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Raphael Mecholaum an Israeli organic chemist who discovered THC, and the endocannabinoid system, and has studied the marijuana plant for decades is quoted as saying: “We have just scratched the surface, I greatly regret that I don’t have another lifetime to devote to this field, for we may well discover that cannabinoids are involved in some way in all human diseases.” 

The endocannabinoid system was discovered in 1992, yet most medical schools, and nursing programs have not added it to their curriculum. Studies showing the benefits of cannabis (marijuana) on the endocannabinoid system were mostly blocked by the Federal Government.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors. The endocannabinoid system can be found in nearly any mammal with a vertebrae. The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating many key bodily processes, including: blood pressure, immunity, stress, inflammation, neurotoxicity, and digestive functions. The endocannabinoid system within the human body is a network of cell receptors that respond to key molecules found in marijuana – THC and CBD in particular. CB1 receptors are most densely concentrated in parts of the brain and central nervous system, and less densely found throughout the rest of the body. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are less densely located in the brain regions, and more concentrated in the peripheral nervous system and organs. The mapping of these receptors fits well with the diverse range of symptoms and conditions that are found to respond positively to medical marijuana. 

In addition to regulating neuronal excitability and inflammation in pain circuits, the endocannabinoid system has been shown to play a regulatory role in movement, appetite, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis modulation, immunomodulation, mood, blood pressure, bone density, tumor surveillance, neuroprotection and reproduction. The endocannabinoid system has also been shown to affect sensory perception, cardiac output, cerebral blood flow and intraocular pressure.