Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome refers to any illness stemming from the absence of sufficient endocannabinoids in your body. Sometimes, the body just does not make enough on its own to help its CB1 and CB2 receptors maintain homeostasis. When this happens, the body becomes vulnerable to disease in its unbalanced state.

The concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome first came up in 2004 thanks to cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo. Over a decade later, Dr. Russo published follow-up research supporting his initial hypothesis, suggesting that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome can lead to painful conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and migraines, as well as hypersensitivity to pain.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome is a condition that results in a person producing fewer natural cannabinoids than experts believe are necessary for well-being and vitality. It’s believed that CECD could have a role affecting:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pain
  • Anorexia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Migraines
  • Depression
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Autism
  • Motion Sickness
  • Huntington’s

Each condition is already difficult enough to treat, but conventional treatments may not work when clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome is behind the scenes. After all, if homeostasis is never achieved, the body never returns to its balanced nature.

Traditional medicine only has one solution at this time, and it’s rather invasive as it involves brain tissue samples. Scientists continue to research less invasive methods, like gaining a sample of saliva, instead. Self-diagnosis is also possible, to some degree.

Maintaining Homeostasis

Understanding the endocannabinoid system requires understanding the concept of homeostasis, which is an automatic bodily process to maintain the necessary internal function. Simply put, it’s a balancing act.

Here’s an example: When you get a fever, your body temperature increases and you start to sweat. Sweat occurs as a natural reaction to help cool your body back to 98.6 degrees. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll shiver naturally in cold environments to help produce internal heat. These bodily reactions are due to homeostasis.

Endocannabinoid Body System

The Endocannabinoid System: Broken Down

Two main cannabinoid receptors exist in the human body: CB1 and CB2. Both are found throughout the body, but CB1 receptors mostly live in the central nervous system. CB2 receptors mostly live in the immune system. In both cases, the receptors help cells reap the benefits of THC and CBD alike.

While the human body doesn’t produce its own CBD, it does make the endocannabinoids Anandamide and 2-AG. Both bind to receptors and assist with homeostasis. The system also relies on the metabolic enzyme FAAH to break down the endocannabinoids.

Activating the CH1 receptor results in many benefits, including:

  • Relief of depression
  • Increase in the formation of myelin
  • Lowering of blood pressure
  • Reduction of anxiety
  • Decrease in intestinal permeability, or Leaky Gut Syndrome
  • Less inflammation in the intestines
  • Reduced fear and paranoia
  • Less prolactin
  • Less GPR55 signaling
  • Increase in BDNF levels
  • Increase in PPARy expression

CB2 receptors were first discovered in 1993, and we now know them to exist mostly in the thymus, the spleen, the tonsils, and immune cells like macrophages, monocytes, mast cells, B and T cells, and also microglia. Few CB2 receptors live in the brain, but they do have a presence there.

When activated, the CB2 receptor induces macrophages that seek to destroy the beta-amyloid protein, which is a main building block for the plaque that people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have in their brains. This relation could explain the heavy research into the links between CBD and Alzheimer’s patients.

It’s not unusual for changes to occur to the CB2 receptor and its functions. In fact, almost every kind of human disease can result in these changes, whether the disease is gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, autoimmune, psychiatric, neurodegenerative, or otherwise pain-related. The better we get to know the endocannabinoid system, the better we will eventually learn the ways in which our bodies naturally seek relief and maintain homeostasis for functionality.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome refers to any illness stemming from the absence of sufficient endocannabinoids in your body. Sometimes, the body just does not make enough on its own to help its CB1 and CB2 receptors maintain homeostasis. When this happens, the body becomes vulnerable to disease in its unbalanced state.

The concept of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome first came up in 2004 thanks to cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo. Over a decade later, Dr. Russo published follow-up research supporting his initial hypothesis, suggesting that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome can lead to painful conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and migraines, as well as hypersensitivity to pain.

Each condition is already difficult enough to treat, but conventional treatments may not work when clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome is behind the scenes. After all, if homeostasis is never achieved, the body never returns to its balanced nature.

Traditional medicine only has one solution at this time, and it’s rather invasive as it involves brain tissue samples. Scientists continue to research less invasive methods, like gaining a sample of saliva, instead. Self-diagnosis is also possible, to some degree.

Endocannabinoid Deficiency and Neurological Disorders

The endocannabinoid system runs throughout the human body, and the central nervous system contains a particularly large amount of receptors. Armed with this knowledge, it’s easy to see how a deficiency in endocannabinoids can lead to difficulties with brain function.

Anandamide is not just an endocannabinoid; it’s also a neurotransmitter that plays critical roles in cognition, immune responses, motor activity, and other essential bodily functions. Without enough Anandamide, you can experience a deficiency in these areas. Other neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are associated with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome.

Taking CBD for Endocannabinoid Deficiency

The cannabinoids found in cannabis should be thought of as essential nutrients. By taking supplemental cannabinoid doses, you can alleviate certain diseases by strengthening your ECS. In other words, taking CBD can serve as medicine.

While no-THC CBD dosing is a popular choice in the natural healing community, some believe supplementing CBD with “micro-doses” of THC strengthens the efficacy of the therapy. That means opting for cannabis with high CBD and low THC.

Although the exact amounts will vary from person to person and depending on how strong the pain feels, many find they can manage their symptoms with a daily dose of 250mg to 500mg of CBD. When taken consistently, the high CBD and low THC treatment helps reduce depression, anxiety, inflammation, insomnia, and difficulty managing pain. For some, this allows patients to stop taking opioids and anti-depressants.

The 2016 follow-up research by Dr. Russo concludes that irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, and similar conditions all share clinical patterns that indicate a deficiency in endocannabinoids can be treated with doses of cannabinoid medicines, including cannabis.

Treating and Preventing Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Given everything that we know about the endocannabinoid system, it’s no wonder that societies have used cannabis for thousands of years as treatment. It can tackle everything from epilepsy and headaches to nausea and depression. The cannabinoids it provides help our bodies maintain homeostasis, which in return gives our bodies the ability to heal more efficiently.

You’re not bound to smoking weed to take advantage of this treatment for your endocannabinoid system, though. Other ways to boost your system back to homeostasis include:

  • High-quality CBD oil
  • Exercise
  • Essential fatty acids
  • Stress-relieving activities, like meditation

Speaking with your doctor is an important step if you think you suffer from an endocannabinoid deficiency. It’s also worth speaking with your doctor before starting a CBD oil regimen because CBD could interact with prescription medication that you are already taking.

Talking With Your Doctor

The current climate surrounding the legitimacy of cannabis and its legalization in the medical industry continues to be cloudy. If you’re not sure how to bring up the topic with your doctor, then that lack of clarity can feel very intimidating. Not to mention, it’s a challenge for the everyday consumer to fully understand state cannabis laws, especially if they’re changing often as they are in many states.

Still, CBD continues to gain more and more momentum as a treatment option, with a long list of health benefits to boast, and with more and more patients asking their doctors how to add it to their treatment plan. In fact, it’s believed CBD sales will balloon as much as 700 percent by 2020.

One reason for this is the CBD’s ability to reach several receptors in the body without impairing memory or locomotor skills. The endocannabinoid system is the reason for this as it’s a complex network of receptors and chemicals capable of interacting with cannabis’ CBD very well.

So how can you talk with your doctor about CBD, and how can you navigate the cloudy climate of cannabis in 2019? So far, 31 states and the District of Columbia allow patients to access some means of legal medical cannabis. You can even access CBD in Guam and Puerto Rico. This near-nationwide access has allowed doctors’ stigma to slowly shed with regard to the plant.

Why Talk To Your Doctor, Even When It’s Awkward

Although CBD is safe and does not result in intoxication, it’s still possible for CBD to interact with prescription medications. In particular, it can interact with the cytochrome P450 liver enzymes, which metabolizes a substantial percentage of the drugs that patients are on.

If your doctor doesn’t have a problem with your use of cannabis and knows the science behind CBD oil, then feel free to ask them as many questions as you can think of. For example, your doctor may be able to give you suggestions on the best combination of chemicals to try for your pains, as well as the best dose and delivery method. Finally, you’ll also know what side effects to expect, too.