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To make sense of the history, you need some background on what makes up the Endocannabinoid System. That’s almost like asking, which came first – the chicken or the egg?
The History of the Endocannabinoid System. Why it’s so important.
Some of the most fascinating and confusing reading I have done in the past few weeks is digging deep into what exactly is the history of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)? Why is the Endocannabinoid System so important? How did the isolation of the THC compound in 1964 become the first stepping stone in discovering the Endocannabinoid System? If you are the average person with some green personality traits and a non-scientist like me, but are curious and even remotely open to the possibilities of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and its related compounds, I have written this article just for you.
One of the driving factors that tugged at my curiosity to learn more was this most profound statement that struck me by Dr. David Allen, MD, a retired cardiac surgeon about why the endocannabinoid system is important. In his opinion, from a video published in 2014:
The discovery of the Endocannabinoid System is the single most important medically scientific discovery, ever. And it will save more lives than the discovery and application of sterile surgical technique.”
I felt like I wanted to agree with his opinion, but I needed to know why on my own terms. Sifting through articles, watching documentaries and more interviews about the hypotheses and research based on the Endocannabinoid System, to the non-scientific person like myself, making sense of it all became somewhat overwhelming.
In my research, a few things came to light that helped clarify it for me, some “ah-ha” moments, and I will share that with you. Keeping these definitions in mind may likely help you gain a better understanding of all this information as we go through the history of the Endocannabinoid System.
What is the Endocannabinoid System – a Biology Lesson from a Non-Scientist:
To make sense of the history, you need some background on what makes up the Endocannabinoid System. That’s almost like asking, which came first – the chicken or the egg? If you already understand the biology of the ECS, skip ahead in my article for the History of the Endocannabinoid System.
At a cellular level the ECS is:
A few other Key Terms:
Moving forward from here, what you really need to understand is that we make our own (endogenous) cannabinoids. These are molecules in our body that react to the cannabinoid receptors we have throughout our body. The endogenous cannabinoid system (Endocannabinoid System) is responsible for homeostasis, which is the body’s ability to maintain itself and function in the proper, optimal environment. All animals except for insects have an endocannabinoid system.
A Quick Reference to CB1 and CB2 Receptors
The Endocannabinoid System has 2 identified cell receptors, CB1 and CB2. Understanding the endogenous and exogeneous activity of all classes of cannabinoids binding to these receptors, will perpetuate the science of using the ECS to control and regulate the health of our body through internal systems.
History of the Endocannabinoid System
1964- HC Isolation. A Ground-breaking Discovery
1988-CB1 Receptor Discovered
1990-Cloning of the rat G-protein CB1 is cloned.
1990-Major DNA Breakthrough
1992-AEA, 1st Endogenous CB Ligand Discovered
1993-CB2 Receptor Cloned
1995-2-AG, 2nd Endogenous CB Ligand Discovered
Why is the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) so important?
Researchers theorize that many diseases may be caused by a simple deficiency of endogenous cannabinoids. It’s the synergy created between the endocannabinoids and the cannabinoid receptors that create the Endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoids are not stored in the body but are synthesized by the lock & key messengers and released on demand.
Evolution has selected the endocannabinoids to maintain internal stability in a condition of optimal function and regulate numerous biological phenomena that can be found in every organized system in the body. This opens the flood gates of why the discovery of the Endocannabinoid System is so important. Scientist are researchers around the world are exploring the wide spread potential therapeutic benefits of the cannabis compounds.
I have put together a collection of opinions from Doctors and researchers from several disciplines and specialties who likely share a belief that every problem can be solved if you just keep asking the right questions. Perhaps you can relate to some of these comments and see through their passion, the potential therapeutic benefits of cannabis and it’s phytocannabinoids.
For this Gen-Xer, it may not be in my lifetime that the medical community fully learns how to manipulate the endocannabinoid system with endogenous or synthetic methods to save lives. But I am hopeful for the future health and well being of my children and grandchildren. I am hopeful scientists and doctors will help prevent, treat or cure the pathogens, like cancer, that destroy hopes, dreams and the lives of so many deserving individuals and their families.
In the United States, Cannabis was regulated as a drug in every state with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 and officially outlawed for any use (medical included) with the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970. This makes it very difficult for researchers in the USA to explore the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Multiple efforts to reschedule cannabis under the CSA have failed.
Forging ahead in the USA, the era of prohibition is over, for hemp at least. The US Hemp Roundtable was instrumental in lobbying for the legislation of the 2018 Farm Bill. Hemp is now permanently removed from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). It is forever deemed an agricultural commodity, no longer mistaken as a controlled substance, like marijuana.
Further strides are being made with declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) at the meeting of the 41st Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (EDCC), with the final outcome that CBD should not be considered a controlled substance – and its new definition now sweeps in the vast majority of hemp-derived CBD products in the marketplace.
With organizations like The U.S. Hemp Authority launching the Certified Seal of the U.S. Hemp Authority™ a united effort to promote high standards, best practices and self-regulation for the hemp industry have begun, giving confidence to consumers and law enforcement that products with this certified seal are safe, and legal.
Our health is “within” reach. In the future, I want to believe illness will be a matter of choice, not a matter of luck. It will come from the within at a cellular level. Understanding our endocannabinoid system and our micro-biome, (which is another article coming soon) will be the skeleton key to unlocking all these doors! Privately and publicly funded research is happening around the world, keep following my articles and exponential thinkers like Rapheal Mechlom and his team, along with Naveen Jain for insightful and thought-provoking discussions.
My final thought, I wonder if there are cross-over studies of the Endocannabinoid System in our microbiome, our human echo-system? Ask the right questions and….Yes, indeed I have more reading to do.
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