Have you ever wondered why we get “high” when using cannabis? Sure, it's the THC but what is the science behind getting stoned?
Every single vertebrate on the planet has a endocannabinoid system, or system of receptors in the body that specifically interact with both the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and natural endocannabinoids our bodies make themselves.
You heard right--our bodies have a unique system designed to interact with cannabinoids! Plus, our bodies make their own version called endocannabinoids.
Similar to the biological systems in our body that create and receive dopamine and serotonin, the endocannabinoid system helps maintain “balance” in the body. The system affects everything from motor coordination to temperature regulation and the immune system. It works by cannabinoids like THC, CBD and the naturally-produced Anandamide binding to a series of receptors throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. This creates the feeling of being high or intoxicated as well as all the medicinal benefits.
Once we understand the endocannabinoid system and how much it affects in the body, it's hard to deny that cannabis is a medicine. It can also help us make better decisions about our health and be advocates and educators for a plant that can truly benefit us all.
I am a not a doctor or a medical professional and because of that I encourage everyone to read more about the endocannabinoid system and how cannabis and hemp-derived cannabinoids interact with it.
Here are some helpful places to start:
What Is the Endocannabinoid System and What Is Its Role? | Leafly
The Science of the Endocannabinoid System: How THC Affects the Brain and the Body | Scholastic: Nida
Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System (Video)
Written by: Abigail Larsen
image from terravidahc.com