Your body naturally produces cannabinoids, known as endocannabinoids, which support a variety of body functions, such as your sleep patterns, emotions, movements, and appetite. The system within your body is known as the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoids play a vital role in keeping you healthy and providing internal stability, or homeostasis.
Essentially, the naturally occurring chemicals in your body facilitate cell communication. Problems with your endocannabinoids can manifest in the form of physical problems and other issues due to the imbalance in your body.
Cannabinoids interact with receptors throughout the body, including the immune system and the central nervous system. The body has two types of receptors: CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system and CB2 receptors in the immune system. The cannabinoids in marijuana mimic the natural compounds in your body, binding to receptors inside the body. This binding process is the reason you feel the physical effects of using marijuana, such as feeling relaxed, feeling buzzed or having a slower reaction time.
Different types of cannabinoids tend to bind with receptors in different locations in the body. This is part of the reason certain cannabinoids have particular effects. For example, THC, which is responsible for causing a high, binds well with receptors in the brain. This helps amplify that high feeling.
When you smoke or vape marijuana, the cannabinoids go directly into your lungs quickly and then immediately on to the heart, which gets the cannabinoids to the brain quickly. In the brain, the cannabinoids lock on to the receptors, which initiates the buzzed feeling. The timeframe from first smoking marijuana to it reaching the brain and beginning the effects takes about 2.5 minutes.
When ingesting an edible containing cannabis, the process takes longer for THC to take full effect. It can take from 30 minutes to 2 hours to feel the effects. However, once the marijuana kicks in, the effects are much more intense than other forms of using marijuana.
The different cannabinoids in cannabis affect the receptors differently, depending on the specific cannabinoid and the location in the body. The foundation of medicinal marijuana is targeting the type of cannabinoids to specific receptors in the body for maximum effect on a particular problem. Marijuana manufactured as medicine includes a larger amount of specific cannabinoids to treat particular symptoms. Understanding the effects of cannabinoids helps with the specific treatment course when you use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Common Benefits of Cannabinoids
Pain relief: Many cannabinoids offer an analgesic effect, making marijuana popular for people who suffer from chronic pain. The cannabinoids can be an effective way to control pain, and the pain relief comes with additional benefits, which may also improve a medical condition that causes pain. The pain relief from marijuana can be an option when other types of pain relief don’t work.
- Anti-inflammatory: Inflammation is associated with many modern medical problems, including Crohn’s disease. By reducing inflammation in the body, cannabinoids can provide medicinal effects on those conditions.
- Antibacterial: Many compounds in marijuana offer an antibacterial effect, with some working effectively on infections that are often resistant to antibiotics, such as staph infections. This offers individuals who are dealing with an infection another treatment course. Some cannabinoids also offer anti-fungal properties for additional uses.
Appetite stimulant: Having the munchies is often a source of jokes when it comes to marijuana, but it serves as a powerful benefit in certain cases. For people who need to gain weight or increase appetite, marijuana can be a helpful tool.
Sedative: Another group of people who benefit from the effects of some cannabinoids is those who have sleep issues. Some of the compounds in cannabis have a sedative effect that can help you fall asleep. Insomnia can have a major impact on life, so an effective sedative option is a huge benefit for people who have difficulty sleeping.
- Nerve and brain cell protection: Many cannabinoids show the potential for protecting nerves and brain cells. In some cases, cannabinoids may help grow new brain cells.
- Antitumor effects: Certain cannabinoids appear to slow or reduce tumor growth, a huge benefit for people facing a cancer diagnosis. This potential benefit gives cancer patients another potential tool in fighting the tumors. Another positive effect for cancer patients helps with vomiting and nausea often associated with chemotherapy.
Convulsions, Spasms or Epilepsy
Antispasmodic: Marijuana is often used to treat disorders that cause convulsions or spasms, such as epilepsy. Certain cannabinoids seem to have an antispasmodic effect, which helps reduce or eliminate seizures caused by epilepsy. This can drastically improve the lives of people affected by epilepsy, especially those who have frequent seizures. Using medical marijuana can help those people live a more normal life.
- Antioxidant: Cannabis seems to have an antioxidant effect on the body, thanks to certain cannabinoids. Antioxidants help fight free radicals that can cause damage within the body.
- Reduce intraocular pressure: Glaucoma patients turn to marijuana for the reduction in intraocular pressure caused by some cannabinoids. This can have medicinal benefits for glaucoma.
- Antidepressant: While THC can trigger anxiety or paranoia in some individuals, many other cannabinoids are known for their antidepressant qualities. Marijuana can help improve and balance your mood. For people with depression, cannabinoids may provide help for depression.
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