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The Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is a homoeostatic regulatory mechanism that is present in all vertebrates, which of course includes us. Everyday we are learning more about the crucial role of this mechanism in keeping us healthy and optimally functioning . When there are deficiencies in this system, diseases occur and we have to take measures to counteract the negative consequences of this deficiency. thankfully there is a plant that can help us do this: Cannabis Sativa L.

Hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)

This amazing plant has been used for centuries by man for its multiple uses. Among others, its healing potential has been exploited by all ancient civilisations, that have found use of its curative capacities in various diseases. With the advent of technology and silence, we have now began to understand the mechanism of action of its active constituents and how the have an affect on our bodies. Due to  the unjust demonification of this singular plant and prohibitionist laws have had a negative impact on research into its full potential. We know know that with more than a thousand constituents, Cannabis sativa is a tiny living pharmacy which can help us manage the effects of various ailments. Among its most interesting and singular constituents are cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids can be divided into endogenous (made in ones body), phyto (made by plants) and synthetic (synthesized in the lab). Phytocannabinoids are produced by hemp for various ecological reasons and they also have an effect on our bodies. While the plant produces these compunds in the form of acids (THCA, CBDA, CBGA), by decarbocylating them, we get their neutral analogs (THC, CBD, CBG) that can modulate our endogenous cannabinoid system. Cannabinoids such as delta-9-tertrahydrocannabinol have an affinity to our cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2) which is similar to our endogenous cannabinoids, such as anandamide. Thisis one of the many positive effects that phytocannabinoid administration can have on treating diseases and conditions.

Diseases & Conditions

We have records of treating diseases with cannabis from Shen-Nung’s Pen Ts’ao  (c.2700 B.C.) medical encyclopaedia. He is known as the father of Chinese medicine and used cannabis female plants resin to treat  gout, rheumatism, malaria, beri-beri,  menstrual problems,constipation and absentmindedness. Since then, the list of diseases has expanded it is really difficult to find a disease where cannabis cant help, by at lest easing the symptoms. As stated by Pacher and Kunos 2013 review “….modulating endocannabinoid activity may have therapeutic potential in almost all diseases affecting humansincluding obesity/metabolic syndrome, diabetes and diabetic complications, neurodegenerative, inflammatory, cardiovascular, liver, gastrointestinal, skin diseases, pain, psychiatric disorders, cachexia, cancer, chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, among many others.”

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