Cannabis, being regarded as an entheogenic plant and substance, has been a mystery to many for centuries. The mechanisms of the marijuana high are just one aspect among the factors that fuel curiosity about the drug. For many years, before its ban in the early half of the 20th century, cannabis became a popular component of patent medicines, as well as being regarded as a cure in its own right. Like opiates, it was both a recreational drug and pain reliever, but many more effects were attributed to it above and beyond these two well known aspects. Recently there has been an increase in research and experimental findings that prove cannabis does indeed contain hidden benefits not obvious to the casual observer.
Medical marijuana is now accessible if you have a medical marijuana card in many states, frequently prescribed to alleviate specific conditions. Now that the applicable sciences are catching up to modern standards with regard to cannabis research, we know much more than the oft-racist stereotypes and antiquated notions of ‘devils’ possessing its users. A fundamental body of knowledge is being built very quickly now with organizations such as the newly-minted Institute for Research on Cannabinoids (IROC) and focus on the specific aspects of cannabis such as cannabidiol, generally referred to as CBD.
We are learning details about cannabinoids, the compounds inherent in cannabis, and their interactions with an endocannabinoid system, a group of cannabinoid receptors, located in the mammalian brain and central and peripheral nervous system.
The endocannabinoid system, or ECS, is a signaling network composed of endocannabinoid receptors that are responsible, in part, for modulating immune functions. Several studies have been conducted and published findings on the effects of the ECS on appetite, metabolic health, obesity, pain sensation, oxidative stress, thermoregulation, eye health, mood, memory, and much more.
Experiencing the runner’s high, for example, can be explained scientifically. A factor in the feeling of having a boosted energy level is the cannabinoid receptor, which is found throughout the human body and is involved in regulating physiological processes such as memory, pain, and appetite.
The role of cannabis in the immune system may be puzzling or completely unknown to those not directly involved in its research. This dearth of knowledge about an otherwise potent drug has inevitably led some to conclusions that cannabis is a miracle cure. But if we delve into the scientific findings, we can find that cannabis plays an important part in the human body. Like other powerful natural products in the history of pharmacology such as aspirin, antibiotics, and the opium poppy, cannabis may be the source of many discoveries. However research has not been conducted as extensively as these other things, heralded as miracle cures in their day, and many mysteries still remain.
Scientists have discovered that the ECS is a immuno-cannabinoid modulation mechanism. It plays a significant part in neurogenesis and neurogeneration. In other words, it can help in suppressing certain parts of the body that are responsible in the existence of illnesses such as multiple scleroris. THC, while best known for its role in the cannabis high, is something not to be discounted by researchers either. Various phytocannabinoids, which include the compounds in agricultural hemp, are showing significant potential for optimizing and restoring balance to the immune system.
The role of cannabinoid compounds and the existence of cannabinoid receptors, the enzymes for metabolic functions, their complex cross-section and the signaling network that exists with other organ systems in the human body, will likely be more thoroughly understood by the medical community in the years to come. It will also also assist in reducing the associated social stigma and help people to be more receptive to the benefits of cannabis.
Can cannabis help in boosting the immune system?
While the prevailing body of scientific knowledge indicates that smoking marijuana can suppress the immune system, new evidence suggests that its constituent components may actually help in modulating immune cells through the functions of the cannabinoid receptors. While this is not thoroughly understood, the feelings of relief brought by the use of cannabis are well understood and accepted. Much in the same way Laudanum is no longer used, its constituent components have many uses. Now research must continue to isolate and validate the potential of the many components that make up cannabis.