mainstream facts



If someone has been recommended medical marijuana, then a physician has authorized its use for the relief of one or more of the following symptoms associates with a variety of disorders, which may not have responded to conventional treatments: cancer; glaucoma; positive status for the human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome; Parkinson’s disease; multiple sclerosis; damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity; epilepsy; cachexia; wasting syndrome; Crohn’s disease; and post-traumatic stress disorder.


The principal active ingredient in Cannabis, THC, acts on very specific targets found in the body, known as cannabinoid receptors (CB1, CB2, and now the discovery of CB#).  Cannabinoid receptors are part of a larger family of protein receptors known as G-protein-coupled receptors (GCPR), that sense molecules outside the cell, and activate inside signal transduction pathways, and ultimately, cellular responses.  The human brain has more cannabinoid receptors than any other type of GPCR.  GPCRs are involved in many diseases, and are the target of approximately 40% of all modern medicinal drugs.  These specific receptors are so important, in fact, that at least 8 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scientists for their work in understanding how these receptors function.


The CB1 and CB2 receptors are the main receptor sites for the body’s endocannabinoid system, and interact will all currently identified cannabinoids in some way.  A scientific understanding of these receptor points and how the 70+ cannabinoids interact with them and with each other is crucial to the future of using cannabis as medicine.


CB1 receptors are found primarily in the brain, more specifically, in the basal ganglia and in the limbic system, to include the hippocampus.  They are also found in the cerebellum, and in both male and female reproductive systems.  However, CB1 receptors are absent from the medulla oblongata, the portion of the brain stem responsible for respiratory and cardiovascular functions, which means an individual will not ever stop breathing from the intake of marijuana.


The portions of the brain where these receptors are located monitor motor functions, procedural learning, routine behaviors, cognition, emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, olfaction, the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory and special navigation, language, attention, regulating fear and pleasure responses, coordination and accurate timing.


CB2 receptors are predominantly found in the immune system, or immune-derived cells with the greatest density in the spleen.  CB2 receptors appear to be responsible for anti-inflammatory, and possibly other therapeutic effects.  The immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease.  Disorders of the immune system can result in autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer.  Cannabis works within what is called a complement system, or a biological cascade that uptakes the cannabinoids, and causes a healing cellular transaction, inhibiting the inflammation and immunodeficiency.