The discovery of the endocannabinoid system has created a debate about its conclusions on human health. Its ability to target various therapeutic agents residing in different states of the disease has piqued the interest of researchers. Some researchers suggest the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in cellular homeostasis. This could mean that the health of this system can affect the health of the whole body. Then, what is the endocannabinoid system and what is its role.
The Endocannabinoid System & What It Is Made Of
The endocannabinoid system consists of two receptors and a series of compounds that are produced internally. The two main receptors in the endocannabinoid system are CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Endocannabinoids comes from the fact that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant interact with receptors in the endocannabinoid system. There are many endocannabinoids, the most widely known and studied are;
AEAs increase in times of oxidative stress, inflammation, or cell death. Researchers believe that it can be produced in response to injury when counteracting inflammatory activity. This activity could be evidence of the role of the system in cellular homeostasis.
CB1 and CB2 receptors are found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the nervous system, while CB2 receptors are mainly found in intestinal epithelial cells and immune system cells.
The CB1 receptor mainly interacts with THC and other psychoactive compounds from the cannabis plant. This is a logical finding since the CB1 receptor is found mainly in the nervous system. This interaction of CB1 and THC receptors can cause certain changes in brain chemistry, leading to feelings of euphoria that result from using marijuana.
The CB2 receptor interacts with cannabidiol (CBD) which is the main secondary compound in marijuana. This does not mean that CBD does not interact with CB1 receptors ever, but because these interactions are quite rare they are considered unimportant. Because CBD does not have an interesting interaction with the CB1 receptor, the psychoactive effect of THC is absent.
Both cannabinoid compounds have therapeutic potential. Research has found these compounds help control chronic inflammation in conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
The use of THC in modulating deficiencies in the endocannabinoid system has been severely limited due to its psychoactive nature. Because of this, THC has been rejected in many US states, the US federal government, and in conservative countries around the world. Researchers refrain from investigating its therapeutic properties or recommending it, as alternative medicine.
Cannabinoid Research Marches On Although THC Affects
CBD contains the same therapeutic properties as THC, without any psychoactive effects. CBD is under extensive research, as a compound that can aid in various diseases and their development. This has led researchers to create synthetic compounds that mimic CBD and interact with the CB2 receptor.
The role of the endocannabinoid system in cardiovascular health and disease. Depending on the receptors involved, cardiovascular health, and activation of the endocannabinoid system can cause beneficial or contradictory effects.
The CB1 receptor has been associated with increased cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular incidence. The incidence includes heart attack, atherosclerosis (plaque inside the blood vessels), stroke, kidney dysfunction, and liver problems. Animal models and epidemiological studies have demonstrated this finding.
However, activation of the CB2 receptor of the endocannabinoid system may be a cardioprotective property. Several animal studies have shown how the use of synthetic cannabinoids interacting with the CB2 receptor may be beneficial for heart attacks. This stems from their ability to limit cell infiltration that causes inflammation by CB2 activation.