The electrical nature of life

Life revolves around the constant interaction and exchange of electrical impulses between molecules and their receptors. These electrical impulses are fundamental to the functioning of every living organism and are responsible for driving the complex communication networks within the body. 

Research data suggest that living cells contain components similar to conductors, semiconductors, resistors, transistors, capacitors, induction coils, transducers, switches, generators, and batteries, enabling the swift transmission of electrical signals in biological tissues. For instance, cells function as solid-state electronic devices with transducers (membrane receptors), inductors (membrane receptors and DNA), capacitors (cell and organelle membranes), resonators (membranes and DNA), tuning circuits (membrane-protein complexes), and semiconductors (liquid crystal protein polymers).

Receptors, which are specialized protein molecules located on cell surfaces or within cells, play a crucial role in detecting and responding to these impulses. They convert external stimuli into electrical signals that the body can process and interpret, enabling cells to respond appropriately to their environment.

In the nervous system, for instance, neurons communicate through synapses, where electrical impulses are transmitted from one neuron to another, allowing for the rapid transmission of information. This electrical signaling is essential for brain function, including thought processes, memory formation, and sensory perception.

Similarly, in the cardiovascular system, the heart relies on electrical impulses to regulate the rhythm and force of its contractions, ensuring efficient blood circulation throughout the body. Muscle cells also depend on electrical signals to initiate contraction and movement. 

Notably, the endocrine system uses electrical signals to regulate hormone release, influencing processes like metabolism, growth, and mood. Disruptions in the body’s electrical system can lead to various disorders, such as epilepsy, characterized by abnormal brain activity, and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) due to faulty electrical conduction. Neuropathies, resulting from peripheral nerve damage, and electrolyte imbalances like hyperkalemia or hypocalcemia, can severely impact electrical functions.

Recent research by Michael Levin emphasizes the pivotal role of bioelectric signals in cellular communication and intelligence, presenting a significant shift from the traditional DNA-centric perspective. Levin’s studies suggest that cells use bioelectric signals to coordinate and make decisions, influencing tissue regeneration, development, and even cancer suppression. This bioelectric communication system is seen as a layer of control that operates alongside genetic information, offering new insights into how cells interact and organize.

Relationship between bioelectric communication and internal balance (homeostasis)

Cells use bioelectric signals to communicate, coordinate their activities, and adapt to environmental changes effectively. This bioelectric communication is crucial for maintaining cellular homeostasis, ensuring stable internal conditions across tissues and organs. By transmitting electrical signals, cells can regulate functions such as ion channel activity, nutrient uptake, and waste removal. These signals help synchronize cellular responses, enabling tissues to function harmoniously. Additionally, bioelectric signals play a role in wound healing, guiding cells to repair and regenerate damaged areas.

Bioelectric signals enable precise control of ion fluxes, membrane potentials, and signal transduction pathways. They ensure synchronized responses among cells, supporting tissue-level and organismal homeostasis. Furthermore, there is a high possibility that bioelectric signals may play a critical role in the activities of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to maintain homeostasis.

The ECS is a complex network of receptors and chemicals that play crucial roles in regulating various physiological processes, from pain and inflammation to mood and memory. The ECS’s ability to maintain balance and equilibrium may be rooted in its ability to manipulate electric charges within our cells. Let’s look at the electrical foundation of homeostasis for better understanding.

The Electric Foundation of Homeostasis

Electricity is a fundamental aspect of our physiology, with every cell in our body generating electrical impulses. The ECS appears to harness this electrical energy to regulate cellular activity, ensuring that our cells function in harmony. By modulating electric charges, the ECS may be able to:

1.    Regulate Ion Channels and Cellular Signaling Pathways

The regulation of ion channels and cellular signaling pathways is a critical function of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Ion channels are protein structures embedded in cell membranes that allow ions such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride to pass into and out of the cell. These ion movements are essential for generating electrical impulses and facilitating communication between cells, especially in the nervous system. The ECS modulates the activity of these ion channels through cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB1 and CB2 receptors. By influencing ion flow, the ECS can regulate neuronal excitability, neurotransmitter release, and overall neural network activity. This modulation is crucial for processes like pain perception, mood regulation, and motor control. Additionally, the ECS affects cellular signaling pathways, including those involving cyclic AMP (cAMP), phosphoinositides, and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), which play roles in cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis. This may explain why cannabinoids exhibit a therapeutic effect on cancer cells.

2.    Influence the Flow of Nutrients and Waste Across Cell Membranes

The ECS also plays a significant role in the flow of nutrients and waste across cell membranes. Cellular membranes contain various transporters and channels that control the uptake of essential nutrients, such as glucose and amino acids, and the expulsion of metabolic waste products. The ECS can influence these transport mechanisms to ensure that cells receive the nutrients they need for energy production, growth, and repair while efficiently removing waste products to prevent toxic buildup. For example, cannabinoid receptors can regulate the activity of glucose transporters, thereby affecting glucose uptake and metabolism which is useful for people battling with diabetes. This regulation is particularly important in tissues with high metabolic demands, such as the brain, muscles, and liver. By maintaining efficient nutrient and waste transport, the ECS helps sustain cellular homeostasis and metabolic health.

3.    Maintain the Integrity of Our Cellular Structure

Maintaining the integrity of cellular structure is another vital function of the ECS. The cytoskeleton, composed of microfilaments, intermediate filaments, and microtubules, provides structural support to cells, enabling them to maintain their shape, perform intracellular transport, and undergo division and movement. The ECS influences the dynamics of the cytoskeleton through its interactions with signaling molecules and pathways that control cytoskeletal organization. For instance, a 2019 research shows that cannabinoid receptors can affect the polymerization and depolymerization of actin filaments and microtubules, processes essential for cell motility and stability. By regulating these cytoskeletal components, the ECS ensures that cells can adapt their structure as needed during development, wound healing, and immune responses. This regulatory role is crucial for maintaining tissue architecture and function, particularly in dynamic environments where cells must constantly adjust to changing conditions.

How phytocannabinoids use bioelectric signals to interact with receptors

While phytocannabinoids or paleocannabinoids are neutral, their interaction with receptors involves several molecular forces, including van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonds, and electrostatic interactions. These forces are crucial for phytocannabinoids’ binding affinity and specificity to cannabinoid receptors such as CB1 and CB2. 

Binding affinity refers to the strength of the interaction between a compound (ligand) and its receptor, which is a protein or other target molecule. High binding affinity indicates that the ligand binds strongly and stably to the receptor, often leading to a more significant biological response. This interaction is influenced by the shape, charge, and hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties of both the ligand and the receptor, and it is critical for the effectiveness of drugs, as higher affinity usually translates to greater potency and efficacy in eliciting the desired therapeutic effect. The binding affinity of phytocannabinoids to their receptors is largely influenced by the chemical structure of the compound. For instance, information from a 2014 research shows delta-9 THC exhibits a higher binding affinity than delta-8 THC due to the position of the double bonds while CBGa has a higher binding affinity when compared to CBG, its neutral counterpart. Although these cannabinoids interact with CB receptors they are tightly bound to different portions of the active site thus, producing different effects on users. 

Cannabinoids interact with their receptors with the help of several forces including Van der Waals, forces, hydrogen bonds, and electrostatic interactions. Van der Waals forces, which are weak attractions between molecules, help stabilize the binding of phytocannabinoids to receptor sites. Electrostatic interactions, which occur due to the polarity and partial charges of the molecules involved, also play a significant role in receptor binding.

Hydrogen bonds, which form between the hydrogen atoms of phytocannabinoids and electronegative atoms in the receptors, play a crucial role in enhancing binding strength and specificity. These bonds occur when the positively charged hydrogen atoms of the phytocannabinoids interact with negatively charged atoms such as oxygen or nitrogen in the receptor molecules. This interaction creates a stable and specific connection that helps secure the phytocannabinoid to the receptor.

The formation of hydrogen bonds contributes to the overall stability of the phytocannabinoid-receptor complex, making it more likely that the phytocannabinoid will remain bound to the receptor for a sufficient duration to exert its biological effects. This increased stability is essential for the effective modulation of receptor activity, which can lead to the desired therapeutic outcomes, such as pain relief, anti-inflammatory effects, or mood regulation.

Hydrogen bonds also contribute to the selectivity of phytocannabinoids for specific receptors. The precise fit between the phytocannabinoid and its receptor, facilitated by hydrogen bonds, ensures that the phytocannabinoid can effectively target specific receptors and elicit specific physiological responses. This specificity is crucial for the development of cannabinoid-based therapies, as it allows for targeted treatment of various medical conditions with minimal side effects. 

Whole plant, full-spectrum cannabis extracts come with different species of molecules including terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and more that create a robust bioelectric environment and promote interaction with receptors. This is why preserving a mapping of the whole plant in its extract typically increases therapeutic effects, as supported by several research findings using full-spectrum/whole plant extracts. 

The bioelectric environment, characterized by the local electrical potential and ionic concentrations, can influence these interactions. Changes in the bioelectric environment can affect the conformation of the cannabinoid receptors, altering their binding sites and thus impacting the affinity and efficacy of phytocannabinoid binding. This modulation can lead to variations in the pharmacological effects of phytocannabinoids, potentially targeting specific physiological processes and therapeutic outcomes. Understanding these interactions provides insight into how phytocannabinoids exert their effects in the body and can help in the development of targeted cannabinoid-based therapies for various medical conditions.


Bioelectric signals are vital for maintaining homeostasis and represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of cellular communication. Traditionally, cellular communication has been viewed primarily through the lens of chemical signals and genetic information. However, the recognition of bioelectric signals as crucial regulators of cellular activity introduces a new dimension to this understanding. These electrical signals facilitate rapid and precise communication between cells, coordinating complex physiological processes essential for maintaining the stability of the body’s internal environment. By modulating ion channels, influencing nutrient and waste transport, and ensuring structural integrity, bioelectric signals help sustain the intricate balance necessary for health and function. This expanded perspective not only enhances our comprehension of cellular dynamics but also opens up innovative avenues for medical research and treatment, promising new strategies for managing diseases and promoting overall well-being.