“What you think, you become.”Buddha
Your cells talk to each other, brain to body, body to brain, cells to other cells. The conversations your body has are in response to what you’re feeling at any given time. Those emotional responses change your biology in ways that cause the physical sensations of what you feel, impacting your health.
Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is modulating all of this cellular talking. This article will explore the molecules your body produces to keep you feeling good and how cannabis can help you influence emotional balance.
You Are Both Transmitter And Receiver
Your body runs on signals. Your sensory cells are constantly sending signals to your brain about environmental changes. Any changes internally or externally will require adjustments to keep up with the overriding goal of the trillions of cells that make up you – to keep you not only alive, but in a state of homeostasis, the balance point of you without stress.
To keep your enormous community of cells in touch with each other and make those changes the nerves, glands, and some immune cells produce peptides in the form of cannabinoids, hormones, opioids, and neurotransmitters.
Peptides are varying lengths of strings of amino acids, taken as slices of your DNA, directly encoded with the signaling data of how to build and repair you. Peptides connect your mind and brain with your immune system.
At any given moment various mixes of peptides are swimming through your system in search of a specific receptor waving its antenna, waiting for that peptide signal to find it.
Where’s my receptor?
Who among us hasn’t felt the immediate body rush of embarrassment – pulse rising, cheeks hot with the flush of extra blood flow, the internal questioning of our actions? This is the work of the peptides, the chemical signals your body creates to prepare your cells for what you think is ahead.
Here’s how this works
On the surface of all of your trillions of cells are receptors that act as the receivers for peptides. There can be hundreds of thousands of receptors on an individual cell, each one specifically coded to respond to a particular peptide or molecular signal.
- You have an emotional reaction.
- Peptides are simultaneously released throughout your body.
- Peptides hook up to specific receptors.
- As a result, the molecular structure of the receptors change momentarily to cause a series of actions inside the cell, opening or closing some passageway for molecules to flow into or out of the cell.
- The cell’s rate of vibration changes as a result of the molecules that are most present in the cell.
Peptides are the signal, the electrical impulse. Once it finds its receptor, it’ll dock and cause the receptor to temporarily rearrange its molecular structure (a conformational change), creating a vibration that causes some part of the cellular machinery to go into action or cease operations.
Peptide + Receptor = Cellular Change
The whole process is run by your emotions and modulated by your ECS. Peptides signal the biological changes that cause the physical sensations of your feeling. Those changes are reflected in your level of healthy balance.
In Any Case, Survive
The body wants to survive, and if possible, survive in homeostasis. When your emotional response has caused the body to produce peptides that reflect that feeling as constriction of the cells, you’ll have uncomfortable symptoms of stress.
Stress can be a good thing
While chronic stress can be detrimental to your health, stress, in general, is actually a good thing for your immune system, provided you recover in a timely manner. More immune cells are available during stress, and the ECS and immune system learn from each repeated stress event, growing stronger in anticipation of the next time around.
Your body will respond to the stress by releasing cortisol, and in response to this peptide, the body begins recovery by producing cannabinoids.
The Shift Back To Default
In a body that isn’t chronically stressed, the system begins to reset back to balance.
- Cortisol released in response to stress influences the production of the peptide cannabinoid anandamide.
- Able to operate as both a cannabinoid and a neurotransmitter, anandamide, in turn, signals the production of oxytocin.
- Oxytocin signals the release of the endorphins.
- Endorphins begin to raise the emotional tone back to “safe.” Your emotions begin to shift to a natural default of well-being.
- Your cells go back to doing their job without stress.
All of this happens so fast it’s nearly instantaneous. In the blink of an eye, your body can drastically and dramatically shift the way your cells are working, based on the feeling you allowed yourself to experience.
Your body produces six molecules that will gently soothe the stress and return you to the joyful mode you were evolved to express. Your ECS uses cannabinoids to control the flow of all the other peptides.
|ANANDAMIDE||cannabinoid/neurotransmitter||human cell membranes||“All is well.”|
|ACETYLCHOLINE||neurotransmitter||autonomic nervous system||“I’m here and I know it.”|
|ENDOGENOUS OPIOIDS||opioids||central nervous system & pituitary gland||“Free to be me.”|
|GABA||amino acid||brain cells, by glutamate||“I’m in balance.|
|OXYTOCIN||hormone/neurotransmitter||hypothalamus (stored in thalamus)||“I belong.”|
|SEROTONIN||neurotransmitter||digestive tract||“I’m happy!”|
Cell-by-cell peptides change the behavior of cells, with the intent to keep you in balance. In our next article, we’ll look more closely at these six peptides, some of their more critical effects in the body, and how you can influence their availability.
Only you control your emotions. Your cells respond to the emotional choices you make. One of the most beneficial effects of cannabis use is the release of tension throughout the body, relieving pain on all levels – mental, emotional, and physical. Less stress means more efficient cellular signaling.
Choose a cannabis product with a cannabinoid ratio and terpene profile that most reflects your body’s needs and you’ll further enhance the ways in which cannabis can influence the expression of feel-good peptides.
Change your emotions.
Change the way your cells behave.
Feel free to share your thoughts about the emotional effect of peptides and any ways you might know to increase their availability. We’re all in this together, and the more we share the more we learn.