Cannabis certainly has an effect on the human body. Every cell seems to respond to the vast array of compounds it contains. How is it possible that this natural plant can have such a wide-reaching effect on a myriad of conditions?

The answer to this question lies in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) of the human body. This system is a central piece of the puzzle that unlocks human health. Understanding what this system is, what it does, and how it interacts with cannabis is crucial for gaining a strong comprehension of how this plant can both alleviate and prevent symptoms and certain diseases.

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system of the human body is its most integral system for maintaining health through homeostasis. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the human body, including in the brain, immune cells, connective tissues, glands, and organs.

Scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how the endocannabinoid system works, but they do know it plays an important role in regulating the following.

  • Sleep
  • Reproduction and fertility
  • Appetite
  • Mood
  • Memory

Many people are surprised to learn the endocannabinoid system in their bodies is always at work, even if they never consume cannabis. Understanding how the ECS works is important for those who are considering using cannabis in any form.

How does the ECS work?

Before you can understand how the endocannabinoid system works, it is important to know the three components that make up the system. They are as follows.

  • Endocannabinoids
  • Receptors
  • Enzymes

Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids are similar to cannabinoids, but they are made by the human body. They are produced by the body as needed. Two endocannabinoids have been discovered so far.

  • Anandamide (AEA)
  • 2-Arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

 

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Endocannabinoid receptors

The human body is full of endocannabinoid receptors. Endocannabinoids bind with the receptors, initiating action by the ECS. There are two main types of endocannabinoid receptors, which are CB1 and CB2.

Endocannabinoids can bind with either type of receptor, and the one they bind with will determine the effect. The effect is also determined by the area of the body where the binding of the receptor takes place.

Enzymes

Enzymes are an integral part of the endocannabinoid system. Once the endocannabinoids have carried out their function, enzymes break them down, so they can be disposed of by the body.

Two main enzymes are a part of the ECS. Hydrolase is a fatty acid that breaks down AEA, and lipase, which is a monoacylglycerol acid, breaks down 2-AG. The ECS is a complicated system, and scientists have yet to discover all its functions and exactly how it works in the human body.

Cannabis and endocannabinoid receptors

Two main cannabinoids bind with the endocannabinoid receptors in the body. The first is THC. Most have heard about THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) because it is the cannabinoid that makes you high.

THC is the most powerful cannabinoid in cannabis because it can bind with both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Because it is so powerful and can bind with both types of receptors, THC can create multiple effects in the body.

CBD (Cannabidiol) is the other cannabinoid found in cannabis. CBD does not make a person high. Although scientists are still researching to find out how CBD interacts with the endocannabinoid system of the body, they do know it does not bind to the receptors in the same way as THC.

Instead, it is thought to work on preventing the body from breaking down endocannabinoids. There is also some evidence to suggest CBD may even bind to a different receptor that has not yet been discovered.

Now that you have a better understanding of how the endocannabinoid system in the body works, it is important to learn what cannabis does and how it has helped some people with medical conditions.

How does cannabis help with health conditions?

Although there are countless prescription and over-the-counter medications available to help people cope with a myriad of symptoms, many of these cause unwanted side effects that make taking them difficult. When individuals cannot take their medications because of the side effects, their health often suffers. While certainly not meant as medical advice, there are natural alternatives, like cannabis, which some people use to assist in their recovery. While much research is needed, cannabis is often used by individuals to address the following conditions.

Memory and Learning

As people grow older, it is assumed losing one’s memory is a part of the aging process, but it does not have to happen that way. In a recent study conducted on mice, it was discovered that the THC in cannabis may be used to protect against mental degradation.

Through this study, scientists discovered there were clear changes in the hippocampus part of the brain after the mice were exposed to THC for twenty-eight days. They discovered the genes responsible for longevity were activated, while the genes for cognitive decline were turned down.

Appetite Regulation

Many studies have been conducted regarding the correlation between cannabis and appetite regulation. These studies have often been carried out to help counteract the decreases in appetite that are often experienced in chemo patients.

It has been confirmed that endocannabinoids react with the CB1 receptors. Medical scientists are now working to discover how cannabis may help cancer patients eat normally and avoid losing weight due to a lessened appetite.

Core Temperature Regulation

Studies have indicated that cannabis consumption could help regulate body temperature since some compounds in cannabis may act as homeostatic agents.

Cannabinoids also interact with the vanilloid receptor family, which relate to the perception of heat and pain.

Immune System

Cannabis may affect how the immune system works. The cannabinoids in cannabis have an immunomodulatory effect, which means they can interrupt communications between immune cells.

Cannabis may affect the immune response, depending on how it is delivered and the type. Studies have shown the immune system is changed while interacting with the cannabinoids in cannabis.

Sleep

When insomnia strikes, a lack of sleep can negatively affect the entire body, preventing it from functioning normally. Many studies are being conducted on the effects of cannabis and the sleep cycle.

Users of cannabis may end up sleeping longer and more deeply. Deeper sleep means waking with more energy and an improved mood, which is important for people of all ages.

Female Reproduction

Female infertility is more common than many people realize, with about 10% of the population facing difficulties in becoming pregnant.

As further research is carried out, scientists are learning more and more about how CBD can help females experience conception and healthy pregnancies.

Conclusion

As research continues on the endocannabinoid system of the human body, it will be interesting to see how cannabis treatments begin to evolve and become a stronger part of traditional medicinal practices.

It is clear that the ECS is integral for the health of the body. Without it, homeostasis is less likely to be maintained. Because the human body is full of endocannabinoid receptors, it seems cannabis is a natural fit for helping improve body function, protecting against diseases, and even treating certain conditions.

With further research, it is hoped medical scientists will have a clearer understanding of how cannabis can be used as a stand-alone or complementary treatment in mainstream medicine. Cannabis can help with a variety of conditions in the human body and is showing greater promise with each new study.


Disclaimer – Information is provided for educational purposes. It does not, and is not intended to,    constitute legal advice or reliable statements of the status of any laws. We attempt to be accurate and up to date but the legality of cannabinoids is evolving. The author is not a lawyer or a legal expert. You should check with your local authorities before buying or using any products.

 

References

Raypole, C. (2019, May 17). A Simple Guide to the Endocannabinoid System. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system

NORML. 2021. Introduction to the Endocannabinoid System – NORML. [online] Available at: https://norml.org/marijuana/library/recent-medical-marijuana-research/introduction-to-the-endocannabinoid-system/.

Endocannabinoid System  [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannabinoid_system

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between CBD and THC?

CBD and THC are both naturally-occurring cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. They have the exact same molecular structure, and a slight difference in how some of the the atoms are arranged makes the difference. THC is the main psychoactive component of the plant that can make people feel high. CBD is not psychoactive and it’s used for its own benefits, without intoxication.

How does CBD make you feel?

High CBD, low THC cannabis can produce a range of effects from clear-headed alertness & energy to calm & relaxation.

The strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: the dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience level with cannabis products.

Will CBD products show up in a drug test?

There is a risk of failing a drug test. It depends on the type of CBD product one is using.

Drug tests for marijuana generally identify THC or its metabolites. Although tests do not screen for CBD, full spectrum CBD products contain low quantities of THC that can make a person fail a drug test. If you anticipate taking a drug test, we suggest checking with your employer or test administrator for clarity prior to taking full spectrum CBD products.

 

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Triploid Genetics in Hemp Flowers?

Cross-pollination destroys a cannabis or hemp crop rapidly. Biomass farmers find they lose 50 percent of usable material and their average cannabinoid content decreases by 30 percent when crop pollination occurs. Farmers in the trimmed flower business suffer a total loss if pollination takes place. To prevent pollination from ruining crops, scientists at Oregon CBD recently introduced seedless cannabis varieties known as non-GMO triploid cannabis varieties. Advanced ploidy screening makes these sterile male plants possible.

Today, hemp flowers benefit from triploid genetics, so growers no longer need to worry about cross-pollination. This allows growers to plant different strains next to each other without worry of problems developing because of pollination. Individuals living in states where cannabis products remain prohibited benefit from this innovation, as they can get CBD products with ease and remain within the law. Hemp production can increase thanks to triploid genetics, allowing for more products to make it to the market.

Hemp Breeding Programs

Hemp breeding programs continue to make advancements. Triploid hemp plants allow for 20 to 40 percent more production and vigor when compared to their diploid siblings. Standard cannabis plants grown in the wild are diploid plants. They get a set of chromosomes from each parent. In rare situations, spontaneous mutations occur. These mutations lead to the diploid genomes doubling, bringing about tetraploid plants. Scientists have been able to reproduce this natural phenomenon in the lab and use this to create triploids.

What are the benefits of triploids? How are triploids created? What led to the process that creates the triploids? These questions and more are queries hemp breeders and anyone interested in this topic may ask.

What are Triploids?

Triploids serve as sterile hemp plants. They don’t get the seed and therefore cannot be impregnated by pollen. This allows growers to plant whatever they want in the space they have without worry that cross-pollination will destroy their crop. Furthermore, the triploid plants produce at a higher rate. They save the buds and produce fewer leaves and flowers. As a result, growers find they increase the number of sellable products they harvest.

Furthermore, the triploid plants contain no seeds. When manufacturers use plants with seeds, it negatively affects the finished product. In the past, consumers found they had to accept a substandard finished product because nothing else was available. That’s no longer the case. With male sterile plants, producers eliminate the need to deal with seeds and find the flower mass of the plants increases by 30 percent.

How Did Scientists Accomplish This?

Brendan Rojas and Dr. Hsuan Chen serve as research plant breeders at Oregon CBD, a company also responsible for innovative strains with CBG. They conducted experiments using diploid cannabis tissue to see where they could make changes with the breeding process. They treated this tissue with compounds shown to inhibit cell division. The process they used is like rare, naturally occurring tetraploid-inducing events, but allows these events to take place more consistently.

Once they treated the plants, the researchers screened them using a flow cytometer. This device measures the plant genome’s physical size, and the researchers could then compare the size of the treated plants to those of the plant’s diploid counterparts. They wish to see if the genome size doubled and found that it did. The treated plants served as an identical version of the mother, but doubled. Each plant had four sets of homologous chromosomes. To ensure future generations didn’t revert to the diploid state, the scientists repeated the screening process multiple times.

The team at Oregon CBD isn’t the only group researching the plants. Mansouri and Bagheri in 2017 and Parsons in 2019 looked at tetraploid cannabis plants and got similar results. They found the plants underwent distinct morphological changes while consuming more nutrients. However, the chemical composition remained the same in terms of the ratios and total amounts produced. They found the aromatic compounds increased significantly. Nevertheless, tetraploids provide very little in terms of performance increases, other than in the olfactory area. However, the process used has led to advances in hemp and cannabis breeding along with breeding processes used for many other crops.

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Triploids and Hemp Production

If tetraploids offer few benefits other than in terms of the aroma, why are many people declaring a breakthrough in hemp farming? The creation of triploids offers major benefits for those in this industry. Farmers find that crossing tetraploids with diploids results in seeds with two sets of chromosomes from the tetraploid and one copy from the diploid. This improves many crops and hemp is no exception.

Farmers find the plants created from crossing the tetraploid with the diploid leads to plants that have no seeds, ones that are ideal for essential oil production, and plants with increased biomass. These ploidy improvements will change the way hemp breeders operate in the future.

Identifying Triploids

Scientists and growers find they can identify diploids, tetraploids, triploids, and more with the help of a decent microscope. They examine the size and shape of the stomata to do so. For instance, tetraploids feature stomata that are bigger yet not as round. In fact, the easiest way to identify a tetraploid appears to be by looking at the shape of the stomata. This becomes of great help to those who wish to breed hemp.

The Benefits of Triploids

Triploids offer many benefits. Growers needn’t worry about flowers being seeded by rogue pollen or nearby plants. Male plants no longer need to be removed from the crop to prevent pollination, and triploids come with more terpenes. Growers see a 30 to 50 percent increase in the terpene content, along with additional olfactory compounds.

Triploid plants remain hyper-efficient thanks to the greater copy number of key genes. With these plants, growers see a boost in the amount of high-value propyl cannabinoids. In addition, they come in autoflower varieties, which growers are certain to appreciate.

Triploid genetics is the future. Hemp growers and breeders remain very excited about this advancement. However, consumers won’t be able to benefit from it yet. They are new for the 2021 growing season. As a result, the smokable flower lineup won’t be available until the end of the year. This gives people something to look forward to in the coming months. They will be here before you know it.

 

https://www.sunnylandkansas.com/post/tips-for-sourcing-feminized-hemp-seeds-cbd-cbg

https://therealdirt.com/episodes/the-science-breeding-triploid-cannabis/

https://www.shapingfire.com/podcast-feed/episode-66-cannabis-triploid-genetics-sterile-and-thriving-with-guest-seth-crawford

https://cbweed.com/en/what-is-cannabis-polyploidy-the-future-of-genetic-selection/

https://growersnetwork.org/cultivation/improving-yields-via-genetics/#3

 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know how much is the correct dosage?

While our products have a suggested dosage listed on each package, the strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: the dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience level with cannabis products.

High CBD, low THC cannabis can produce a range of effects from clear-headed alertness & energy to calm & relaxation.

Generally speaking, it is recommended that you start with the lowest dose and gradually increase it until you reach satisfactory results. Consult your healthcare provider with specific questions about using any therapeutic products.

Do I get high off of CBD? 

High CBD, low THC cannabis can produce a range of effects from clear-headed alertness & energy to calm & relaxation. CBD is not psychoactive.

The strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: the dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience level with cannabis products.

All of our products are federally-compliant, ie. hemp derived and containing less than .3% Delta-9 THC per dry weight.

How does CBD make you feel?

High CBD, low THC cannabis can produce a range of effects from clear-headed alertness & energy to calm & relaxation.

The strength of the effects on a particular person will be different depending on a few things: the dosage level, body weight, food or other substances in the system, personal body chemistry, and experience level with cannabis products.

Will CBD products show up in a drug test?

There is a risk of failing a drug test. It depends on the type of CBD product one is using.

Drug tests for marijuana generally identify THC or its metabolites. Although tests do not screen for CBD, full spectrum CBD products contain low quantities of THC that can make a person fail a drug test. If you anticipate taking a drug test, we suggest checking with your employer or test administrator for clarity prior to taking full spectrum CBD products.

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