Are you or is someone you really care about dealing with a cannabinoid deficiency?
If so, what does that mean, and is cannabis the only option in terms of supplementation?
Such great questions!
While I’m not going super-deep into the subject, to provide decent up-to-date answers we must begin with a basic understanding of the Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS).
The ECS in a Hemp Shell
Okay, so when it comes to most other physiological systems – cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, etc. – we’ve got a complete or near-complete understanding because we’ve fully dissected them. For example, we know how many muscles we have, where they are, what they do, and how they work together.
The ECS is substantially different.
Not only was it recently discovered within the last 30-40 years, research has really only just begun thanks to primarily the U.S. cannabis revolution. While conventional scientific studies are still somewhat limited, what we know is it’s an incredibly well-distributed system of receptors, spread throughout the human brain, vital organs, skin, soft tissue, and on and on.
While it interacts with most every other system in your body, it’s designed to regulate rather than be an integral part – not structural. For example, it helps maintain balance in the immune system rather than directly fighting off an infection.
The ECS functions as a network of receptors with a primary focus of maintaining homeostasis; specifically system by system, organ by organ, as well as holistically from cell to psychological. To do this your body produces two ‘Endo’, or endogenous, cannabinoids, that synergistically interact with the two primary receptors of the system – CB1 & CB2.
We call these cannabinoids because they’re analogous, or mimetic to ‘Phyto’, meaning plant-based cannabinoids, THC and CBD. Although there’s growing evidence other plant chemicals interact with the ECS as well. But in terms of cannabis, yes, your body creates chemicals that are exact matches to chemicals created by these specific plants.
So, logic follows, by supplementing phyto-based cannabinoids, you can empower the ECS. And, should there be a deficit, this supplementation could help.
What’s an ECS Deficiency?
As of the moment I’m writing this article going into late 2018, there is no mainstream medical diagnosis, but it’s being called Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) thanks to emerging research spearheaded by Dr. Ethan Russo among others. His paper ‘Clinical Cannabinoid Deficiency’ got the ball rolling around 2004. Don’t worry, more answers are coming. ECS-based science is currently shaking the foundations of ‘Western’ medicine.
To quote his initial findings,
“Subsequent research has confirmed that underlying endocannabinoid deficiencies indeed play a role in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and a growing list of other medical conditions. Clinical experience is bearing this out. Further research and especially, clinical trials will further demonstrate the usefulness of medical cannabis. As legal barriers fall and scientific bias fades this will become more apparent.”
Look around, what’s essentially going on is phytocannabinoid supplementation on a monumental, trillion $$$ scale while post WW2 medical systems are for the most part…failing into piles of debt and corporate/political corruption.
Now, in terms of an ECS deficiency, I’m no doctor but these four ways make the most sense:
- There are too many substances or chemicals from inside and out, interrupting your ECS’s ability to do its job, whether in one system or many.
- The ECS, for some reason, isn’t synthesizing and utilizing enough endocannabinoids.
- There exists some kind of breakdown between receptors and endocannabinoids in one system or many.
- The ECS simply doesn’t have enough receptors in a given area of the body, or within a system, to maintain homeostasis.
But again, let me stress, you would find it VERY challenging to see any doctor for any medical issue and get a CECD diagnosis right now. The situation’s evolving quickly though.
Any Official CECD Symptoms?
Because of the profound nature of the ECS, one could say they’re dealing with a cannabinoid deficiency for just about anything – insomnia, anxiety and depression, cancer, emotional or psychological imbalances, inflammatory issues, etc.
No wonder there’s so much uproar and confusion – is cannabis as a potent source, a medicine or a nutritional supplement? Should we start including non-psychoactive phytocannabinoids like CBD in the food supply to help address widespread CECD symptoms in our society?
The argument’s brewing, meanwhile demand for phytocannabinoids is reaching so high into the heavens you’ve got legal battles raging across America. For example, California state officials recently said No to CBD in Foods, and Supplements, based on old out of date, non-science federal law (but you can get cannabinoids legally via marijuana dispensaries).
It’s a good thing, and will force the cannabis community to prove otherwise, which it will – namely that phytocannabinoids like CBD can safely be used as food additives. Afterall, not only are phytocannabinoids being found in other plants, but as I mentioned earlier, other very common plant compounds are being observed interacting with the ECS.
Speaking of which…
How to Supplement the ECS
Essentially, if government agencies were to try and make all phytocannabinoids illegal, they would have to get rid of produce departments in supermarkets.
The most potent source in nature that we’re aware of, both in terms of cannabinoids as well as synergistic terpenes (aromatic plant chemical compounds), is Marijuana. The second most potent source is industrial hemp, especially for less psychoactive compounds.
Over the last decade, other named sources I could find include:
- Black pepper
- Echinacea – Alkylamides
- Daisies, like the Amazonian Electric Daisy
- Herbs like the South African Woolly Umbrella (Helichrysum)
If we take an even bigger step back, evidence is mounting that shows Beta-caryophyllene is a dietary cannabinoid. Will governments outlaw this? It’s among the most abundant plant essential oil component in nature! Point being, outside of supplementing with marijuana or hemp extracts, edibles, etc., to empower your ECS eat organic foods high in beta-caryophyllene (BCP).
Because it interacts directly with the CB2 receptor, leaving CB1 alone (the one THC interacts with) there’s HUGE potential for ECS supplementation without the presence of psychoactivity, similar to industrial hemp.
Check out this data published in 2008 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), where they summarized:
“Here, we report that the widespread plant volatile β-caryophyllene (BCP) selectively binds to the CB2 receptor and that it is a functional CB2 agonist. Intriguingly, BCP is a common constituent of the essential oils of numerous spice and food plants and a major component in Cannabis.”
My best advice right now to anyone interested in this subject, is conduct your own research. There’s a fair amount to digest not only in terms of the ECS, and relative deficits, but phytocannabinoids.
If you’ve already done a bit and are ready to supplement, I personally suggest MICRO DOSING.
Meaning, whether you go for a marijuana or full spectrum hemp extract, or even an essential oil high in BCP, start with a very small dosage. Maybe that’s one puff off a joint, a couple drops from a tincture, a nibble off a marijuana edible, a little bit of hemp honey, or a rice-grained portion of extract…start small.
Do your homework. Experiment. Phytocannabinoids could be just the herb-based nutrition supplementation your ECS needs to pick up some of the slack. In coming years cannabis research is going to completely map the ECS, and consumption methods will also sort themselves out in terms of both marijuana and hemp. Until then, it’s up to us, the people, to repair the damage done by cannabis prohibition (a crime against humanity in my opinion) and relearn everything our ancestors already understood.
Oh, and if you need quality industrial hemp extract, don’t forget about Hemp for Fitness 🙂