Endocannabinoid Deficiency and its role in Chronic Illnesses
For those who are suffering from chronic illness, cannabis is undoubtedly a godsend herb. From those dealing with the rage of irritated digestive systems, to the ones fighting global musculoskeletal pain, and the millions who report that the anguish in their heads is just the beginning of their symptoms—cannabis can help these fighters with their load of physical woes.
The theory of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CED) explains that these health conditions are because of a deficiency in endocannabinoid levels, similar to the way neurotransmitter deficiencies are behind other illnesses. Like serotonin deficiency in depression and anxiety. In plain words, the theory suggests that the cause of these syndromes is an insufficient amount of endocannabinoids functioning in the ECS.
From the paper: “If endocannabinoid function were decreased, it follows that a lowered pain threshold would be operative, along with derangements of digestion, mood, and sleep among the almost universal physiological systems subserved by the endocannabinoid system (ECS).”
Migraines have been with humans for a long time. But because this isn’t a deadly condition, people usually take it lightly by taking an aspirin and let time solve the issue. This has led to a massive lack of scientific research into the condition. There is still a lot we don’t understand about migraines. Although we know it’s correlated with an increase in serotonin levels in the brain, we also know correlation does not mean connection.
The endocannabinoid anandamide, with its significant effects on pain regulation and serotonin transmission, will actively help those suffering from migraines. THC in cannabis mimics the shape of anandamide and therefore may reproduce its therapeutic effects. The only drawback is that THC is said to deteriorate the problem in low doses. Only with a larger intake will there be supposed benefits.
This last disorder is a neuropsychiatric one that causes pain and is also associated with serotonin. Currently, where it’s legal, cannabis is already being prescribed as a medicine for fibromyalgia. This is one of the conditions where there actually is a decent amount of scientific research, although more is always needed. In both a 2008 and a 2011 paper, researchers witnessed a significant improvement in pain and anxiety.
How CBD Helps
Unlike THC, CBD does not bind directly to any cannabinoid receptors. Instead, one of its primary functions is subduing the release of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). This enzyme breaks down anandamide, one of our endogenous cannabinoids. This means that by suppressing FAAH, CBD will “enhance endocannabinoid tone” and induce medicinal benefits therein.
As you now know, with a condition like migraines, anandamide plays an important role. THC mimics its shape and could therefore lead to similar results. CBD is gaining a lot of adhesion as a powerful anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and analgesic, yet there is still no conclusive answer on whether CBD can relieve migraines with the same anecdotal success as THC-rich medicine.
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; this is what has led to the hypothesis that they are all indicators 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.