Our bodies contain many unique physiologic systems whose sole purpose is to maintain an internal balance called homeostasis. We know the pancreas releases insulin to balance sugar levels between the bloodstream and cells. The thyroid gland releases thyroid hormone, which regulates vital bodily functions related to metabolism, body temperature plus much more. In other words, our bodies are working constantly to stay balanced in response to our external environment.
In the pursuit to understand how THC causes its well known intoxicating effects, scientists learned that we now have one more regulatory physiologic system, known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS), whose role is always to maintain homeostasis in the messages sent between our cells. Further research has shown that sickness, inflammation, and injury will trigger the ECS to adopt action, attempting to reset our internal environment back to homeostasis. This system has been identified as being protective and required for life. What happens if we might target this technique to stop illness and maintain better health?
Endocannabinoids, sometimes called our “inner cannabis,” are synthesized on demand from healthy sources of dietary fat. Cannabinoid receptors sit on the membranes of cells in particular parts of your brain and the entire body, namely areas in the brain that control pain, memory, emotion, motor control, nausea, and appetite, along with the gut, defense mechanisms, and peripheral central nervous system. Should there be a trigger that triggers an imbalance, such as a physical injury or illness, endocannabinoids are released, acting as “keys” that bind for the receptors, which serve as “locks” on our cells. When the receptor is activated, a chemical reaction occurs inside the cell, telling the cell to modify its message.
ECS functioning depends on many factors, including genetics, age, levels of stress, diet, and overall level of health. There may be variants inside the genes that code for your ECS which can lead to propensities for several conditions, like ADHD and PTSD. Additionally, chronic illness, chronic stress or chronic sleep deprivation can result in depletion from the endocannabinoids. These disruptions within the normal functioning in the ECS hinder 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 idea explain therapeutic advantages of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? within the journal Neuroendocrinology Letters. Russo theorized that certain people with the listed conditions responded to cannabis-based treatments simply because they had endocannabinoid deficiencies that allowed the problem to manifest in the first place.
Subsequent research has demonstrated that endocannabinoid deficiency plays a part in autoimmune diseases, epilepsy, complex regional pain syndrome, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, nausea, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, menstrual symptoms, failure to thrive in newborns, along with 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 numerous methods to take better care of your ECS, which will allow it to function properly, avoid deficiencies and maintain homeostasis.
It’s common knowledge that the healthy, balanced eating habits are required for emotional and physical well-being. Your body count on our diet to create the correct quantity of endocannabinoids to function at optimal capacity. Cannabinoids are synthesized from the essential fatty acids in our diets and need a specific balance of omega-6 and omega-3 to be manufactured in the correct quantities.
For maximum bioavailability, the perfect ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids from food is between 5:1 and 1:1, the lower the higher for anyone with chronic illness. Western diets routinely consist of ratios of 20:1, mainly as a result of overconsumption of omega-6 essential fatty acids which come from vegetable oils in numerous packaged foods. Western diets with higher ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids results in a lowering of endocannabinoids, ultimately causing the inability to maintain homeostasis.
Another factor that promotes well-being of the ECS is cardio exercise. Animal studies report that voluntary wheel running increases cannabinoid receptors inside the brain and increases the sensitivity of the receptors to endocannabinoids. Human studies have shown that exercise like running, biking and hiking enhance endocannabinoid levels inside the bloodstream. In fact, endocannabinoids are probably accountable for the phenomenon identified as the “runner’s high.”
Probiotics might also help the ECS. Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic bacteria present in fermented foods including yogurt and sauerkraut, was demonstrated to induce the expression of cannabinoid receptors in 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 one can consciously engage in behavior that promotes mental and physical wellness; although no research has been completed to date, many experts suspect these stress management modalities enhance the ECS thereby promoting homeostasis.
Lastly, have you thought about the capability of cannabis to avoid illness? Plant cannabinoids are well-regarded as very safe and also to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties. In the event of endocannabinoid deficiency, cannabis use could be the correcting compound, eliminating the signs of the disorder. Regular cannabis use can decrease chronic inflammation and buildup of free radicals, each of which are thought to be the root factors behind many conditions, including autoimmune and neurodegenerative disorders.