Cannabis, inflammation and immunity

Homeostasis is where our bodies are balanced and healthy. 

Our bodies are a series of interconnected systems (skeletal, central nervous system etc), and the recently discovered Endocannabinoid system (ECS). 

These systems stay in balance, or homeostasis, by utilising receptors and signalling molecules (like neurotransmitters, hormones and cytokines — immune system cells responsible for pain feelings when you are inflamed with a fever).

The primary function of the of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate inflammation throughout the body. 

We have more cannabinoid receptors in our endocannabinoid system than any other type of receptor in our body, and the largest network of receptors are everywhere  (particularly concentrated in the central nervous system and the immune system organs and tissue). 

We make cannabinoids in our bodies, called endocannabinoids; Anandamide, also referred to as the 'bliss molecule', and 2-AG, are associated with runners high, mediation and are found in breastmilk. Endocannabinoid molecules are anti-inflammatory; pain-relieving and calming.

Nature makes cannabinoids in plants, called phytocannabinoids; cacao, rosemary and cloves are examples, and there are many more. None have the cannabinoid concentration and abundance of Cannabis plant. 

When we consume phytocannabinoids, our cannabinoid receptors send messages to our cells’ nucleus, where our genes make the signalling molecules. There are over 1100 genes that make signalling molecules that naturally reduce inflammation which cannabinoids can modulate (or alter the expression of). Phytocannabinoids molecules are also anti-inflammatory.

What causes inflammation?

Environmental toxins (pesticides, heavy metals and herbicides), chronic biological infections (Bacteria, viruses, fungus, moulds), inflammatory diet. 

How does inflammation appear physiologically?

Immune inflammation: Autoimmune disease, arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, MS, acne, eczema, chronic infections

Brain inflammation: migraine, epilepsy, anxiety/stress, ADD, insomnia 

Cannabinoids send messages to our balance our bodies to up- or down-regulate inflammation.

Similarly, they act upon immune cells with the ability to both suppress and bolster immune function.  

How to choose a Cannabis oil

I have avoided using the term CBD or Cannabidiol as there are so many important compounds in the cannabis plant — not just cannabinoids but terpenes, flavonoids and trichomes too. 

When we consume the whole of the cannabis plant we enjoy the entourage effect — where the natural components of the herb work together synergistically so we get a greater benefit (than if we took a single compound, like CBD). So please choose a full-spectrum oil with a range of cannabinoids when you invest in cannabis.

I believe traditional ethanol extracted cannabis is closer to nature and more bioavailable (as fat ‘esters’ are formed) than CO2 extraction. 

Please let me know if you have any questions, 

Alexandra

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685274/

 

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