What have plants got to teach our endocannabinoid systems?
Humans and animals are equipped with the ability to run away from predators and situations of great danger. It’s easy for a fast moving alligator to seek out a tasty lunch, something smaller and less mobile usually does the trick. However, it’s not the same for plants which have had to develop their own, fixed location, protection systems. Some plants protect themselves by unpleasant scents and some by hostile substances, to thwart their ‘higher up the food chain’ predators.
Plants are not the only ones with helpful systems running in the background, humans have them too. That we are actually endowed with two endocannabinoid systems is a surprise to most of us. There’s one in the nervous system and one in the immune system, both bearing testimony to alignment with plants which don’t normally harm us but often heal us. That’s not just the casual opinion of those who have been ‘smoking something’, nor of those promoting anything other than very cautious plant use. But, there is a sound science underpinning plant based medicinal cannabis – as controlled doses of cannabis sativa were first approved in Canada more than a decade ago for treatment of multiple sclerosis. More recently, there have been successful Phase 3 trials of medicinal cannabis for treatment of childhood onset epilepsy. Such breakthrough evidence is clearly taking root across North America.
What was once illegal in the US is now increasingly recognised as medicinally beneficial, having been legalised in 29 States. What if the best of Big Pharma (accurate dose control, wholescale distribution and market saturating education) is used alongside the best that Nature has to offer? Just as willow bark is the basis of (Centuries old) aspirin so it would seem that other plants are aspiring to treat us too. What’s the saying? “there is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come”.