Study after study shows the benefits of medical marijuana. It eases chronic pain, reduces seizures, alleviates insomnia, and more. Cannabis’ effect on the human body is profound. How does it work, though? The marijuana biological process is surprisingly complex, which is why it has such a dramatic effect on the human body and a positive impact on a wide range of medical conditions.
Understanding Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis has hundreds of components, but the two most prominent ones are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is often associated with psychoactive side effects and the high associated with recreational marijuana use, but it has therapeutic benefits as well. CBD is beneficial when taken on its own or when combined with an appropriate ratio of THC (an experienced medical marijuana physician can help you decide on the right ratio).
These compounds interact with a system of the body called the endocannabinoid system.
Understanding the Endocannabinoid System
The cannabis effect on the human body is due to the endocannabinoid system. This system was first discovered in 1988 when Allyn Howlett and colleagues identified the presence of cannabinoid receptors in the vertebrate brain. Then, in the early 1990’s, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and colleagues discovered chemical cannabinoid neurotransmitters which bind to those receptors.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body. Homeostasis is the body’s “just right” zone. It is when your body temperature is not too high or too low, your blood sugar level is appropriate, and your hormones are balanced, and more.
When something in your body is “off,” the endocannabinoid system is activated, telling your body to take action. If your body temperature is too high, the endocannabinoid system tells your body to sweat so you can cool down. If your blood sugar is too low, your endocannabinoid system signals hunger.
The endocannabinoid system regulates:
- Motor control
- Body temperature
- Immune function
It sends your body signals through cannabinoid receptors, which are found throughout the body on the surface of cells. These receptors are CB1 and CB2:
- CB1 is found in both the peripheral nervous system (arms, legs, and internal organs) and the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). CB1 Receptors help maintain functions such as memory, stress response, motor activity, and pain perception.
- CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, gastrointestinal system, and also in the nervous system. CB2 receptors in the brain are not dispersed as densely as CB1 receptors.
The marijuana biological process happens due to the interactions between CBD, THC, and the endocannabinoid system.
CBD, THC, and the Endocannabinoid System
CBD and THC both bind to CB2 receptors, which causes the therapeutic effects associated with medical cannabis. THC also binds directly with CB1 receptors, which causes psychoactive and other side effects. CBD does not bind with CB1 receptors, but interestingly it can mitigate the effect of THC on CB1 receptors. In other words, CBD dampens the psychoactive side effects of THC, allowing medical marijuana patients to take full advantage of both compounds.
Ultimately, the endocannabinoid system is a crucial system in the body, but like any system in the body, it does not always work perfectly. Medical marijuana can help supplement the endocannabinoid system and restore your body’s homeostasis, or ideal state.
Life can be miserable when your body is out of balance. Pain and inflammation can make doing the simplest of daily tasks impossible. If you are experiencing chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, nausea, or other symptoms that are making your life difficult, medical marijuana may help, and without all the unpleasant side effects associated with prescription medications.
Florida residents can legally obtain medical marijuana by visiting a qualified medical cannabis physician, such as Dr. Daniel P. Stein at Neurology of Cannabis in Sarasota. To start the process, make an appointment and bring your medical records for review. A high-quality physician such as Dr. Stein will carefully review your medical history and current systems and make a treatment recommendation, which you can take to an authorized medical marijuana treatment center.
Although it can take time to find the best dose and treatment option, by following your doctor’s recommendation, you can find the relief you need.
Effective, Professional Treatment
Dr. Stein and his staff at Neurology of Cannabis offer medical cannabis patients a professional environment and high-quality care. Dr. Stein will work closely with you to make an appropriate treatment recommendation, and his staff will assist you in getting registered in for the Florida medical marijuana patient registry. Dr. Stein has more than 25 years of practice experience, and with his background in neurology, he has unique insights into cannabis’ effect on the human body.
You deserve to live a full life. Contact Neurology of Cannabis for an appointment to start on the path to a higher quality of life.