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Endocannabinoid system

The prefix "endo" is the abbreviation for "endogenous" and means "originating from the organism" or "produced by the organism" - whereby "organism" also includes cells and tissue!
"Cannabinoids" are the group of compounds that activate the corresponding system in the body, i.e. our body produces cannabinoids itself.
One of the big questions about the effects of cannabis on the human body was at least partially answered in 1992. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered by a team of researchers from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH, Bethesda, Maryland/USA) led by William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus in collaboration with the Israeli scientist Raphael Mechoulam.
To understand what the ECS is, we need to realize that our brain consists of different groups of cells that communicate chemically and electrically with each other.
Messenger substances (neurotransmitters) dock onto receptors and pass on information or instructions.
Today we know a large number of these substances.
To date, around 100 neurotransmitters are known, but there are probably several thousand.
Based on their chemical structure, they can be divided into groups: amino acids, peptides and monoamines. They can also be divided according to their function. A distinction can be made between "excitatory" and "inhibitory" neurotransmitters, whereby some neurotransmitters can even be both.
The ECS is part of our nervous system and includes the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2.
This means that there are already receptors, i.e. receivers, for cannabinoids (the active ingredients in cannabis) in our body, precisely because our body also produces cannabinoids itself, the endocannabinoids.
Not much is yet known about the functional significance of the endocannabinoid system, but the distribution of the receptors already indicates a number of possible functions.
The CB2 receptor is thought to play an important role in regulating the immune system. Since the brain regions in which the CB1 receptor is predominantly found play an important role in memory (hippocampus and cerebellum) and movement regulation (basal ganglia and cerebellum), it is reasonable to assume that endocannabinoids influence learning and movement processes.
Current research results show that the CB1 receptor may be necessary for the extinction of negative memories. Endocannabinoids could therefore play an important role in anxiety disorders!
A study by the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry on mice without CB1 receptors showed that unlearning negative experiences is significantly more difficult. Other physiological processes in which the endocannabinoid system is involved include pain, sleep induction, appetite and temperature control, neuroprotection and cancer. When you look at this list, it suddenly becomes clear why cannabis has been used medicinally for at least 7,500 years!
And if you still doubt how infinitely useful cannabis is for Parkinson's disease, please watch the relevant documentary (also on YouTube). Back in the early 1990s, BEFORE the ECS was known, it was a standard treatment to advise HIV-infected people to use cannabis for loss of appetite, with good results.
The same was true for conditions undergoing chemotherapy. It is interesting to note in this context that CB1 is known to stimulate appetite (cannabis users know this as "cravings"). A drug designed to curb appetite in overweight people while blocking CB1 receptors (trade name RIMONABANT) had devastating effects: Those affected suffered from panic attacks, nightmares and anxiety disorders of all kinds. The drug was therefore withdrawn from the market. This shows how important cannabis is for us.
It is now assumed that endocannabinoids control essential bodily functions and patterns.
Ethan Russo, a cannabis researcher and member of various international organizations, believes that low cannabinoid levels could be the cause of numerous diseases.
This deficiency potentially causes serious conditions related to the endocannabinoid system, such as chronic pain or fibromyalgia.
The counterpart to endocannabinoids are exogenous cannabinoids such as THC or CBD. These enter the body when cannabis is ingested and remain there for a long time. They activate the endocannabinoid system (ECS) more strongly than the endogenous/physical cannabinoids.

Research has shown that the cannabinoid THC binds to both receptors (CB1 and CB2) and activates them in the same way as an endocannabinoid.
The effects of THC are generally considered to be psychological, but this substance causes much more than just a high. THC has been shown to help with chronic pain, nausea, loss of appetite, asthma and glaucoma (especially brain tumors). THC has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of cancer.

CBD does not bind to receptors, but acts as an inhibitor of the enzyme FAAH.
This slows down or prevents the breakdown of anandamide - possibly one of the most important endocannabinoids in the body.
The result is an accumulation of anandamide in the brain. While we know that THC has an overtly psychological effect on the mind, CBD is thought to work on a physiological level - that is, it has effects on the body. It has the following effects on serious illnesses - Inhibition of tumor growth - Relief or prevention of inflammation and nausea - Beneficial effects in the treatment of diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, epilepsy, cardiovascular disease, psychosis and anxiety disorders - Relief of pain associated with muscle spasms or neuropathic pain (nerve pain) And we already have all this inside us, it can be activated externally and heal us.

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