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The Synergy Of Cannabis Communities

Millennials & Medical Cannabis with Ashley Albizuri

More Than Just A Good Time

Millennials are more than accepting of cannabis culture but is it for the right reasons? What does it imply  for us within the cannabis industry and moving forward. Legalization is around the corner, what does that mean for us? For millennials it means big changes, making the choice to be well informed and change the stereotypes that linger on. We need to embrace and represent this magical plant as a healthy alternative for better health and wellbeing. It is not just a way to have a good time but rather a very powerful medicine that can be used for so many health conditions including mental health difficulties. Educating ourselves is our responsibility not only for ourselves but for future generations to come. Stay tuned for more!! thanks for reading ~  Ashley


The Synergy Of Our Endocannabinoid System

Who Discovered The Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever wondered why marijuana affects us the way it does? What is it that makes THC and CBD react with our bodies, healing and offering relief to the sick? What makes this plant such a diverse medicine, to treat such a large number of vastly different conditions? If you had asked this question fifty years ago, there would not have been an answer for us to find. Unfortunately, the extraction methods available in the early 1900's made it difficult to determine which one of the 80+ cannabinoids found in cannabis was the psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the effects of marijuana. It has only been in the last couple of decades that scientists have truly even begun to understand the ways cannabis works within our bodies. It all started with a scientific breakthrough in 1964, when a scientist from Israel named Raphael Mechoulam  who was able to identify and isolate THC for the first time, CBD had already been  identified. Being able to isolate these cannabinoids for the first time was the first stepping stone in discovering the endocannabinoid system, a biological system that can be found in just about any living thing. In 1988, the first cannabinoid receptor was found in the brain of a rat. Found by Allyn Howlett and William Devane these cannabinoid receptors turned out to be plentiful in the brain  more than any other neurotransmitter receptor. 1992, when the first endocannabinoid was discovered. Anandamide was the first, naturally occurring endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid. It was found by Raphael Mechoulam as well as NIMH researchers William Devane and Dr. Lumir Hanus. This is still only one of two known and relatively well-understood endocannabinoids. It attaches to the same CB receptors as THC and it was named after the Sanskrit word for bliss. 

A second endocannabinoid was identified in 1995, discovered by none other than Mechoulam’s group. This second major endocannabinoid was dubbed 2-arachidonoylglycerol or “2-AG” to keep it simple. This endocannabinoid attaches to both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Through all this we have found out that the endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining many of our normal bodily functions, everything from helping to maintain healthy bone density  to naturally preventing diabetes and that’s only the beginning. 

It is interesting to see how far we have come. Fifty years ago THC had just been identified. Now, thanks to the discovery of that one cannabinoid it has been discovered an entire molecular system within our bodies that we never knew about. Actually, the endocannabinoid system is possibly the single-most important system within our entire bodies that is responsible for maintaining homeostasis. Basically, if our endocannabinoid system is out-of-whack, (which it is for all of us) our whole body could be at risk because this system is responsible for many of our normal day to day functions. Understanding the endocannabinoid system is endless. This one system helps to regulate almost every aspect of our well-being – meaning if we can learn to manipulate these receptors (with use of cannabinoids from cannabis) we could possibly have the answer to not only curing diseases, but preventing them all together. Supplementing unbalanced naturally occurring endocannabinoids with the cannabinoids from cannabis is able to manage, relieve or control a condition (such as ALS, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s) and even cure cancer. It might be possible to use the same process to prevent such conditions in the first place?

What Does Our The Endocannabinoid System do?

Our bodies are a very complex mystery. Every day we learn more and more about how it operates and what effects different chemicals and environments will have on us. Cannabis has shown so much promise and resolve in the medical world, leading to a growing number of countries accepting it as a legitimate medicine for a wide variety of ailments.

The Endocannabinoid is a collection of cell receptors and their corresponding molecules. These receptors work like key locks on the surface of your cells. The keys to these locks are chemical molecules known as agonists. When an agonist binds to a cell it sends a message with specific directions to the cells.

The endocannabinoid system is the name of a series of cell receptors that work in correlation with a specific type of agonist. In the ECS there are two primary cell receptors, the Cannabinoid Receptor 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid Receptor 2 (CB2). These receptors respond to endocannabinoids.

Endocannabinoids are our bodies natural THC. The name endocannabinoid itself comes from cannabis. "Endo" means within, while cannabinoid refers to a compound that fits into the receptor.

The two main endocannabinoid molecules are Anandamide and 2-AG. Thanks to THC, we were able to discover the existence of Anadamide. 

Cannabinoid receptors are found though out your body, playing a huge role in proper bodily function. Cannabinoid receptors 

are found all throughout the body, giving them a wide variety of functions. However, certain receptors are more concentrated in specific regions. CB1 receptors are abundant in the central nervous system. CB2 receptors are more often found on immune cells, in the gastrointestinal tract, and in the peripheral nervous system.

The diversity of receptor locations shows just how important endocannabinoids are for day-to-day bodily function. They help regulate the following:

  • Sleep
  • Appetite, digestion hunger
  • Mood
  • Motor Control 
  • Immune Function
  • Reproduction and fertility
  • Pleasure and reward
  • Pain
  • Memory
  • Temperature regulation 

Endocannabinoids are the chemical messengers that tell your body to get these processes moving and when to stop. They help maintain optimal balance in the body, also known as homeostasis. When the ECS is disrupted, any one of these things can fall out of balance. imbalance in the ECS is thought to contribute to a wide variety of conditions, including fibromyalgia  and irritable bowel syndrome. Your body creates endocannabinoids with the help of fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are especially important for this. Recent research  in animal models has found a connection between diets low in omega-3s and mood changes caused by poor endocannabinoid regulation.

Fortunately, hemp seeds are a quality source of omgea-3s. However, fish like salmon and sardines produce a form of omega-3s that is easier for your body to put to use.

What Is It's Role In Our Bodies

Homeostasis is the concept that most biological systems are actively regulated to maintain conditions within a narrow range. Our body doesn’t want its temperature to be too hot or too cold, blood sugar levels too high or too low, and so on. Conditions need to be just right for our cells to maintain optimum performance, and exquisite mechanisms have evolved to draw them back to a balanced zone if they move out. The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vital molecular system for helping maintain homeostasis. Because of its crucial role in homeostasis, the ECS is widespread throughout the animal kingdom. Its key pieces evolved a long time ago, and the ECS can be found in all vertebrate species.

The three key components of the ECS are:

  • Cannabinoid receptors found on the surface of cells
  • Endocannabinoids, small molecules that activate cannabinoid receptors
  • Metabolic enzymes that break down endocannabinoids after they are used

Cannabinoid receptors sit on the surface of cells and “listen” to conditions outside the cell. They transmit information about changing conditions to the inside of the cell, kick starting the appropriate cellular response.

There are two major cannabinoid receptors: CB1 and CB2. These aren’t the only cannabinoid receptors, but they were the first ones discovered and remain the best studied. CB1 receptors are one of the most abundant receptor types in the brain. These are the receptors that interact with THC that result in pyscoactive high. CB2 receptors are more abundant outside of the nervous system, in places like the immune system.

Endocannabinoids are molecules that, like the plant cannabinoid THC, bind to and activate cannabinoid receptors. However, unlike THC, endocannabinoids are produced naturally by cells in the human body (“endo” means “within,” as in within the body).  

The third piece of the endocannabinoid triad includes the metabolic enzymes that quickly destroy endocannabinoids once they are used. The two big enzymes are FAAH, which breaks down anandamide, and MAGL. These enzymes ensure that endocannabinoids get used when they are needed, but not for longer than necessary. This distinguishes endocannabinoids from many other molecular signals in the body, such as hormones or classical neurotransmitters, which can persist for many seconds or minutes, or get packaged and stored for later use.

Cannabis's Entourage Effect: Why Whole Plant Medicine Matters

Take a close look at your cannabis buds. They are covered in a sticky dusting of crystal resin, that contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds known as cannabinoids and terpenoids. THC and CBD, are just two among many important players working together to produce specific effects. The interactive synergy between cannabis compounds has been named the “entourage effect,” once you know what this is and how it works, you will begin understand why medicines containing only THC or CBD are not always sufficient for many medical conditions such as cancer. “Whole plant medicine” is the term used to describe medicines utilizing the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds cannabis has to offer. 

Scientist Raphael Mechoulam has made studying marijuana his life's work and has made incredible discoveries. In 1963, he determined the structure of cannabidiol (CBD), an important component of marijuana. A year later, he became the first person to isolate delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Over the ensuing decades, Mechoulam and his team continued to isolate numerous compounds from the cannabis plant. Their work also went a long way toward illuminating how the drug works in the brain.  When Mechoulam's team identified the first known endogenous cannabinoid, a chemical actually made by the brain itself, he named it "anandamide." In the Sanskrit language, ananda means "supreme bliss," which gives us some insight into what Mechoulam thinks of cannabinoids overall.

Think of it like this, There are more than 480 natural components found within the cannabis plant, of which 66 have been classified as "cannabinoids." Those are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. There are many more

Cannabigerols (CBG)

Cannabichromenes (CBC)

Cannabidiols (CBD)

Tetrahydrocannabinols (THC)

Cannabinol (CBN) and cannabinodiol (CBDL)

Cannabinoids (such as cannabicyclol (CBL), cannabielsoin (CBE), cannabitriol (CBT) and other miscellaneous types).

Other constituents of the cannabis plant are: nitrogenous compounds (27 known), amino acids (18), proteins (3), glycoproteins (6), enzymes (2), sugars and related compounds (34), hydrocarbons (50), simple alcohols (7), aldehydes (13), ketones (13), simple acids (21), fatty acids (22), simple esters (12), lactones (1), steroids (11), terpenes (120), non-cannabinoid phenols (25), flavonoids (21), vitamins (1), pigments (2), and other elements (9).

An important point. Mechoulam, along with many others, said he believes all these components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone. Science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation. That is the entourage effect. These are chemicals unique to the plant, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiols. There are, some many more that we are now aware. 

Endocannbinoid Regulation Of Inflamation

Inflammation is a natural protective reaction the immune system has in response to infection or physical damage. The purpose of inflammation is to remove pathogens (germs) or damaged tissue. The inflamed area is produced by fluid and immune cells moving into the area to do the dirty work and return things to balance.

It’s important that inflammation be limited to the location of damage and doesn’t persist longer than needed, which can cause harm. Chronic inflammation and auto immune diseases are examples of the immune system getting activated inappropriately. When that happens, the inflammatory response lasts too long (which results in chronic inflammation) or gets directed toward healthy cells (which is known as auto-immunity).

In general, endocannabinoids seem to suppress or limit the immune system’s inflammatory signals. Professor Prakash Nagarkatti, Vice President for Research at the University of South Carolina whose laboratory studies endocannabinoid regulation of immune responses, explains how tweaking the ECS might be a good way to treat inflammatory diseases. “Most of our research demonstrates that endocannabinoids are produced upon activation of immune cells and may help regulate the immune response by acting as anti-inflammatory agents. Thus, interventions that manipulate the metabolism or production of endocannabinoids may serve as a novel treatment modality against a wide range of inflammatory disease.”

A normal immune response triggered by a bacterial infection. First, immune cells detect the presence of bacteria and release pro inflammatory molecules that tell other immune cells to come and join the fight. Endocannabinoids get released  which also signal to other immune cells for assistance and likely help limit the inflammatory response so it isn’t excessive. By tightly regulating inflammation, the immune system can destroy germs or remove damaged tissue, and then stop. This prevents excessive inflammation, allowing cells, and the body, to return to a balanced state.

How do plant cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with the Endocannabinoid System

The reason that plant cannabinoids have psychoactive and medicinal effects within the body is, in large part, because we have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that they can interact with. For example, THC gets you "high" because it activates the CB1 receptor within the brain. Endocannabinoids like anandamide also activate CB1.

So why aren’t we constantly high?

A couple big reasons. First, THC doesn’t interact with CB1 receptors in exactly the same fashion as the body’s natural endocannabinoids. Second, the metabolic enzymes that quickly break down endocannabinoids like anandamide don’t work on THC, so THC lingers around for much longer.

It’s important to remember that molecules like cannabinoids and other neurotransmitters rarely interact with only one receptor type, they often interact with many. The plant based cannabinoid CBD illustrates this nicely, as it interacts with numerous receptor types in the brain. So, while plant cannabinoids may activate the same cannabinoid receptors as endocannabinoids, they will likely interact with several other receptors and therefore have distinct effects.

CBD is also interesting because it can affect overall levels of endocannabinoids in the brain, referred to as “endocannabinoid tone.” CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme, which breaks down anandamide. Thus, CBD can increase anandamide levels by preventing FAAH from breaking it down. Inhibiting the FAAH enzyme has been shown to be a useful strategy for treating anxiety disorders, and some of CBD's anti-anxiety properties may come from its ability to inhibit this enzyme and thereby increase endocannabinoid tone.

The Synergy Of Micro-Dosing

Recreational vs Medical Use

What is Micro-Dosing

Microdosing (or micro-dosing) is a technique  through the administration of doses so low ("sub-therapeutic") they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to allow a cellular response. When it comes to medical cannabis often low doses achieve desired effects depending on the health condition. This can be achieved by a lower THC, how an individual consumes medical cannabis, strain, and the implementation of CBD. When CBD and THC are ingested with a one to one ratio, this eliminates the psychoactive high.

More and more a patients desire is to maintain themselves with low doses of cannabis daily, keeping their functionality of day to day life normal. Micro-Dosing is the most efficient way to do this. Many individuals do not want the psychoactive high that THC often gives when consumed.  

Right Strain Right Dose Right Condition Right Method

Why Are Numbers Important

Psychoactive Scale & Journals

Knowledge Is Power

Visualization Of The Endocannabinoid

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