We all know that humans cannot survive long without food to eat, water to drink, or oxygen to breathe. According to LiveScience.com, we can remember the time limit of human survival without these necessities, by remembering the “Rule of Threes”:
“You can live 3 minutes without air, though we don’t recommend trying. In a harsh environment — it’s snowing, say — you have 3 hours to survive without shelter. After 3 days, you need water or you’ll perish. You can make it 3 weeks without food, though we promise you that won’t be fun.”
There are various elements and nutrients we need to both survive and live healthy lives on this planet, and also many protective measures we must take for optimum health and vitality. If it comes down to it, we’re resilient enough to survive some pretty difficult situations. And certainly, no one would ever want to try and live 3 days without water or 3 weeks without food.
But there is one essential element in particular that many live without, and some even go an entire lifetime, never even experiencing the benefits that this compound has to offer. The cannabis sativa plant is made up of at least 85 different cannabinoids, which are grouped into several major categories, such as CBD, CBC, CBG, and THC. Anyone who knows anything about cannabis knows that THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive component that causes the neurological effect that most refer to as “getting high.” However, the many other important cannabinoids also produce therapeutic effects, and have been helping to exonerate the cannabis plant of its prolonged and unjustified inclusion on the schedule of controlled substances.
One great resource for cannabis information of all kinds is a site called Leafly, which has a great explanation of What makes cannabis medicine? It says:
“When cannabis is consumed, cannabinoids bind to receptor sites throughout our brain (receptors called CB-1) and body (CB-2). Different cannabinoids have different effects depending on which receptors they bind to. For example, THC binds to receptors in the brain whereas CBN (cannabinol) has a strong affinity for CB-2 receptors located throughout the body. By aiming the right cannabinoid at the right receptors, different types of relief are achievable.”
The interesting thing about the various cannabinoid receptor sites that exist in the brain and all throughout the body is that they all collectively form what we now know to be the endogenous cannabinoid (or endocannabinoid) system. The word endogenous refers to the fact that this regulatory system originates from within us, which means that the inner workings of the human body rely on cannabinoids to function properly.
Anyone who knows anything about anatomy knows that we have a central nervous system, immune system, endocrine system, and digestive system, just to know a few. Even if one knows nothing else of human anatomy and biology, most understand that these systems need to remain balanced, in order for the body to maintain a state of health and homeostasis. For our wellness and survival, we absolutely need to be able to achieve this inner balance in order to fight off disease and stay healthy in the midst of environmental change.
In recent decades, as more and more people continue to take control of their own wellness and medical marijuana has finally been opened for use and research as medicine, the endocannabinoid system has become a focus of pharmacotherapy, according to a very detailed 2008 study published in Pharmacological Reviews:
“More importantly, modulating the activity of the endocannabinoid system turned out to hold therapeutic promise in a wide range of disparate diseases and pathological conditions, ranging from mood and anxiety disorders, movement disorders such as Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease, neuropathic pain, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury, to cancer, atherosclerosis, myocardial infarction, stroke, hypertension, glaucoma, obesity/metabolic syndrome, and osteoporosis, to name just a few.”
The fact that cannabis can treat such a broad range of illness and disease is a testament to the important interplay between the endocannabinoid system and the cannabinoids that are present in cannabis sativa. The increasing use of medical marijuana for treating various ailments has helped us to grow our understanding of the importance of disease-fighting cannabinoids and their role in maintaining the endocannabinoid system. However, many decades of cannabis prohibition has lead to extreme deleterious effects on our overall health, and has put humans at odds with this life-sustaining plant that we’ve relied on for centuries.
We have literally been duped into believing a plant that has healing properties and helps the endogenous cannabinoid system achieve homeostasis, is actually dangerous and harmful. The idea that some might benefit from medical marijuana, and the legalization of it in many states for this purpose, has helped us to start tuning these false ideas and injustices around. There is still much work to be done before this plant, and the human race is truly free to be healthy, balanced, and sane.