Do You Have Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome?

When cannabis is consumed, there are usually certain personal goals attached. Whether we toke on a joint to better enjoy a concert or smoke a bowl to deal with a headache, there is always a desired effect we’re looking for. The only reason we can experience these different effects is because chemical compounds in cannabis bind and interact with a natural system inside our bodies known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

Cannabinoid receptors are found on numerous sites in the human body, mainly in the form of CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 is predominantly found in the brain and central nervous system. This is the receptor responsible for triggering the psychoactive effects most notably associated with cannabis consumption. THC binds to CB1 receptors quite like a key fits into a lock. CB2 receptors, however, are found mainly outside the nervous system in the immune system. CB2 receptors do not stimulate psychoactivity.

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex system that regulates the homeostasis (balance of the internal medium) of the human body. Its importance has been established in the findings of scientific research into its functions and the physiological systems with which it is related in health and disease. The endocannabinoid system is a system of intercellular communication, which has been characterised, together with all its components: endogenous ligands (AEA and 2-AG), receptors (CB1 and CB2), chemical precursors and degradation enzymes (FAAH and MAGL). In addition to these basic pieces, there are also receptors such as GPR55 and TRPV1, and connected ligands PEA and OEA.

Within the realm of human biology, “homeostasis” is “the physiological process by which the internal systems of the body…are maintained at equilibrium, despite variations in the external conditions.” It’s basically the mechanism by which we maintain critical balances to keep our bodies functioning properly and consistently.

We rely on endocannabinoids for homeostasis, as they handle functions like cell development, healing, pain mitigation and behavior. For this reason, our body contains endocannabinoid receptors in various areas, such as the brain, cells and tissues that absorb and utilize cannabinoids accordingly. In doing so, we retain a certain balance (homeostasis) that allows us to function in a healthy way.

Many diseases are the result of failures in regulatory systems. This is the case, for example, of diseases of the endocrine system, which may be due to excessive or deficient action of the different hormones. Hyper or hypo hormonal functions have also been recognised, such as hyper- and hypothyroidism and diabetes. Such alterations may be genetically determined or acquired. It is therefore easy to postulate that a system as complex as ECS might also present genetic or acquired failures. Given the ubiquity of the system and the great variety of mechanisms and actions it regulates, it is also easy to understand that these failures might be expressed in very varied forms, depending on the organ or system in which they occur.

What is the Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome?

Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is a condition where an individual produces a lower amount of cannabinoids than experts consider to be essential in the promotion of health, vitality, and well-being.

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) is implicated in a spectrum of disorders. As you now know, the endocannabinoid system has receptors all throughout the body. One of its main functions is to keep the body in a state of homeostasis. This translates to keeping it in balance. With unbalanced cannabinoid levels, our bodies do not react positively. A 2016 paper describes the existence of this condition, and we’ll certainly be hearing more about it in the future.

Given what the endocannabinoid system is capable of achieving in our bodies, it’s noteworthy to suggest that phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids found outside the human body) may play a role in treating or reducing the symptoms of numerous conditions

To sum up, a short and precise definition of CEDC would be any condition or illness that stems from a lack of cannabinoids in the body. While our body is very good at producing endocannabinoids, there are various individuals whose levels are not ideal and as such, may suffer. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the conditions currently linked to an endocannabinoid deficiency.

Scientists now believe CECD may play a role in the following conditions:

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

All of the above conditions have elements in common. Frequently, sufferers of one of these illnesses will also display symptoms of other related conditions. This is what’s so interesting about clinical endocannabinoid deficinency; many IBS patients will also report symptoms of migraines, and a majority of fibromyalgia sufferers also show traces of IBS. This is what has led to the hypothesis that they are all manifestations of the same disorder. Only with greater research will we be able to find the answers to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and provide people with the relief they so desire.

Treatment for CEDS

Since Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome is a matter of lacking endocannabinoids, then the logical solution is to provide cannabinoids through external means. It’s essentially the same concept as taking vitamin supplements.

While CBD does not primarily work on the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it does have a positive impact on the body’s homemade cannabinoid, anadamide. CBD can function as an anadamide reuptake and breakdown inhibitor. This means that CBD can prevent the breakdown and loss of anadamide in the body. And more anandamide could be just what’s needed for people who are deficient in endocannabinoids.

It would be great if we could give you one number and say is the perfect amount for consumption across the board, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. There are many factors that go into deciding on the ideal serving size and it would be irresponsible to ignore these variations between individuals. If you or someone you know is struggling with migraines, fibromyalgia, IBS, or just chronic pain you may want to consider consulting a cannabis doctor either in person or online to find out how cannabinoid supplements could help.