Despite the ongoing research, our endocannabinoid system is still a mystery. Scientists have been trying to unravel its secrets for a long time. In fact, a few decades ago, they did not even know the role of the body's CB receptors.
In the 1990's, trying to determine the influence of THC on our bodies, scientists discovered that our brains and nervous systems had their own CB receptors. Today, many stoners know that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for numerous regulatory and immune system functions. However, there are many facts that few of us know. Even doctors can be uneducated on the matter. In 2013, a study called "Ignorance Is Not Bliss" revealed that only 13 percent of medical schools taught the ECS to their students. Fortunately, medical marijuana research is expanding every day.
This system is an important part of our bodies that has an immense influence on our health. Moreover, humans are not the only ones who have it. Mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, reptiles, and some non-vertebrates have the ECS as well. That is why research and animal trials are possible today and can give us much information on the role of the system.
One of the most interesting functions of the system is restoring the balance in our bodies. For example, during a variety of ailments, it is more active and expressive. Moreover, the system is what makes cannabis so effective for many medical conditions. When cannabinoids are ingested, the ECS builds more receptors and produces more cannabinoids of its own. This reaction is effective against inflammation and has many other therapeutic benefits. Moreover, manipulating the endocannabinoid system can not only treat the symptoms when a disease strikes you but also prevent it altogether.
It seems that our health and the ECS are interconnected. When we are sick, it helps us fight the illness, but when the system itself is weakened, it results in troubles for our bodies. According to scientists, they may include hypersensitivity regarding chronic pain and inflammatory conditions. Clinical Cannabinoid Condition by the National Institutes of Health is currently examining the "prospect that it could underlie the pathophysiology of migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other functional conditions alleviated by clinical cannabis."
The first endocannabinoid ever found was anandamide. It is the "bliss molecule" that makes people "high" without weed. About 20 percent of Americans have won the genetic lottery and have an increased amount of the element in their bodies. These people are mostly easygoing, relaxed, and less anxious. The thing is, while most of us have plenty of enzymes that break down anandamide in our system, those 20 percent produce fewer of the enzymes, which leaves more of the endocannabinoid in the brain. Anandamide is our bodies' version of THC—an uplifting and calming neurotransmitter. Unfortunately, people with this enzyme variation may become less happy after the consumption of marijuana. Though anandamide high differs from what we experience when consuming cannabis, it can still elevate our mood and make us calm and at ease.
A useful fact for those people who want to avoid the cannabis high is that hemp influences the endocannabinoid system as well. CBD found in this plant activates the ECS and provides medical benefits without causing psychoactive effects.