• Joan Rothchild Hardin

The Body’s Endocannabinoid System


THE BODY’S BUILT-IN ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM Cannabis as medicine is not a new concept. Its medicinal use dates back thousands of years – at least 1,000 years BCE in India and 5,000 years BCE in China. Before its prohibition in the West, major pharmaceutical companies offered a wide variety of cannabis-based medicines, with 1840 to 1937 being the “golden age” for cannabis medicine. (Leonard-Johnson & Rappoport, 2014) What IS new is the 1992 discovery that mammalian bodies come with a built in endocannabinoid system (ECS) composed of endogenous neuro-modulatory lipids and cannabinoid receptors located in our brains and in cell membranes located throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The ECS system is involved in a variety of important physiological processes – including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory, and in mediating the psychoactive effects of cannabis. (Leonard-Johnson & Rappoport, 2014) & (Wikipedia, 2016) “Also discovered was that the cannabis plant is loaded with phytocannabinoids (plant cannabinoids) that can stimulate the ECS receptor sites of this system. It is this combined discovery that is leading cannabis, in all forms, back into the limelight again as a viable medicine.” (Leonard-Johnson & Rappoport, 2014)