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Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a very important role in your body. It helps keep everything in check and maintains homeostasis. When a noxious stimulus creates an imbalance, your cells will release endocannabinoids to activate the ECS. Once activated, the ECS will then produce its therapeutic effects to bring homeostasis back.
Endocannabinoids are only produced when the body needs it, but their widespread therapeutic effects are short-lived since they are easily degraded by proteins and enzymes. It is for this reason why cannabis can play an important role in improving your health.
When you’re sick, for example, your ECS is looking for more endocannabinoids so it can bring balance back, and cannabis can give your ECS the cannabinoids it needs to do just that.
Below are 7 ways how cannabis can improve your health.
It protects your brain.
We lose brain cells as we age or choose an unhealthy lifestyle (smoking and drugs). Brain cells are also damaged by brain injuries and diseases.
Cannabis has the ability to protect your brain. Not only does it promote neurogenesis (formation of new brain cells), but it also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can protect the brain cells from injuries.
Both research studies and anecdotal stories have shown that cannabis can benefit people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, epilepsy, seizures, brain cancer, and mental disorders like anxiety, PTSD, depression, multiple sclerosis, and autism.
It controls inflammation.
While inflammation is an important physiological process in response to stress and noxious stimulus, chronic and prolonged inflammation though does more damage than good. Chronic inflammation, as many studies have shown, is responsible for the worsening of disorders like cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, etc.
Cannabis has potent anti-inflammatory effects. It can effectively control chronic inflammation by inducing the death of hyperactive immune cells. Once they stop recruiting more cells to the area, the scavengers can start “cleaning up” the injured site, giving the tissues the time it needs to heal.
It helps maintain your ideal weight.
Overweight and obesity have been implicated in numerous medical conditions. They can lead to medical problems like diabetes, heart attack, atherosclerosis, and stroke.
Cannabis has the ability to control weight. Not only does it function as an appetite suppressant, but it also has the ability to enhance the cells’ response to insulin. This makes it easier for insulin to transport glucose into the cells, so the cells can transform it to energy. Cannabis, through this action, reduces blood sugar levels which can contribute to weight increase.
Furthermore, cannabis can also decrease the formation of new fat cells as well as boost the mitochondria’s function to burn fats.
It promotes better sleep.
Lack of sleep causes stress and worsens medical problems. After all, it is only when you’re in deep sleep that your body can start repairing and healing itself.
Cannabis promotes a more restful sleep by allowing you to stay longer in the sleep cycle phase known as deep sleep and cutting short your stay in the REM phase. REM is the phase where dreams and nightmares occur.
Because of cannabis’ effect on sleep and dreams, it has the ability to help people suffering from PTSD, nightmares, and other sleep disorders.
It provides pain relief.
Pain, especially if it’s chronic and doesn’t respond to conventional treatment, can be very debilitating. Treating chronic pain can also become quite expensive and increase your risk for complications like dependence on opioid-based drugs, gastrointestinal problems, and liver damage.
Cannabis is a very powerful analgesic. When it activates the ECS, it produces widespread analgesic effects. Furthermore, CBD, the nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, also has the ability to activate non-cannabinoid receptors responsible for pain regulation. With all these working together, chronic and intractable pain is controlled.
It keeps your stress and anxiety at bay.
Stress is normal; we deal with it every day. However, it’s how you respond to stress that matters. People suffering from anxiety disorders, for example, find it hard to deal with stress. Stress paralyzes them; it incapacitates them to the point they withdraw from people and activities they love. Too much stress, coupled with inability to deal with it properly, can lead to lack of sleep which will ultimately affect your general wellbeing.
Cannabis is known to relieve stress, anxiety, and even depression. Its activation of the endocannabinoid system, particularly the CB1 receptors, promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and generally makes you feel better.
An imbalance in the brain’s neurotransmitters has also been implicated in these mental conditions, and cannabis has the ability to normalize the neurotransmitter levels.
It can combat aging.
Aging is a normal physiological process, but stress, unhealthy lifestyle, and medical problems can speed up the process of aging.
Cannabis can help combat aging by keeping your ECS healthy. ECS, as mentioned earlier, is responsible for so many physiological responses – sleep, mood, appetite, memory, learning, and even inflammation. When your ECS is healthy, it can do its job in keeping you healthy and happy as well.
The antioxidant properties of cannabis also make your cells healthy and protect them from day-to-day stressors, which do have a negative effect on aging.
Here’s another bonus benefit from cannabis that also improves your health. Remember endocannabinoids and how their therapeutic effects are short-lived? Cannabis, or at least its CBD component, has the ability to prolong the therapeutic effects of your endocannabinoids. CBD does this by preventing the transport proteins of your endocannabinoids from bringing them closer to the enzymes that degrade them. By preventing their transport, your endocannabinoids get to stay longer in your body.
The ECS is very important to your overall health. Any ECS abnormality or problem can disrupt the way it normally functions, and likewise, any medical problem can also affect it. Cannabis improves your health by increasing the cannabinoids in your body, so the ECS can use them to maintain homeostasis.