If you already know about the various health benefits of cannabis and how the plant helps in the treatment of certain medical conditions and symptoms, then you may already be very familiar with the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
The ECS is our body’s second-largest neurotransmitting system. It is responsible for maintaining balance or homeostasis by regulating physiological and cognitive functions, including mood, appetite, hormones, pain response, immunity, and memory.
The ECS is a network of neurotransmitters and cannabinoid receptors found on cell surfaces. These receptors interact with the cannabinoids produced inside the body and they are also the ones that interact with the cannabinoids that enter the body when we consume cannabis.
But do you know that most medical schools don’t cover the ECS in their curriculum?
Dr. David Allen, a cardiologist, did a preliminary survey in 2013 to determine which schools discuss the ECS with their students. He found out that only 13 percent of medicals schools in the United States even mention it in their lessons.
This leads to the question of how will future doctors understand how and why medical cannabis treats seizures, arthritis, chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, nausea, and a long list of other symptoms and conditions.
According to an article on Huffington Post by Dr. David Bearman, the federal government actively discourages the discussion on ECS, including its neuroanatomy and neurophysiology.
The government, Dr. Bearman wrote, has been active in its efforts to falsely debunk the medical applications of cannabis and cannabinoids. This despite the Department of Health and Human Services having a patent on CBD. He also noted in his article that the U.S has known that cannabis kills cancer cells since 1974.
Dr. Bearman illustrated his point by citing the University of California at Los Angeles research that proved the link between smoking pot and lung cancer. The study, conducted by pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin, proved the opposite.
The feds, however, were purportedly dismayed by Tashkin’s findings.
Tashkin’s team, according to Bearman, involved more than 1,200 cancer patients from the Los Angeles County Cancer Registry. The control group was composed of 1,040 cancer-free individuals that were matched for gender, age, and neighborhood. The use of pot was measured in joint years, which is the number of years one smoked pot times the number of joints consumed per day. The study found that increased use of pot via smoking did not result in higher rates of pharyngeal and lung cancer. In fact, people who smoked marijuana had a lower risk of getting these types of cancer than those who did not smoke at all.
Cigarette smokers, on the other hand, were found to be at a greater risk of developing the ailment the more they smoked. Cigarette smokers who also smoked pot, surprisingly, were at a slightly lower risk of getting lung cancer compared to those who exclusively smoked tobacco.
Bearman said that the federal government has been very quiet about the findings of Tashkin’s study. He even went as far as to say that the feds undermined Tashkin’s credibility, seizing on a much smaller study in New Zealand instead of publicizing Tashkin’s findings.
According to Bearman, this NZ study had exactly similar findings as Tashkin’s except for a handful of very heavy pot users. The government, he said, seized on this statistically insignificant outlier and said that the NZ study contradicted Tashkin’s. Bearman contended that they misrepresented and misread the NZ study’s findings.
BBC News, as a result, summed up the NZ study’s findings as: “Heavy cannabis users are at greater risk of cancer and other chronic lung diseases compared to cigarette smokers.
Bearman ended his article by urging people to have science dictate policy and not federal officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions.