The importance of homeostasis and how cannabis may help to play a role

Every day, our bodies are continually challenged to find (and maintain) balance [*]. 

For example, the cold of winter and the heat of summer cause your body to adapt its internal temperature to stay regulated, and after exercising, your body is asked to cool down and slow its heart rate. 

While it’s impossible to have a consistent internal landscape all the time, the process of which your body maintains balance is called homeostasis, and it’s essential for not only your health, but survival [*].

How does homeostasis work, and why is it important?

Homeostasis is a self-regulating process that helps to return key systems of your body to a specific set point necessary for optimal health [*], such as internal temperature, fluid balance, and blood glucose concentration [*]. 

Your body’s internal environment must be kept within certain limits in order to survive [*]. Homeostasis relies on the nervous system and endocrine system, as well as proteins called enzymes that increase the speed of your body’s chemical reactions. However, these enzymes only function under specific conditions, including a prefered temperature and pH level [*]. When the conditions are outside the normal range, then the enzymes are unable to function [*].

Homeostasis brings the body back into a regulated, balanced state by working with a negative feedback mechanism, which “responds when conditions change from the ideal or set point and returns conditions to this set point” [*]. In other words, “if the level of something rises, control systems reduce it again [and] if the level of something falls, control systems raise it again” [*]. When the body’s homeostasis is disrupted, it can result in pain, inflammation, and even disease [*]. 

How can cannabis potentially affect homeostasis?

The endocannabinoid system (commonly referred to as the ECS) is found in every major system in the body [*]. It is made up of cannabinoid receptors, such as CB1 and CB2 receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes [*]. CB1 receptors are mainly found in the brain and central nervous system [*], whereas CB2 receptors are mainly found in immune tissues [*]. This system helps to control digestion, metabolism, reproduction, immunity, memory, and even mood [*]. However, the ECS’s main role is to promote homeostasis in the body [*].

This is where cannabis can potentially be helpful. The plant’s cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC) bind to cannabinoid receptors, which helps to potentially mitigate the symptoms of homeostatic dysregulation, such as pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, and depression [*]. 

Interested in trying medical cannabis?

NamasteMD provides three easy steps to get your medical document -- all from the comfort of your own home. To see if you’re eligible for medical cannabis, simply create an account and then schedule an online consultation with one of our nurse practitioners. 

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