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What is An Endocannabinoid Deficiency, How To Know If You Have One & How to Fix It

5 min read
What is an endocannabinoid deficiency

What is An Endocannabinoid Deficiency, How To Know If You Have One & How to Fix It

5 min read
If you’ve been feeling off balance recently, you may be struggling with an endocannabinoid deficiency. Read on to find out what that is & how to fix it.

There’s still so much we don’t know about the human body and how it works

For example, the first cannabinoid receptor was only uncovered in 1988, and it would be another two years before the rest of the endocannabinoid system was uncovered. 

endocannabinoid deficiency

Given what we now know about the ECS, it seems remarkable that we’ve only understood how some of these systems work for the past 30 years or so

It is involved in everything from sleep, memory, appetite and pain response.

And as much as we’ve learned about the ECS, there is still so much we don’t know about how it works

We know that CBD oil can interact with this system, but there is still a lot to learn about how it helps.

Some have speculated that it could result from endocannabinoid deficiencies, but this is still up for debate within the medical community.

What's in this Guide?

What is an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors, neurotransmitters (called endogenous cannabinoids) and enzymes. 

Neurotransmitters work by sending messages between cells.

Endocannabinoid deficiency is still just a medical theory. It suggests that some people might not produce enough endogenous cannabinoids for the body to function correctly. 

It could also mean that there are missing or faulty receptors.

Like a serotonin shortage is linked to depression, a shortage of endocannabinoids could trigger a waterfall of symptoms throughout the body.

In one study, Dr Ethan B. Russo suggests that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) could be linked to migraines, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome

However, these three conditions are often linked, and the causes are still a mystery.

Since the ECS is thought to be a key modulator for the systems affected by these conditions, the author suggests that CED could be to blame.

What Causes Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

While we still don’t know the exact cause, a few theories could explain why some people respond well to CBD oil and others have no response. 

The main theories about what causes the endocannabinoid system to malfunction include:

Not enough cannabinoid receptors. 

If there aren’t enough receptors, then messages will not be passed between cells.

An imbalance of metabolic enzymes 

When the endogenous cannabinoids have done their job, FAAH and MAGL 
enzymes move in to break them down. 

If this is happening too early before the cannabinoids have a chance to do their job, this will lead to a deficiency.

The body isn’t creating enough endocannabinoids 

Your body needs to produce AEA and 2-AG cannabinoid compounds for the system to function. 

If the body doesn’t produce enough, or they are incomplete, the endocannabinoids won’t be able to bind with the receptors.

Insufficient action between endocannabinoids and receptors

Where there isn’t sufficient communication between compounds and receptors, the system is unable to function correctly.

What causes an endocannabinoid deficiency
Considering we only learnt that the endocannabinoid system existed in the 1990s, it's no surprise that we don't know too much about endocannabinoid deficiencies

How Do You Know if You Have an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

If you suffer from migraines, fibromyalgia or IBS, you may eventually stumble across the theory that these conditions are linked by the endocannabinoid system.

At the moment, there is so little research into the role and function of the ECS that it’s difficult to diagnose a deficiency. 

Symptoms of CED might include lowered pain threshold and poor regulation of digestion, mood and sleep.

Individuals with migraines, fibromyalgia, and IBS often present similar symptoms that doctors cannot explain with blood tests or other diagnostic tools.

IBS, for example, is still a mystery to the medical community

Some have proposed it could result from food poisoning or antibiotic use in those genetically predisposed to sensitivities. But this hasn’t been proven.

Read more: CBD oil for IBS

Instead, Dr Russo suggests that IBS is the result of a poorly functioning ECS. It occurs as a result of poor signalling between the gut and brain

This leads to an exaggerated sensitivity to pain.

signs of an endocannabinoid deficiency
People with an endocannabinoid deficiency often live with chronic pain

Is There a Test of Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

Unfortunately, we don’t yet have a test to see how well the ECS is functioning

But if you suspect that you might have an endocannabinoid deficiency, CBD oil may help you to enhance your sense of wellbeing.

The cannabis plant produces cannabinoids which are plant-based versions of endogenous cannabinoids. 

We still don’t know how CBD supports the endocannabinoids system, but there is growing evidence to suggest it can be beneficial to help support a healthy lifestyle.

If you take CBD oil and notice your symptoms improving, this could suggest an endocannabinoid deficiency

However, it’s important to remember that CBD oil is not medicine and should not be treated as such.

Is there a test for an endocannabinoid deficiency
If you have any ongoing problems, it's always best to speak with a doctor

How Do You Correct an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

There are a few theories about how CBD oil can help to correct endocannabinoid deficiency.

These include: adding CBD oil to your daily routine, improving your diet, and controlling stress.

CBD oil for endocannabinoid deficiency

FAAH is responsible for breaking down anandamide, ensuring that it does not build up in the body.

However, if the body does not produce enough anandamide, if the anandamide is faulty, or if the FAAH breaks down the anandamide too early, this can lead to problems.

When we take CBD oil, it has been suggested that it is capable of inhibiting FAAH production, allowing your body to produce and use more anandamide.

Taking CBD oil every day is an excellent way to support your overall health, particularly if you suspect your endocannabinoid system might need a boost.

Diet and endocannabinoid deficiency

Another way to support the ECS is through diet. By avoiding inflammatory foods and focusing on a varied diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, individuals can help to support the endocannabinoid system. 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for the development of CB1 receptors.

Stress and endocannabinoid deficiency

And finally, keeping stress under control may also support the ECS. When we are stressed, the body enters a state of “fight or flight”. 

While there may not be a physical threat, our bodies are trained to associate stress with a threat to our lives.

When this happens, the body increases levels of 2-AG endocannabinoid to help lower pain response and boost memory

However, staying in this state for extended periods can put added strain on the ECS and may lead to deficiencies.

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