What to Know about Endocannabinoid Deficiencies
About Endocannabinoids and The Endocannabinoid System (ECS)
In general, endocannabinoids are naturally produced within the body. They also play a significant role in managing overall health. Without them, we could be experiencing endocannabinoid deficiencies. All of us have an endocannabinoid system, and this system responds to both endocannabinoids and cannabinoids within cannabis. So far, Anandamide and 2-AG are the two main endocannabinoids that have been heavily studied. These endocannabinoids are responsible for regulating different systems in the body. These systems include appetite regulation, metabolism, sleep, pain, and other functions.
Many researchers believe that the ECS plays a key role in different illnesses and diseases. Regarding certain medical conditions, it is possible for people to experience an endocannabinoid deficiency. This deficiency could be the underlying cause of different ailments. Thus far, researchers and doctors have proposed a theory related to endocannabinoids. This theory proposes that a lack of endocannabinoid system activity could play a significant role in migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, and PTSD. This theory is referred to as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
About Endocannabinoid Deficiencies & Research Findings
In 2003, a paper was published on endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome by Dr. Ethan Russo. Dr. Russo is both a neurologist and senior medical advisor at GW Pharmaceuticals. The scientific paper found that cannabinoids block spinal, peripheral, and gastrointestinal mechanisms that promote pain in the forms of headaches, fibromyalgia, IBS, and muscle spasms.
The next year, a study was conducted by Dr. Russo regarding the concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD). The study explained that deficient endocannabinoid levels could be the underlying cause of multiple medical conditions. However, many conditions can be alleviated with cannabis including and cannabinoids like CBD.
On the same note, the study concluded the following about endocannabinoid deficiencies: “Migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical, and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.” Thus, supplementing the body’s cannabinoid supply could deliver benefits for deficiency-related medical conditions.
Updated Findings on Endocannabinoid Deficiencies & Reasons for It
In 2016, Dr. Russo published a new update that concluded the following: “…additional studies have provided a firmer foundation for the theory while clinical data has produced evidence for decreased pain, improved sleep, and other benefits to cannabinoid treatment.” So far, there are two main reasons as to how endocannabinoid deficiencies can occur. One possibility consists of certain people being genetically predisposed to having a less active endocannabinoid system. As a result, this leaves them vulnerable to developing different illnesses.
Another possibility consists of the exposure to different environmental conditions, injuries, and/or infections. Different studies suggest that an endocannabinoid deficiency could help explain specific illnesses and their reasons for occurring. One main treatment method that can provide relief to various medical conditions is cannabis. It is believed by doctors including Dr. Robert Melamede from the University of Colorado that cannabis can help the body achieve homeostasis. It has also been found that cannabis can provide medical benefits against different diseases and illnesses.
Link Between Endocannabinoid Deficiencies & Migraines
Moreover, the top conditions that can occur from endocannabinoid deficiencies include the following: migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, and PTSD. However, cannabis is one method that can provide treatment for each of these conditions. For example, fibromyalgia is a painful condition that could be due to an endocannabinoid deficiency. Thus far, it has been found that cannabinoids can reduce pain that is similar to fibromyalgia pain.
Next, migraine headaches are extremely painful for some people. Migraines can even disable an individual for several days at a time. Recently, it has been found that migraines are associated with changes within the neurotransmitter serotonin. However, the endocannabinoid system and serotonin system are closely linked. Therefore, researchers believe that migraines could result from an endocannabinoid deficiency. Additionally, some researchers believe that cannabis could act as an effective treatment method for migraines due to cannabis’s unique effects on the brain.
Link Between Endocannabinoid Deficiencies & IBS
Another painful condition consists of irritable bowel syndrome, which causes diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain. Symptoms of this condition is related to mobility within the gut. It has been found that cannabinoid receptors are expressed within the body’s gut. These receptors also possess the function to regulate the speed of food moving through the intestines. Overall, cannabis has been used as a treatment for IBS symptoms and other diarrheal illnesses for years. In general, researchers believe an endocannabinoid deficiency could explain IBS.
Link Between Endocannabinoid Deficiencies & PTSD
Lastly, researchers believe that PTSD could be related to a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. According to a 2013 study, it was found that endocannabinoid levels were reduced in PTSD patients. More research and clinical trials will continue to be conducted to demonstrate the usefulness of cannabis in treating endocannabinoid deficiencies.
In the meantime, cannabis can be used as a supplement to treat various medical issues. Some of the best ways to consume cannabis is through juicing and ingesting the raw leaves of the cannabis plant. However, consuming infused edibles could also provide medicinal benefits against various diseases and illnesses.
If you suffer from migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, or PTSD, consider trying different forms of cannabis to see if it brings you relief. Endocannabinoid deficiencies can be overlooked and undiagnosed. Therefore, giving cannabis a chance could determine whether you have an endocannabinoid deficiency or not.