regulate and modulate its own system, when we introduce cannabinoid cannabis; we are effectively putting the system into healing overdrive, by increasing the amount of cannabinoid presence.

 

Cannabis Receptors (CB1 and CB2)

You may be wondering what these receptors are exactly? As their name suggests receptors are message receiving. Theses receptors use a molecular signalling system. The messages come in the form of chemical messages binding to the receptors, these messages produce a characteristic effect within the body.

Receptors

The Endocannabinoid System has two receptors CB1 and CB2. Each receptor responds to different cannabinoids, but some cannabinoids can interact with both. The distribution of CB1 and CB2 receptors within the body and brain explains why cannabinoids have certain effects.

CB1 receptors are found throughout the body but are mostly present in the brain and spinal cord. They are concentrated in the brain region associate with the behaviours they enhance.

CB1 in hypothalamus for appetite regulation. CB1 in amygdala for memory and emotional processing. CB1 in nerve endings for inflammations and pain reduction.

The CB2 receptor is expressed mainly in the immune system and in hematopoietic cells. These receptors play a role in antinociception, or the relief of pain. In the brain, they are mainly expressed by microglial cells, where their role remains unclear.

While the most likely cellular targets and executors of the CB2 receptor-mediated effects of endocannabinoids or synthetic agonists are the immune and immune-derived cells (e.g. leukocytes, various populations of T and B lymphocytes, monocytes/macrophages, dendritic cells, mast cells, microglia in the brain, Kupffer cells in the liver, astrocytes, etc.), the number of other potential cellular targets is expanding, now including endothelial and smooth muscle cells, fibroblasts of various origins, cardiomyocytes, and certain neuronal elements of the peripheral or central nervous systems.

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