Our bodies consist of many unique physiologic systems whose sole purpose is to maintain an internal balance called homeostasis. We know the pancreas releases insulin to balance blood sugar levels between the bloodstream and cells. The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormone, which regulates vital bodily functions related to metabolism, body temperature and much more. Simply put, our bodies are working constantly to stay balanced in response to our external environment.
Within the quest to know how THC causes its well known intoxicating effects, scientists discovered that we have one more regulatory physiologic system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose role is to maintain homeostasis from the messages sent between our cells. Further research has revealed that sickness, inflammation, and injury will trigger the ECS to take action, trying to reset our internal environment returning to homeostasis. This method has been described as being protective and required for life. What if we might target this method to stop illness and sustain better health?
Endocannabinoids, also known as our “inner cannabis,” are synthesized on demand from healthy causes of dietary fat. Cannabinoid receptors sit on the membranes of cells in certain areas of your brain and body, namely areas inside the brain that control pain, memory, emotion, motor control, nausea, and appetite, as well as the gut, defense mechanisms, and peripheral nervous system. When there is a trigger that triggers an imbalance, like an accident or illness, endocannabinoids are released, acting as “keys” that bind to the receptors, which serve as “locks” on our cells. When the receptor is activated, a chemical reaction takes place inside the cell, telling the cell to change its message.
ECS functioning depends upon many factors, including genetics, age, levels of stress, diet, and overall degree of health. There may be variants within the genes that code for that ECS which can cause propensities for certain conditions, including ADHD and PTSD. Additionally, chronic illness, chronic stress or chronic sleep deprivation can result in depletion in the endocannabinoids. These disruptions in the normal functioning of the ECS interfere with being able to regulate cellular imbalances and achieve homeostasis.
In 2004, Ethan Russo, a neurologist and research scientist, published Clinical endocannabinoids Deficiency (CECD): Can this concept explain therapeutic benefits associated with cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome as well as other treatment-resistant conditions? within the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters. Russo theorized that certain individuals with the listed conditions responded to cannabis-based treatments since they had endocannabinoid deficiencies that allowed the disorder to manifest to begin with.
Subsequent studies have demonstrated that endocannabinoid deficiency plays a role in autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, complex regional pain syndrome, heart problems, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, nausea, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, menstrual symptoms, failure to thrive in newborns, and other difficult-to-treat conditions.
The cannabis plant produces over 100 phytocannabinoids, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). These compounds mimic the endocannabinoids by getting together with the ECS and restoring homeostasis. Rather than delay until illness is present, there are many ways to take better care of your ECS, that can allow it to function properly, avoid deficiencies and keep homeostasis.
It’s common knowledge that a healthy, balanced diet is essential for emotional and physical well-being. Our bodies depend on our diet to generate the right amount of endocannabinoids to operate at optimal capacity. Cannabinoids are synthesized through the essential fatty acids within our diets and require a specific balance of omega-6 and omega-3 to be manufactured in the right quantities.
For max bioavailability, the ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids from food is between 5:1 and 1:1, the lower the greater for anyone with chronic illness. Western diets routinely include ratios of 20:1, mainly because of the overconsumption of omega-6 essential fatty acids which result from vegetable oils in numerous packaged foods. Western diets with higher ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids results in a decrease in endocannabinoids, resulting in the lack of ability to maintain homeostasis.
Another factor that promotes well-being in the ECS is aerobic fitness exercise. Animal studies are convinced that voluntary wheel running increases cannabinoid receptors in the brain and raises the sensitivity in the receptors to endocannabinoids. Human studies show that exercise such as running, biking and hiking enhance endocannabinoid levels inside the bloodstream. In fact, endocannabinoids are most likely in charge of the phenomenon identified as the “runner’s high.”
Probiotics could also help the ECS. Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic bacteria seen in fermented foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut, was demonstrated to induce the expression of cannabinoid receptors within the gut, promoting intestinal homeostasis.
Both acupuncture and osteopathic manipulation boost the ECS. Yoga and meditation elicit the “relaxation response,” a physiological wjeflf phenomenon whereby you can consciously take part in behavior that promotes physical and mental wellness; although no studies have been completed to date, most professionals suspect these stress management modalities boost the ECS thereby promoting homeostasis.
Lastly, what about the capability of cannabis to stop illness? Plant cannabinoids are-known to be safe as well as have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. In the event of endocannabinoid deficiency, cannabis use may be the correcting compound, eliminating the signs and symptoms of the problem. Regular cannabis use can decrease chronic inflammation and buildup of free radicals, each of which are regarded as the main reasons for many conditions, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.