There is a lot of buzz around the topic of cannabis and the various medicines and
products made from the cannabis plant. Along with cannabis being a hot topic and
being the star of an incredibly fast-growing new industry, scientific studies and
research of the Endocannabinoid System have been growing in popularity. As the
interest in cannabis has increased more and more, people want to understand the
relationship between cannabis and our Endocannabinoid System.
It has been taught that there are 11 primary organ systems in the human body.
These systems include the respiratory, digestive, endocrine, exocrine, sensory,
renal, nervous, reproductive, cardiovascular, muscular/skeletal, and
lymphatic/immune systems. What scientists have been discovering, starting about
25 years ago, is that there is another major system in our bodies. This is the
Endocannabinoid System. All mammals have an Endocannabinoid System.
It was Dr. L.A. Matsuda of the National Institutes of Mental Health’s Laboratory of
Cell Biology who was credited with being the first person to discover both the
structure and functional expression of the CB1 cannabinoid receptor – one of the
two major CBD receptors known to exist. Following Dr. Matsuda’s discovery, other
scientists looked closer and found a complex network of cannabinoid receptors
(CBr) throughout the central and peripheral nervous system. Later, other
cannabinoid receptors were discovered – including cannabinoid receptor type 2
(CB-2), which is found in the immune system, digestive system, and several major
“Cannabinoid receptors are present throughout the body, embedded in cell
membranes, and are believed to be more numerous than any other receptor system.
When cannabinoid receptors are stimulated, a variety of physiologic processes
ensue. Researchers have identified two cannabinoid receptors: CB1, predominantly
present in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; and
CB2, predominantly found in the immune system and its associated structures.
Many tissues contain both CB1 and CB2 receptors, each linked to a different action.
Researchers speculate there may be a third cannabinoid receptor waiting to be
discovered.” ~ Dr. Dustin Sulak
The Bliss Chemical
The first cannabinoid-like chemical that was discovered is called Anandamide.
Anandamide interacts with various receptors – modulating both the central or
peripheral nervous system. Anandamide has been called the “bliss chemical” or the
“feel-good chemical.” The word Ananda means bliss in Sanskrit. Anandamide has
the most receptors in our brains. It plays a critical role in helping to maintain a
healthy central nervous system.
The Endocannabinoid System helps promote homeostasis, which influences most of
our bodily functions such as sleep, appetite, pain response, inflammation, memory,
mood, and reproduction. Many scientists are now suspecting that the root of many
illnesses and diseases may very well be caused by block or deficiency in the
Endocannabinoid System. Regular and prolonged exercise is said to stimulate the
Endocannabinoid System and help release more Andandamide – helping to promote
A Healthy Endocannabinoid System
As we read all of this it becomes clear that the Endocannabinoid System plays a
very crucial role in our physical health, as well as our mental and emotional
well-being. How do we make sure that keep this system operating at optimal function
and prevent Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
As I mentioned earlier, exercise helps to stimulate the Endocannabinoid System.
Diet also can help. Fish, hemp, and flax oils all are excellent foods for helping
activate and maintain a healthy Endocannabinoid System. Cacao, the main
ingredient in chocolate, is another excellent food source.
Additionally, research is showing us that small, regular doses of naturally occurring
cannabinoids from hemp, such as CBD oil, might act as a tonic to this vital system.
A History of Healing
Although cannabis and hemp have suffered persecution, misinformation, and
prohibition; there was a time that both marijuana and hemp were considered highly
nutritious and medicinal plants. Medicines made from these cannabis plants were
used for thousands of years to help treat ailments such as pain, digestive troubles,
epilepsy, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, depression, cataracts, cancer, and much
Thankfully, the reintroduction and remembrance of cannabis as a nutritional and
medicinal plant is now taking place all over the world. With the discovery and the
research of the Endocannabinoid System and its very important role in human
health, the beliefs and comforts in regards to cannabis as a medicine are quickly
changing. We are now seeing more people aware of and using the potent medicinal
oil made from the marijuana plant. This oil which is often referred to as FECO (full
extract cannabis oil) has proven to be a powerful healing tool for numerous cancer
patients, as well as for pain management, and a variety of illnesses and disorders.
As more countries and more states within the United States, begin to legalize the
medical and recreational use of cannabis, this allows more people access to the
healing potential of this plant medicine.
Cannabidiol, aka CBD
The discovery of cannabidiol (CBD) and the many positive effects it has on human
function and health has been creating an incredible interest in the study and
research of both cannabis-derived medicines and our incredible Endocannabinoid
System. The fact that CBD oils are derived from the non-psychoactive hemp plant
allows for more people to be open to the reintroduction of hemp as an important
crop that provides many useful resources, including the medicinal oil – CBD.
We still have a ways to go with helping cannabis become more widely accepted and
acknowledged as a very valuable plant for human health. Yet there are many
changes taking place in the perceptions of the people when it comes to cannabis.
The more people who find relief with cannabis-derived medicines, such as CBD, the
more these products become in demand. That demand and growth in interest have
helped fuel the motivation for more understanding, more research, and more clarity
as to how the Endocannabinoid System works in our bodies, and how these plant
medicines are necessary for our health, well-being, and our longevity.
This post is brought to you by: Zahrah Sita
Zahrah Sita is a passionate health enthusiast who has chosen to dedicate her professional career to helping people achieve healing and empowerment in their lives.
Zahrah is professionally trained in several modalities of the healing arts, which includes Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Herbalism, Nutrition and Dietary Therapies, Holistic Detoxification, Neurofeedback, and Life Coaching.
Zahrah has been passionate about holistic health and natural living for much of her adult life. A series of health issues in her early 20’s led her away from a career in the performing arts to learn more about caring for and healing her body. She faced a number of serious health issues, all of which she was able to heal using natural and holistic approaches. Zahrah has healed herself of severe ovarian cysts, chronic fatigue, allergies, a range of metabolic and autoimmune issues, as well as cancer.
In 2005, along with her two children, Zahrah moved to Costa Rica and resided there until 2018. While living in Costa Rica, she had the opportunity to apprentice with master herbalists and many indigenous healers from Central and South America. While living in Costa Rica,
she helped create two holistic healing centers, managed a permaculture education center, was a contributing writer for The Costa Rica News, founded and directed a small business that offered herbal extracts and medicinal mushrooms formulas, co-founded and ran an internship program dedicated to healing and empowerment, and managed a very active spiritual healing retreat center.
Zahrah is currently living in the US, yet keeps close ties to Costa Rica. She works in a Functional Medicine clinic providing Neurofeedback services, as well as offers her services as a Health Coach and Consultant via her website – www.zahrahsita.com. Zahrah also helps organize healing retreats a few times each year, leads a holistic Full Body Cleanse program, continues to provide Acupuncture and Shiatsu, and is a contributing writer to several blogs and publications.