Since discovering the endocannabinoid system and its parts, researchers have worked to further understand how the endocannabinoid system may be used therapeutically to:
Promote general health
Prevent neurodegenerative diseases
Overall, research indicates that the endocannabinoid system helps ensure that the body’s immune and central nervous systems are running correctly. Finding ways to modulate the endocannabinoid system’s activity opens pathways to an amazingly disparate set of chronic diseases and disorders (Pacher and Kunos, 2013).
For example, evidence indicates that stimulation of cannabinoid receptors may aid in the deletion of old traumatic memories and provide clinical benefits in age-related diseases associated with brain inflammation (Ruehle et al, 2012) (Marchalant, et al., 2008). This list also includes difficult conditions like Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
There is also evidence that the endocannabinoid system may aid in the deletion of old memories (Ruehle et al, 2012). The extinction of aversive memories is important to the progress of PTSD patients and in behavior conditioning for those with chronic anxiety. By allowing patients to forget painful memories, they can reset their stress and anxiety responses to certain experiences and substitute a more positive reaction.
Appetite & Weight
Cannabis has a well-known ability to increase appetite. However, because endocannabinoids are used internally for appetite control, inverse agonists to the CB1 receptor can be used to combat obesity by shutting off the body’s desire for food (Pagotto et al, 2005). The opposite can be accomplished by stimulating appetite in those suffering from wasting syndrome and allowing them to gain weight (Kogan and Mechoulam, 2007).
Finally, endocannabinoids also regulate metabolism and help control the transfer of energy through cells, ensuring optimal use of the food we do take in.
In today’s world, it is a common reality that the natural cycle of anxiety and physical response cannot be shut off due to constant exposure to stressors. Because cannabinoids affect the body’s glandular response to continued stress to regulate and temper response, the endocannabinoid system has implications for the way in which modern humans process long term stress and other enduring anxiety triggers (Akirav).
Immune Function & Inflammation
Additionally, endocannabinoids promote proper immune function to allow for a greater overall wellness. The role they play in immune homeostasis prevents “spontaneous activation of immune cell function”, helping to prevent inflammation and possibly even resulting neurological diseases (Pandey et al, 2009).