Your anatomy is made up of billions of cells, tissues, and dozens of organs and systems; the nervous system is what’s responsible for all your responses, the circulatory system is what keeps your blood flowing, and many other systems also having special functions. But have you ever heard of your Endocannabinoid System? The word sounds familiar with cannabis, also known as marijuana — and it does. But why does such a system exist, and what does it even do? Short answer: a lot. Whether you’ve ever taken a blunt or not, well, without a healthy endocannabinoid system, you’d be in a world of hurt.
Related media: THC vs CBD: What’s In Your Weed?
Do You Wanna Take A Bliss?
You’re forgiven if you had no idea about the endocannabinoid system. It wasn’t considered as an “official” system in the human anatomy until the late 1990s. Several decades ago, scientists were intrigued by the molecular structure of marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it’s main active ingredient. They didn’t even think the human body had special receptors for it. The first cannabinoid receptor, known as CB1, was discovered in 1988; and the second, CB2, was in 1993. This kept scientists wondering: Why were we having receptors of a substance that’s only made by one kind of plant. And why is it possible that the human anatomy made substances that THC just happened to mimic.
It turns out that answer is certainly yes, and so far so good, there are over 80 endocannabinoids known — that is, cannabinoids produced within the human anatomy — and 32 cannabinoid receptors that can bind to them. (They also bind to the many, many exocannabinoids made by cannabis and other plants.) Think of cannabinoid receptors as locks, both endocannabinoids and exocannabinoids will act as keys. If a particular key fits a particular lock, then the two bind together, and magic happens.
Let’s Now Get High
The combination of these receptors and the substance is what makes up your endocannabinoid system, which deals with the basic “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect” functions in the body, Dr. Vicenzo Di Marzo, a biochemist, explains. For instance, one of the most famous endocannabinoids is anandamide, named after the Sanskrit word for “bliss.” Anandamide does all sorts of things, depending on the amount present in your body. Have you gotten high yet?
“When you have changing levels of [anandamide], you have effects in your mood, your metabolism, and your inflammatory response,” says Jennifer Corso, a biochemical physiologist and led scientist for Darwin Brands, a cutting-edge cannabis company. “If your body produces too much, you can have memory impairment. If you have too little, you can lower your metabolism.”
Even the sensation you feel by doing regular activities are also the result of endocannabinoids in your system. For instance, the famous “runner’s high,” is as a result of the flood of endocannabinoids. And the same thing is experienced as the “flow state” when you’re meditating, painting, or doing any other activity that makes time seem to stand still. But most popular exocannabinoids — that is, cannabinoids not produced by the human anatomy — includes THC and CBD, these are the main constituents of marijuana.
“CBD and THC both have potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic, or pain-relieving, properties,” Corso says.
Many other cannabinoids are inactive on their own but when combined with other compounds, they become extremely powerful. It’s a phenomenon known as the “entourage effect.” And as a matter of fact, this is what makes marijuana such a potential trigger of the endocannabinoid system: It contains more than 140 exocannabinoids, and around 100 terpenes — the extract of medicinal qualities found in plants. (A good example of a terpene is linalool, found in over 200 plants and sought for it’s calming effects). Each of these compounds work together to create a greater effect than they would on their own.
Call Me The Ganja Farmer
Now, having the knowledge that there are so many cannabinoids and terpenes present in marijuana, and does a whole lot of different things in your body, you’d wonder if aside nature, could there be any particular formulas to achieve similar effects. That’s exactly what Darwin Brands does. They produce vapes, gummies, and edibles. For instance, one of their most popular vapes, known as Cloud Nine, includes a mix of terpenes that has the ability to relax, reduce anxiety, and boost mood. Another product known as Engage + THCV contains a proprietary blend of 12 terpenes which were selected for their focus and memory boosting effects.
The company’s products are designed in the range of its effects called series: The Origin Series has the lowest dose of THC, its designed cannabis newbies who want to start small, microdosing. The Evolution Series has quite a higher dose, its designed for those who are comfortable with marijuana’s effects. The Voyager Series is the highest potency, “for the connoisseur,”as James George, founder of Darwin Brands puts it.
“All our edibles are made from scratch with premium ingredients,” George says. “All our products, including vapes, are very accurately dosed and formulated for consistency … we’re really coming at it from a progressive, scientific approach, to instill confidence and credibility in this rapidly evolving category. I believe our namesake would be proud.”
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Tue, Feb 19, 2019.