The Endocannabinoid System. Part 2
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system in 1988 is so recent that researchers, scientists and doctors have yet to catch up with all its implications for human health. Also, given the stigmatisation of cannabis and about a century of scaremongering propaganda about its dangers, even for the most forward-thinking it is difficult to put aside these deeply ingrained beliefs.
There is also an enormous raft of legislation which inhibits research and prevents scientists from being able to study cannabis and its components. Most of this stems from the United Nations 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs which defined cannabis as having no medical value. The consequence is that it is expensive and time consuming to research cannabis. In the UK, the Home Office stifles research by charging nearly £5000 for a licence which takes up to two years to pass through its administrative process. To obtain a licence researchers also have to implement security precautions which are very expensive and require tighter control to be kept on cannabis than even highly toxic substances such as heroin or cocaine.
However, low-THC cannabis, containing less than 0.2% THC is legal to grow under a licence that costs just a few hundred pounds and is much easier to obtain. Known as ‘industrial hemp’ it contains high levels of cannabidiol (CBD) which unlike THC is not a controlled drug. This is why CBD products are becoming so popular. They contain all the components of cannabis with just the level of THC restricted. This means they can act on the ECS and provide a large part of the benefit which cannabis can offer to health and wellbeing.
As we have explained elsewhere, because cannabis is so strictly controlled these CBD products are not sold as medicines but as food supplements. No claims can be made that they can treat medical problems or diseases. All we can say is that they help to maintain health and wellbeing, just like other food supplements.
Strangely, despite the terrible stigmatisation of cannabis, THC, which is the principle psychoactive ingredient, is now available as an isolated compound and is marketed as a medicine either as Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). However these have proved unpopular both with patients and doctors. Gradually, the limited amount of research that has been carried out has shown that THC works best when combined with CBD and other components of the plant. This is known as the ‘entourage effect’ and it suggest that whole plant cannabis extracts are more effective than isolated compounds.
So once again, this explains why CBD products such as the Love Hemp range are so popular and effective. They are whole plant, low-THC cannabis extracts and they work to nourish our endocannabinoid system and bring the body back into balance. Amongst all its other functions, the ECS is responsible for maintaining ‘homeostasis’ or stability and balance of all our bodily functions.