Your body works tirelessly to maintain internal harmony, even when you are unaware of it. Your body’s homeostatic processes are always at work, ensuring your survival and normal function in response to stimuli like going for a run or becoming sick. The potential of medical canabis to correct homoeostasis disruptions is of great interest to researchers.
Homeostasis is one of those biological terms that most people haven’t heard since high school biology. It is an attempt by the body’s built-in system to maintain equilibrium. Homeostatic systems keep our bodies from going into extremes in response to external stimuli like heat or physical activity. Read on to find out what homoeostasis is and whether or not Medical Canabis may affect it.
Homeostasis: What Is It?
This process of maintaining a steady internal environment is known in the scientific community as homoeostasis. It is any self-regulating mechanism by which biological systems seek to retain stability while responding to conditions that are best for life, according to the Encyclopdia Britannica. Without disease or infection to contend with, our bodies are able to keep systems like blood sugar management, potassium and calcium balance, immune system activity, and hydration running well when we sleep. Infection, physical activity, hunger, and high temperatures all present challenges, though.
The Role of Homeostasis
An organised effort is required. In our bodies, billions of cells work together to form a wide variety of structures (not to mention the trillions of commensal bacteria that call your body home).
We need constant communication to keep all of these organs and tissues in sync and running well enough to keep us alive. A coordinated effort between hormone secretion and electrical signalling plays a key role in keeping the body within homeostatic limits. The endocrine system, which consists of several glands and organs, secretes a mixture of hormones that serve crucial functions in maintaining internal equilibrium. Both the brain and the rest of the nervous system can fire out messages to different parts of the body extremely quickly, which aids in the body’s ability to monitor, react, and regulate itself. The maintenance of homoeostasis relies on feedback loops formed by the endocrine and neurological systems.
When the body needs to keep things balanced, it employs feedback loops to do it. The term “feedback loop” can refer to either a positive or negative cycle. The stimulus, sensor, controller, and effector make up the four basic phases of positive feedback loops. If we take the process of maintaining internal body temperature as an example, we can describe it as follows:
Why it happens: When your body temperature rises above 37 degrees Celsius, you have a fever. In response to an increase in internal body temperature, nerve cells in the skin and the brain trigger an alarm. In charge of maintaining a comfortable internal environment, the hypothalamus acts as a thermostat for the entire body.
The hypothalamus acts as an effector, setting off hormonal cascades that cause blood vessels to dilate and body temperature to rise, resulting in greater perspiration. When the body cools down enough, it reaches its ideal homeostatic temperature and the process stops.
Positive feedback loops amplify an original input, whereas negative feedback loops seek to counteract it. These mechanisms accomplish their goals by carrying out a procedure to its conclusion, rather than reestablishing equilibrium. The constant release of oxytocin during labour contractions is one example of a positive feedback loop, as is the nursing of infants, which drives even more milk production.
The Homeostatic Response to Illness
Some of the ailments that afflicted our forefathers have been eradicated thanks to scientific research. However, a number of ailments that were uncommon in the past have emerged as a result of contemporary conveniences like sitting about all day and eating meals heavy in sugar and fat. Some examples are: type 2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, atherosclerosis, autoimmune disease (when the body’s immune system attacks itself), and mental health problems.
Some immunobiology experts assert that these diseases have two things in common: they are caused by dysregulated homeostatic processes and they are linked to persistent inflammation. Inflammation is a defence mechanism that is utilised to prevent further damage or infection, but it may quickly get out of hand and create a wide range of health problems. Physiological processes can be shifted outside of their homeostatic zones by environmental factors such as nutrition. Consider the link between a sweet tooth and metabolic dysfunction caused by consuming too much sugar.
Homeostasis and Medical Marijuana Treatment
Medical canabis and its components are being tested against a wide variety of illness types in ongoing research. Cannabinoids, a class of medicinal cannabis metabolites, are of great interest to scientists. The human endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the master regulator of the body, and these substances can affect it. Given its capacity to control homoeostasis across a wide variety of physiological systems, including bone remodelling, neurotransmitter firing, skin function, and even mood, the ECS is deserving of its high profile.
There are three essential components to this system: the signalling molecules called endocannabinoids, the receptors that attach to them, and the enzymes that produce and degrade them.
Cannabinoids found in medical canabis have a molecular structure very similar to those made naturally by the human body. This implies they can exert effect on our universal regulator because they can bind to ECS receptors as well. Medical marijuana’s components can “hack” the central regulatory system in a sense. The extent to which these chemicals affect human physiology, however, is still being studied.
Homeostasis and THC
You are familiar with THC. Raw flowers contain THCA, a form of this cannabinoid that does not provide intoxicating effects. After being heated, the molecule changes into THC, a substance that may attach to certain ECS receptors in the brain and provide the classic marijuana high.
Researchers are interested in determining if THC can affect homoeostasis across various systems since it binds to the two primary receptors of the ECS. THC’s effects on apoptosis and endocannabinoid homoeostasis in human placentas are being studied by scientists. These studies are being conducted by researchers in Portugal. The phrase refers to a highly regulated procedure that determines the specifics of how cells are destroyed. As a result of its role in regulating cell death, apoptosis is essential for maintaining normal cell populations. The failure of the apoptotic system contributes to the unchecked proliferation of cells seen in diseases like cancer. Multiple investigations are now investigating the potential of THC to positively affect cellular homoeostasis and cause apoptosis in various forms of cancer.
CBD and Maintaining a Balanced Body
Can this cannabinoid positively affect the endocannabinoid system and cellular homoeostasis? Similarly, to studies on THC, CBD research is still in its infancy and has yet to provide any solid conclusions. However, there are a plethora of research investigating the effects of CBD on ECS components. German scientists, for instance, are investigating CBD’s potential to inhibit the enzyme fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH), which degrades the essential endocannabinoid anandamide. CBD also has an effect on the nuclear receptors known as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), which play a role in maintaining proper lipid and glucose balance.
Understanding the Value of Homeostasis
It is only because of homeostasis’s supporting systems that we are able to maintain life. Without them, anything as harmless as going for a run or being sick would be enough to kill us. The health of an organism depends on its homeostatic regulatory systems working properly. Medical canabis and its components are at the forefront of studies aimed at discovering new ways to keep homoeostasis in check because of the ECS’s essential involvement in this fundamental function. Although studies are still in their early stages, scientists are eager to learn more about this intricate yet unquestionably crucial facet of human biology.
To know more about where to buy medical canabis in Australia and other medical marijuana resources, you should book a consultation session with a professional from Chronic Therapy today.