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The Endocannabinoid System 101

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By MICHAEL PATTERSON

In 1902, Thomas Edison said, "There were never so many able, active minds at work on the problems of disease as now, and all their discoveries are tending toward the simple truth that you can't improve on nature." Eastern medicine of China, India, and Tibet have known this for thousands of years. However, western medicine has been much slower in integrating nature's medicines into our health care system.

Now that medical marijuana (MMJ) continues to gain popularity as a legal medicine, currently legal in 33 states including Florida, there is a push in America to move towards more natural based medicines. Furthermore, with United States citizens 65 years or older now taking 13 prescription medications per day on average, they are tired of taking more and more pills with numerous side effects that do not make them feel better.

As cannabis usage increases for medicinal purposes, there are still many physicians who question if cannabis has any factual basis to help the body, other that getting "high". With the discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by Dr. L.A. Matsuda in the 1990s, we have a basis to validate the ability of the human body to use cannabis and hemp-based CBD, which contain cannabinoids, to assist the body in maintaining homeostatic wellness.

Wikipedia defines the endocannabinoid system (ECS) as a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and cannabinoid receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central nervous system (including the brain) and peripheral nervous system.

We know through research that the ECS is involved in regulating many physiological and cognitive processes such as fertility, pregnancy, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and memory. Some of the other areas of the ECS that have been discovered over the last 25 years are as follows:

  • All animals have an endocannabinoid system (invertebrates and vertebrates)
  • The ECS has been found to play a role in many diseases. Due to having ECS receptors throughout the body, the ECS can affect many disease states, therefore validating the ability to MMJ and hemp-based CBD to benefit multiple physical ailments.
  • Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome may be a root cause in many diseases. More research is pinpointing the lack of cannabinoids as a precursor to many diseases that affect all of us.
  • Endocannabinoid receptors are the most abundant neuromodulator receptors in the body.
  • Exercise has also been shown to boost the body's natural cannabinoids. Scientists have found that prolonged aerobic exercise increases levels of anandamide, the "feel good" endocannabinoid.

With decreasing restrictions to conduct research on cannabis and hemp-based CBD, more and more high-quality research on the ECS, cannabis, and hemp will be made available to physicians all over Florida and the United States. However, due to the ideology of cannabis and hemp-based CBD as being bad for people and society, the mass adoption of cannabis as a medicine will take time. Physicians who will educate themselves on the benefits of the ECS, cannabis, and hemp-based CBD, will have the ability to provide an alternative treatment to patients who have not responded to traditional prescription-based medicines.

Michael C. Patterson, founder and CEO of U.S. Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research & Development of Melbourne, is a consultant for the development of the medical marijuana industry nationwide and in Florida. He serves as a consultant to Gerson Lehrman Group, New York and helps educate GLG partners on specific investment strategies and public policy regarding Medical Marijuana in the U.S. and Internationally. He can be reached at mpatterson@uscprd.com



 
 
 
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