Why Cannabis Works for Pain
The Endocannabinoid System
Each of us has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), just like a nervous system and a digestive system. It’s involved in many bodily processes, including pain-sensation. Some medical conditions affect the proper functioning of the ECS, leading to pain. The ECS naturally produces chemicals similar to those in cannabis. These chemicals pass messages between the brain and body parts through neurons and receptors.
The Cannabinoids in Cannabis
The cannabinoids in cannabis supplement the cannabinoids normally produced by the ECS. They bind to pain receptors and alleviate the pain signals sent to the brain. THC (delta-9tetrahydrocannabinol) causes the psychoactive effects or “high” felt from cannabis. It helps with symptoms such as inflammation and pain, insomnia, and nausea and vomiting. CBD (cannabidiol) has almost no psychoactive effect. It helps with inflammation and seizures and acts as an antidepressant, working on similar receptors to medications that act on serotonin receptors.
Neuron Receptors Cannabinoids The dots are the locations in the body where cannabinoids act on the ECS.