What is the Endocannabinoid System?

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

Cannabis is one of the most exciting research topics for the 21st century. Every day, cannabis researchers learn more about how the plant interacts with our bodies and helps patients with chronic illness. While we have a lot to discover about how medical cannabis works, we know that it’s effective because it targets the endocannabinoid system. 

What is the endocannabinoid system? And how is it related to seemingly unrelated diseases, from multiple sclerosis to cancer? Let’s break down what makes medicinal cannabis so promising for researchers.

The Endocannabinoid System, Explained

The human body is a complex network of different systems that each have a specific role. The digestive system absorbs nutrients from food, the immune system protects the body against disease, etc. 

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is another system in the human body, though its role isn’t completely understood. The ECS wasn’t discovered until the 1990’s, as researchers were trying to learn more about how cannabis affects our cells. It turns out, there’s a whole bodily system that responds to cannabis!

Most researchers believe that the ECS is responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body, which is the state of internal balance organisms must maintain to survive. 

More specifically, cell receptors that are linked to the ECS respond to the cannabinoids that are found in cannabis, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These receptors communicate to their respective cells what they need to do to maintain homeostasis. ECS receptors are found throughout the human body, though they are most prominent in two places: the central nervous system and immune cells.

How Does Cannabis Affect The Endocannabinoid System?

So, how does medical cannabis work? By enhancing your body’s innate ability to maintain homeostasis. 

The ECS has two different cell receptors, though some researchers speculate there are even more. These receptors, also known as CB1 and CB2 receptors, tell their respective cells to perform various functions. The body produces certain cannabinoids that target these receptors, such as the chemicals anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol. 

However, the substances in cannabis can also target these receptors. In the brain, CB1 receptors tell certain nerve cells to signal more or less frequently. This is why cannabinoids like THC can affect your mental health, because the brain cells that undergo endocannabinoid signaling are involved with memory, emotion, and perception.

In the immune system, CB2 receptors tell immune cells if the body is undergoing inflammation. This is why cannabinoids like CBD are associated with pain and inflammation relief. 

This process is the same way in which other medicines treat the body. Painkillers target nerve cell receptors, insulin targets the receptors that tell cells to take in glucose, etc. Thus, cannabis works by amplifying the body’s natural system for maintaining homeostasis and regulating mood.

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Pros and Cons of Medical Cannabis

What are the long term effects of medical cannabis usage? Researchers are still uncovering the full body effects of cannabinoids and how they interact with the ECS. However, we know that most bodies can experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis – provided they consult a medical professional and find a dose that works for them.

When taken property, cannabinoids can:

  • Reduces pain and inflammation
  • Regulates mood 
  • Improves sleep
  • Mitigates stress
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Fights cancer cells 
  • Maintains homeostasis in the cardiovascular, skeletal, and digestive systems

For some individuals, as well as patients who take the wrong dosage, cannabinoids may:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired coordination and reaction time
  • Short-term cognitive difficulty 
  • Drowsiness and dizziness 
  • Respiratory issues, if smoked

Future of ECS Research

Cannabis is one of the most exciting research topics for the 21st century, and new studies are published every day uncovering how this plant affects the endocannabinoid system. While we still have a lot to learn, one thing is emerging from the data: cannabis is a way forward for medicine.

Enjoy a variety of dabs and products for your convenience.

We’ve got cannabis down to a science

What is a Weed Hangover?

What is a Weed Hangover?

If you’ve ever ingested more cannabinoids than you intended, you might find yourself dealing with a “weed hangover” the next morning. Overconsuming cannabis products can certainly have uncomfortable effects on the body, with some comparing the “morning after” to being hungover on alcohol.

The good news is, a weed hangover is far less serious than an alcohol-induced hangover, and in fact, weed hangovers might not even exist. Let’s explore what this side effect of cannabis consumption really is, and how to prevent one from happening.

Symptoms of a Weed Hangover

A weed hangover shares symptoms with an alcoholic hangover, though thankfully, cannabis has a much less intense effect on the body. The following are symptoms you may experience if you consume too much cannabis: 

  • Dry mouth 
  • Dehydration
  • Red, irritated eyes 
  • Fogginess
  • Drowsiness 
  • Lack of attention, focus, and/or memory 

Researchers debate how many of these symptoms are caused by cannabis, and how much are caused simply by sleep deprivation or a lack of water intake. The research on weed hangovers doesn’t examine patients who take medically prescribed cannabis, so it’s unclear how much of this is caused by THC, an active component of cannabis.

Causes of a Weed Hangover

If cannabis can have a hangover effect on the body, it’s because of THC. THC binds to certain receptors in the body that cause these hangover effects. For example, THC temporarily binds to the glands that produce saliva, which is why cannabis consumption can give you dry mouth. THC can also cause temporary cognitive impairment, especially in large doses, which explains the “foggy” hangover feeling.

Many researchers argue that a weed hangover is actually just a prolonged high. THC can remain in the body for a while, especially if you consume an edible. An alcoholic hangover occurs because your body has spent too many resources removing alcohol from your system; since the THC from cannabis is still in your system, “hangover” might not be the correct term.

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How to Cure a “Weed Hangover”

Whatever the cause of a hangover, you can minimize the effects of prolonged THC exposure in a few different ways.

Regularly drinking water will help with the dryness and dehydration, and it might help circulate the THC out of your body. Additionally, eye drops can help with red eye, and caffeine can counteract the fogginess and cognitive impairment. Finally, moving around and getting exercise can help wake your body up and move the THC out.

If you’re taking medically prescribed cannabis, you likely have too high of a dose, especially if you experience a high for longer than anticipated. Be sure to drink plenty of water before consuming medicinal cannabis, and talk with your doctor if your dose causes you any discomfort – “weed hangover” or otherwise.

We’ve got cannabis down to a science

The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana

The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana

The United States has some catching up to do when it comes to cannabis legalization. As of July 2020, only 11 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational cannabis. An additional 22 states allow some form of medicinal cannabis usage, but at the federal level, cannabis is still a Schedule I drug – preventing the nation from reaping the economic benefits of legalizing weed. 

Allowing for medicinal usage isn’t enough: fully legalizing cannabis could cause huge improvements to the health and prosperity of Americans, including those who don’t use cannabis products. Here’s how fully legalizing marijuana can change the nation for good.

The Economic Benefits of Legalizing Weed

Americans spend billions of dollars on cannabis every year, but because recreational usage is illegal in most states, both local and federal governments can’t benefit from cannabis sales. Legalizing cannabis would stimulate the American economy through the following avenues: 

Increased Tax Revenue 

Cannabis sales would directly fund public services. In Colorado, for example, taxes on all sales of legal cannabis fund the state’s education system. Since 2014, marijuana taxes have put more than $1.2b towards public schools in Colorado. Local governments could use cannabis taxes to fund other initiatives, from public goods to community revitalization. 

More Jobs 

Marijuana businesses create jobs – and lots of them. Nearly 250,000 U.S. employees work in cannabis growth, sales, and manufacturing, and many of those workers enjoy living wages. Currently, United States labor economists don’t count cannabis jobs toward data for unemployment, average wages, or GDP growth; including cannabis in job reports would give a more accurate window to the nation’s economy. 

Investment Opportunities 

Legalizing cannabis would result in a cascade of new marijuana businesses, many of which could provide long-term investment opportunities. Start-up entrepreneurs and stock market investors will likely watch for new IPOs in cannabis growth and research, further stimulating jobs and revenue in the industry. 

Savings on Police Expenses 

Police precincts across the nation spend billions of dollars annually to punish people who use or possess cannabis. Not only are important resources diverted towards prosecuting cannabis users, but it’s extremely expensive to house someone in prison, and many cannabis offenders can find themselves locked up from 6 months to 10 years. By legalizing cannabis, this money can be reinvested into local communities in more productive ways.

Additional Benefits of Legalizing Cannabis

Legalizing cannabis can profoundly benefit both the nation’s economy and the wellbeing of its residents. Ostensibly, national legalization would expand the pool of individuals who can consume medicinal cannabis. On top of increasing Americans’ access to the health benefits of cannabis, legalization would improve the country through the following:

Greater Testing Capabilities 

If cannabis were legalized, there would be much more funding for medical research on the plant. We know that cannabinoids, in certain ratios, can seriously improve a user’s health, comfort, and wellbeing. Future research would let us understand the chemical mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system, and it would help producers finetune their products. 

Better Cannabis Products

With better testing comes better products. Growers and manufacturers can improve their methods and products, allowing for cheaper production techniques and higher quality cannabis. Additionally, legalizing cannabis would allow people to purchase cannabis products from trusted retailers, rather than from local dealers – who may deal products that are laced, or of otherwise poor quality. 

Public Health 

Lastly, legalizing cannabis would greatly benefit public health, especially the health of drug addicts. Cannabis offers a potential avenue for weaning off of an opioid addiction, mitigating the withdrawal symptoms from opioids. With cannabis also used to treat individuals with cancer, epilepsy, and mental illness, public health would greatly benefit from legalizing marijuana.

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The Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana: A Summary

Legalizing cannabis would have profound benefits for the United States as a whole. U.S. citizens would be able to access the health benefits of cannabis nationwide, and these benefits would only improve with time as researchers better understand and manufacture the plant. Additionally, cannabis is a multi-billion dollar industry that could provide millions of jobs and thousands of investment opportunities. 

Clearly, there are significant social and economic benefits in legalizing weed. As the nation grows more accepting of cannabis usage, we should push both local and national leaders to consider cannabis legalization.

We’ve got cannabis down to a science

Is Cannabis Good or Bad for Mental Health

Is Cannabis Good or Bad for Mental Health

Is Cannabis Good or Bad for Anxiety?

If there’s one thing that researchers can’t agree on, it’s the effect that cannabis has on your mental health. We have a lot to learn before we understand how cannabis interacts with the brain, and although many cannabis users find that it helps control their anxiety, other users stay away from cannabis-induced paranoia. 

In truth, cannabis can affect your mental health both positively and negatively. Before we explain why this is, let’s take a look at what anxiety is, and what we know about the neuroscience of cannabis.

What is Anxiety?

In short, anxiety is a mental health disorder in which the body’s flight-or-fight response is over-reactive. An anxiety disorder can both amplify the stress you currently experience or manufacture new stressors that disrupt your ability to function. 

Anxiety presents itself through a whole family of disorders. General Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, PTSD, and OCD are all forms of dysfunctional anxiety, and while these disorders vary in degree and frequency, they make day-to-day life much harder to manage. 

Several different neurochemicals influence the development of an anxiety disorder, including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, GABA, and histamine. The relationship between these neurochemicals and cannabis is not fully understood, but a relationship does exist – resulting in cannabis’s effects on mental health.

The Relationship Between Cannabis & Anxiety

The two active chemicals in cannabis, THC and CBD, affect the body in different ways. Both of them target brain receptors associated with the flight or fight response – the physical response associated with anxiety.

CBD, the “calming” chemical of cannabis, binds to CB1 receptors in the brain that lessen the flight or fight response. Many stress relief products today rely on CBD to ease the effects of anxiety. While CBD can’t cure anxiety, it can certainly calm the body down.

THC also targets CB1 receptors, but it has a different effect on the body. Known as the “psychoactive” component of cannabis, THC has a “bi-phasic” effect on anxiety. In low doses, THC reduces anxiety; in high doses, THC can increase feelings of paranoia and unease. This is because THC can overwhelm the amygdala, which is the part of the brain associated with fear and emotion. Although people can build their tolerance to THC, it should be consumed in moderation among people with anxiety.

Enjoy a variety of dabs and products for your convenience.

Can Cannabis Treat Mental Illness?

The short answer: potentially. In some states, therapists are licensed to prescribe cannabis products to help treat anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Some researchers even argue that cannabis can cure addiction

Nonetheless, cannabis is not a standalone solution, and mental health treatment should involve the advice of a licensed therapist and/or psychiatrist. Cannabis can absolutely help people manage their day-to-day anxiety – but only with proper usage.

We’ve got cannabis down to a science