In medical jargon, feeling ‘high’, or intoxicated, after taking cannabis, is the result of its THC content and referred to as a ‘psychoactive effect’. But THC is just one of the hundreds of Cannabinoids that naturally occur in both hemp and cannabis and some of these cannabinoids have no psychoactive effect at all (meaning they can’t get you high) but do, still, have therapeutic qualities. For instance, CBD is a cannabinoid known for its anti-inflammatory properties, but that doesn’t affect users psychologically, at all, because it only binds to receptors in your body, not your brain. One of the easiest ways to think about cannabis is as nature’s Ibuprofen, minus the negative effects on your kidneys or liver.
The interaction between cannabinoids and our body is very complex. Simply put, everyone has an endocannabinoid (ECS) system, which is like your nervous system or your digestive system, except it regulates certain body functions and processes cannabinoids. Your ECS is basically made of two different kinds of receptors, CB1 and CB2, that, essentially, ‘catch’ cannabinoids. These are the most common receptors found in humans and other mammals. CB2 receptors live in your body, where CB1 receptors live in your tissues and cells, but mostly within your brain and central nervous system (CNS). When consumed, THC binds to CB1 receptors, creating a ‘high’ feeling, but even cannabinoids that don’t bind to CB1 receptors, or deliver a ‘high’, can still have medical advantages. Everyone has different amounts of these receptors within their body, which accounts for why cannabis affects everyone differently.
Compared to CB1 receptors, CB2 receptors have a more considerable influence on the immune system and gastro tract and the results of cannabinoids binding to these receptors can lead to feelings of euphoria, altered pain sensations and reduction of panic and paranoia. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are responsible for regulating emotions, fear, movement, motivation and much more, including:
• Anxiety and depression
• Appetite and food intake
• Immune modulation
• The cardiovascular system
• Liver function and
• Fertility regulation
The ECS helps modulate CB1 and CB2 receptors, by releasing naturally occurring endocannabinoid molecules, to interact with the ECS. This can help ease problems and restore balance, when something is out of whack with any of the systems mentioned above.