Cindy Perlin, LCSW
Marijuana contains a class of compounds called cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are also made by our bodies (called endocannabinoids when they are made by the body) and they work with a network in our body called the endocannabinoid system. (ECS)
Cannabinoids bind to receptors that are found on cell surfaces to have their effect. The receptors which make up the ECS are found throughout the body, including in the brain, organs, bones, and skin. The function of the ECS is to help the body to maintain homeostasis or balance.
When our brain cells get overexcited, as they do with anxiety or seizure disorders or chronic pain, the ECS brings them back into balance. When the inflammatory response, which brings extra blood supply and nutrients to injured tissue, has done its job, it is the ECS which shuts it down. After the immune system has eliminated a threat, it is the ECS that turns it off. When there is a failure to perform these homeostatic functions, many chronic illnesses can result.
When we don’t have enough endocannabinoids, we are said to have an endocannabinoid deficiency. Many medical researchers now believe that illnesses such as irritable bowel disorder, fibromyalgia, and seizure disorders are caused by this deficiency.
Using marijuana supplements our body’s supply of cannabinoids and as a result, helps relieve many diverse symptoms and conditions.
Cindy Perlin is a licensed clinical social worker, certified biofeedback practitioner, chronic pain survivor and the author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain-Free.