The 1964 discovery and isolation of cannabinoids in marijuana, the therapeutically active components that provide relief for a wide variety of diseases and conditions, has led to research about the endogenous cannabinoid, or endocannabinoid, system in humans.
It turns out that humans produce their own cannabinoids, chemicals responsible for homeostasis (including fighting off diseases) in a variety of organs and systems of the body. In 1992, the first endocannabinoid, Anandamide, was discovered in a laboratory in Israel. Although knowledge of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids is still relatively shallow, especially compared to other systems of the human body, much has been learned in the 23 years since endocannabinoids were first identified.
Cannabinoids from marijuana, called phytocannabinoids, simply imitate endocannabinoids, plugging into the same receptors in the brain and throughout the nervous and immune systems. Other herbs, like echinacea, also contain non-psychoactive cannabinoids that may play a healing role in the human body (especially in concert with other cannabinoids and terpenes).
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