Today I will be continuing with my weekly segment focused on CBD, including what it is, how it works, and the therapeutic benefits of “full spectrum” hemp oil. This series will be posted in full on my companion website CoDiscovery.com for future reference.
In 1988, 24 years after Dr. Raphael Mechoulam first isolated the THC molecule, Dr. Allyn Howlette and her colleagues at St. Louis University discovered what became known as the CB1 receptor, onto which THC attaches, and therefore how it disrupts normal functioning. She achieved this by attaching radioactive dye to synthetic THC molecules, and then tracked where they went in the body.
This research technique, then led to the discovery that there is a neuro-modulating system within the body which was previously unknown, and which works independently of our other neuro-modulating systems – such as the dopamine and serotonin systems- as well as in a synergistic fashion with some of them.
This new system was named the “endocannabinoid system,” and is made up of two unique receptors (and possibly a third) which are influenced by unique neurotransmitters called “endocannabinoids.”
The endocannabinoids represent five different compounds (and there may be others), with the two most significant being Anandamide, or AEA and 2-AG.
Additionally, the second receptor sites, called CB2 sites, were found to be primarily located within the body’s immune system as well as many other locations throughout the body – including the skin.
The purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate the flow of signals sent between cells -hence to maintain bodily system homeostasis in the face of challenges.
Endocannabinoids are made and released at postsynaptic neuron sites in response to stressors such as injury, illness, and inflammation. In this way, the endocannabinoids try to keep the body’s responses to threats balanced and not self-destructive as seen in autoimmune disorders.
Mechoulam, Howlette, and others eventually discovered that the endocannabinoid system is the most widespread receptor system in the human body, and that it is involved in:
- GI activity
-management of bone mass
-protection of neurons
-immune system effectiveness
-inhibition of growth in some tumor cells
And because most practicing health care providers today were never taught that this amazing, and critically important system even existed, most know very little about it, as well as how to optimize its functioning to better promote health and healing.
In future segments, I will be sharing more information about how you can do just that.
Paul A. Henny, DDS
Read more on CoDiscovery.com