For people who suffer from chronic illnesses, cannabis can be a huge godsend. Some people suffer from inflamed digestive systems and others suffer from musculoskeletal pain. There are millions of people who suffer from agonizing headaches and all of these can be relieved with the use of cannabis.
Some people wonder why others use cannabis to relieve their physical woes. Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, interact with the body’s ECS, or endocannabinoid system. The body produces natural endocannabinoids which work with the ECS receptors to help maintain health in all body systems. However, do you know what can happen when you don’t have enough?
Science isn’t exactly sure either. However, some experts say endocannabinoid deficiency could be behind several conditions including fibromyalgia, IBS, migraines, and others. The ECS is found in every bodily system, and this is how its dysfunction can cause several conditions.
What is Endocannabinoid Deficiency Exactly?
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is when certain conditions are caused by an insufficient amount of endocannabinoid levels. The production of endocannabinoids is considered to be essential in promoting health, vitality, and overall good well-being.
Many scientists believe CED (clinical endocannabinoid deficiency) to play a role in conditions that include:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Motion sickness
- Migraines and more
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Endocannabinoids are part of the endocannabinoid system and help to regulate things such as memory, regulates appetite, pain sensation, mood, and more. There are 3 parts to the endocannabinoid system: endocannabinoids, endocannabinoid receptors, and endocannabinoid-moderating enzymes.
The Endocannabinoid System
There are three basic parts of the cannabinoid system.
- Cannabinoid receptors
- Endocannabinoids: internal chemicals that will bind to the cannabinoid receptors
- Enzymes: help to clean out endocannabinoids from the system
When endocannabinoids bind to receptors, important functions are stimulated. These can include:
- Improving mood
- Reducing pain
- Sparking hunger
Functions of the Endocannabinoid System
The Endocannabinoid system can be complicated. Experts have yet to determine just how it functions as well as all of its functions. However, there has been some research done that has shown the Endocannabinoid system can help with the following areas:
- Chronic pain
- Motor control
- Appetite and digestion
- Learning and memory
- Nerve and skin function
- Liver function
- Bone growth and remodeling
- Cardiovascular system functioning
These functions contribute to homeostasis.
Research done has shown that everyone has an endocannabinoid tone. What this means is that we all have some level of endocannabinoids as well as receptors present in the body system. There’s also a level of efficiency for both metabolism and endocannabinoid production.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
There are enzymes that regulate the endocannabinoid system by stimulating endocannabinoid synthesis to help with raising levels or to signal destruction to reduce levels.
Endocannabinoids are a type of lipid and this means they are a particular type of fat that interacts with the body’s nervous system and causes specific changes inside the body.
Endocannabinoids will latch onto endocannabinoid receptor cells to make these changes happen in the nervous system. All mammals actually produce these endocannabinoids which bind to endocannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids will act in contrast to well-known neurotransmitters including norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. Dopamine is synthesized in advance, stored in vesicles and is then released from the presynaptic cell. This is where it crosses the synapse and then lands on the postsynaptic cell causing activation.
Endocannabinoids though are integral components of cell membranes which will appear and manufacture on demand. Because they are hydrophobic, they can’t travel far in the body and they exert local effects.
What is Endocannabinoid Deficiency Exactly?
To start with, you need to know that all mammals and humans have what is called the endocannabinoid system. This system is responsible for helping to maintain and balance internal homeostasis. It also controls some of the body’s most important functions. It can help with things including:
- Immune response
- Pain and more
Therefore, it plays a huge role in keeping the body functioning well.
The theory behind endocannabinoid deficiency is simply that some people might have these deficiencies which will eventually lead to a decreased activation of the endocannabinoid system. This could be related to differences in genetics, while some might be acquired from disease or injury.
What Exactly Causes an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
Did you know the endocannabinoid system is the largest network of what are called neurotransmitters in the body? These are what are responsible for regulating a number of important functions. However, when signals from the ECS begin transmitting at improper levels, this results in an endocannabinoid deficiency.
There are a few ways that an endocannabinoid deficiency can occur, and these ways can include:
Not Enough Receptors
This can be simply not having enough connectors for endocannabinoids to attach themselves to. Without there being certain connectors, there can’t be a signal transmitted to the designated area.
Overabundance of Metabolic Enzymes
This simply means that your body has begun to produce too many MAGL and FAAH enzymes which are responsible for breaking down endocannabinoid compounds. They might also do this too soon before endocannabinoids bind to receptors.
Synthesizes insufficient Endocannabinoids
This means that your body isn’t making 2-AG or AEA cannabinoid compounds. These incomplete and deformed molecules can’t possibly make it to receptors or else they can’t attach or transmit successfully even if they do arrive.
There Isn’t Enough Action Between Cannabinoid Receptors and Endocannabinoids
There are connectors and compounds that are lacking communication. This can become caused by anything from weak signaling to improper attachment.
Endocannabinoid Deficiency Quiz
CED, also referred to as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, has become a widely studied condition in journals and more over the years. Medical practitioners have also studied this condition to find out more about it.
How do you know if you have an endocannabinoid deficiency? Any signal that’s transmitted by endocannabinoids changes in quantity. This means receptors that are available in the body need to either decrease or increase too. The fluctuation restricts how the body reaches homeostasis which might lead to complications.
The following are a few signs that might be an endocannabinoid deficiency:
Not Enough Sleep
There are several parts of the brain and the body that the endocannabinoid system helps regulate which is an important part of a good night’s rest. This is crucial to the CB1 receptor activity. The stimulation of these receptors helps influence the body’s sleep pattern.
Having an increased amount of anandamide endocannabinoid in the brain causes there to be more adenosine in the brain. This imbalance of endocannabinoids and the lack of CB1 receptors can cause a lack of sleep causing sleep deprivation.
Foods that are high in trans-fats and too many calories regardless are a bad choice. However, pro-inflammatory foods help cause adverse effects to your body’s endocannabinoid system.
Additionally, there is a microbiome, which is a genetic material containing both pathogenic and symbiotic bacteria, within the gut which helps regulate the endocannabinoid system.
We’ve all heard about how CBD can help with stress. But, did you know stress plays a factor in endocannabinoid deficiency? Stress responses are typically quick at reacting to threats and also staying alive when danger is in sight. Additionally, remaining in this heightened state of stress can have some harmful effects. During any stressful situation, the body reduces the level of anandamide endocannabinoid.
The body will also increase levels of the 2-AG endocannabinoid which weakens pain perception. It also triggers the memory to help flee from other stressful situations to help evade danger.
However, being in this particular state or a prolonged period of time can indicate endocannabinoid deficiency in the body. This might trigger the ECS to produce too much endocannabinoid or even not enough.
What Happens When Your Endocannabinoid System is Off-Balance?
Over time, people begin to feel tired and forgetful. In fact, there has been research done showing there is a direct correlation between a deficiency and other medical conditions that include migraines, muscle spasms, fibromyalgia and also IBS.
Some research has even suggested an ECS deficiency might just be behind flare-ups, an increase in insulin sensitivity, and slowdowns with metabolism.
Some of the most common symptoms that you’ll find with a deficiency can include:
- Struggles with insomnia
- Bone loss
- Symptoms that resemble dementia
- Chronic pain
- Heightened inflammation through the body
Using CBD For Endocannabinoid Deficiency
Wouldn’t it be great to be given a number and it be the right amount of CBD for just what you need? This however is not the case as each person’s needs are different. There are a number of factors that go into the exact serving size, and it’s irresponsible to overlook these factors for each individual.
There are many organizations and studies that show the standard size is 25mg twice a day. If you find this amount doesn’t have an impact on you, you can increase your dose size by 25mg every few weeks until you’re getting the results you need.
If you find that your conditions are getting worse, you may want to decrease your dosage until you find what works for you.
Check out our detailed guides on the best CBD oils and topical treatments to learn more!
Treating Endocannabinoid Deficiency
For those of you who feel you have an endocannabinoid deficiency, make sure you consider talking to your cannabis provider. While testing for this deficiency is rare, there may be a test that your doctor can offer. The testing done used to be invasive but now there are tests done that are done using saliva.
Some experts suggest THC or even CBD in small doses to help with some conditions or symptoms. While having a deficiency can be harmful, using an excessive number of cannabinoids can cause their own issues. Therefore, it might be easier and better for you to have a doctor help you choose the treatment option that’s right for you.
There are a few things you can do to help balance and boost your endocannabinoid system, for instance, using THC or CBD. However, these phytocannabinoids shouldn’t be used as a one size fits all approach. This is because CBD products aren’t designed to cure or treat illnesses and conditions.
However, using CBD can add some benefits to your lifestyle and can compliment traditional lifestyles. While looking to improve your daily life, consider some of the methods you can incorporate to avoid deficiencies:
Stress Less and Sleep Better
Even though these 2 attributes are affected by endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, it should be your goal to still maintain some sort of balance by making sure you are getting enough sleep and sleeping better to help manage stress. There are CBD with melatonin options that you can check out as well as CBD bath bombs to help with promoting relaxation.
Exercising is essential for living a healthy lifestyle. But it will also help with the ECS and sedentary behavior. Intense physical activity might not be the best option for those just looking to boost everyday health. Make sure you start with low impact exercises and aerobics. If you suffer from soreness afterward, there are CBD topicals that can help relieve any discomfort.
Check Your Family History
Endocannabinoid deficiency isn’t always hereditary, but there may be some genetic things. If you know that your family has lingering concerns in their health history, this might be an underlying reason for any imbalance to the ECS. Make sure you check for harmful habits you aren’t aware of sharing.
Everyone’s body is different, and we all have an endocannabinoid system that’s important for maintaining homeostasis. However, just as with every biological network, there may be times where this system might not work properly at times.
There are a number of ways to help keep your endocannabinoid system balanced. CBD research has just begun recently but there has been studies done that have shown the many benefits it can have.
Some people will find that exercise and diet changes can help improve with endocannabinoid deficiency. There are other lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your life.