Recently scientists have increased their interests in some brain circuitry called the endocannabinoid system. We have lots of brain circuits and each one is comprised of mainly specialized neurons and glial cells. One circuit that many community members are familiar with, because of an increased awareness in mental health, is the serotonin system. Newer anti-depressants will often attempt to alter the amount of serotonin that your brain moves throughout itself and throughout the body. The dopamine-norepinephrine-adrenaline system is one that many athletes are familiar with. A change in the dopamine system might be simultaneous with a high pressure situation or a very rewarding win. Scientists know of the existence of another system, the endocannabinoid system – so the natural question is what is its function?
One of the coolest things and one of the most challenging things about neuroscience is the fact that the circuits ‘talk’ to each other. One circuit can effect changes in another circuit through neurotransmitters. So basically you have a lot of locks and each lock has only so many keys (neurotransmitters) that will fit well enough to open the door and allow the “communication” to take place. When you open one lock it can change the form of, the amount of and the activity of the other locks within related regions, including the blueprint for the locks – the DNA.
Let’s go over one more example. Have you ever heard of the immune system? When something foreign invades your body this system turns on to protect you. The front line defenders, T- lymphocytes (white blood cells), have a whole bunch of keys on their outer membrane (cell skin). Depending on the lock-key interaction the cell knows who it needs to tell the body’s army (T-cells, Killer T-cells, macrophages) to eliminate and who they are cool with. This all happens at blazing fast speeds, perhaps 100000x times a second!
At this point you are probably wondering what the main job of a neuroscientist is. Really we want to know what each circuit in the body is responsible for. We can do this in a couple of ways: 1) we can use electrical or chemical means to force isolated neurons to dump their neurotransmitters into the synapse – the space between neurons. We then measure the resulting electrical signals in a cell or a grouping cells to see how activated a region is. 2) After using electrical or chemical means to cause the neuron to dump its neurotransmitters we measure either i) the chemicals in the synapse ii) the activation of the receptors on the receiving neuron (the “locks” or receptors). 3) We compare the resultant chemical or electrical signals from different genetic lines of a species who either have lost function of a protein or have increased function of a protein. 4) We mark proteins of interests with other proteins that light up different colors. We then use high powered microscopes to track the presence of the color within those regions of interest. Of course there are other things we do but this is neuroscience in a nut shell. The hard part is memorizing all the specific electrical and chemical techniques, the different genetic models, and the competing theories for how all the data comes together to form a coherent whole. Just imagine 1000’s of different experiments each testing one part of a million piece master system and then trying to retroengineer how that system works. Yea crazy right….
So now that you have a bit of background we can drive into some great articles that show why CBD (cannabidiol) oil is something that should be on your radar. Over the next many weeks you will see compelling evidence that CBD oil can effectively treat, if not completely ameliorate the symptoms of many debilitating diseases.
Many of the articles that I will review come straight from the US national Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health website pubmed.com. I do not ask that you trust me blindly and I encourage everyone to read for themselves the original sources but let’s be real, very few people will have the time or the knowledge base to wade through an article that was not written for the layperson. As I present information on medicines and medical techniques my goal is to educate and build up your base of knowledge. So if I cannot translate what was said into coherent everyday language then I have not done my job. DM if you have questions or comments on what has been written.
I did not include any references because this is pretty basic neuroscience. On the Blue Nyle Nutrition Fackbook page will be pictures from a power point from a teaching assistant I once had that will clarify some of the concepts discussed.
Further reading for terminology used: