Endocannabinoid System's Role in Neurodevelopment and Neurodegeneration | cannabisMD

Endocannabinoid System’s Role in Neurodevelopment and Neurodegeneration

Endocannabinoid System's Role in Neurodevelopment and Neurodegeneration

Cannabinoids such as Cannabidiol (CBD), have been found to possess neuroprotective properties. Two primary cannabinoids have been effective in treating a range of neurological conditions. These well-known cannabinoids include:

  1. Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  2. Cannabidiol (CBD)

THC and CBD are currently undergoing multiple investigations to identify their therapeutic potential. THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis sativa, is associated with hashish and marijuana. CBD, the non-psychoactive chemical, is associated more with hemp.

Here is the full scientific article if you wish to download it.

Both CBD and THC have been observed to interact with different signaling pathways in the brain. One being the dopamine pathway. The dopamine pathway is affected by cannabinoids through a system in our bodies called the endocannabinoid system (ECS or ECB system). It’s the ECS that give cannabis its ability to affect us, both recreationally and medicinally.

Cannabinoids Have Therapeutic Value

The endocannabinoid system, endogenous cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), and their receptors are present in many mammals. They’ve even been observed in early stages of development in the womb.

THC interacts with CB1 receptors. These receptors are found in the nervous system. The nervous system contains our brain and spine. CBD interacts with neither receptors. Instead, it modifies and balances a range of bodily processes through the peripheral nervous system and immune system. CBD attaches itself to immune cells with easy transport through the body. Well-known endocannabinoids (ECBS) include:

  • (N-arachidonoylethanolamine: AEA)Anandamide
  • (2-AG) 2-arachidonoylglycerol

Endocannabinoid System as a Target for Treating Neurological Disorders

Recently, research has indicated that the ECS plays a massive role in brain development and neuronal development. The ECS has also been suggested to have a massive role in neurodegenerative syndromes. Neurodegenerative syndromes suspected to be linked to the ECS include:

  • Alzheimer’s syndrome
  • Parkinson’s disorder
  • Huntington’s syndrome
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • And many more

As previously mentioned the ECS has been seen to interact with the dopamine system. When dopamine levels in the brain are dysregulated or struggling to produce signals, many of the more well known degenerative disorders arise. Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease are two of these dopamine related illnesses. Huntington’s disease is being studied for its link to the ECS.

Our brain is the most complex organ in our body. We are animated through neurological networks. Networks we are only beginning to understand. Research on the ECS has proven fruitful in this ongoing mission. Prohibition stigmatized the plant and dispelled it from medical practice. As medicine advances, cannabinoids are again being medically acknowledged. They are being acknowledged for their ability to offer the body homeostasis and to balance an array of bodily functions.

Jonathan Neilly

Registered with the British Psychological Society, breaking the taboo on mental health issues is one of the driving forces in Jonathan's life. His background in biomedicine gives him additional understanding of the factors that work together to influence the human condition.

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