What Happens When It All Goes Wrong? The ECS works tirelessly to keep our bodies in a state of harmony and balance. But what happens when this system is thrown off and it is no longer functioning properly? Well, there are a myriad of diseases linked to the dysfunction of the ECS and the list continues to grow. As we continue to gain an understanding of ECS-related diseases, we continue to learn the processes that count on the proper functioning of this system. As with most discoveries in science and medicine, we learn what a body system does when it is not functioning properly, and this is the case with the ECS. Research is starting to show that Endocannabinoid Deficiency can present itself clinically as a few different conditions. This article discusses the concept of Endocannabinoid Deficiency. The article explains that there are a few well known and even some unknown conditions that could be linked to Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD). They hypothesize that CECD could be one of the underlying causes of Migraines, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other functional conditions alleviated by clinical Cannabis.
Although this article was a review of available literature at that time (2016), it did provide some great insight. The authors concluded that Migraines, Fibromyalgia, IBS and related conditions do in fact have similar biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that could suggest a clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that could be reasonably treated with Cannabis/Hemp.
What Causes Our ECS To Become Depleted?
There are many reasons why our body lacks endocannabinoids. Two of the most common causes for such a deficiency are our typical Western diet and too much psychological or physical stress. There are some genetic variances that could cause our bodies to either produce too few endocannabinoids or to produce overactive enzymes that decrease the effectiveness of the endocannabinoids.Our typical Western diet lacks a variety of nutrients but is overabundant in the wrong nutrients. This diet is high in trans-fats, which are highly inflammatory, and it is low in the micronutrients (Zinc, Magnesium, B Vitamins, Vitamin C, etc.) that are not only used as the building blocks for all of our body’s systems but also function as co-enzymes for hundreds of biochemical reactions in our body. As mentioned in a previous chapter, our body makes these endocannabinoids from the breakdown of Omega-3 Fatty Acids.The second most common way we deplete our endocannabinoids and cause CECD is through our lack of restful sleep and too much stress, whether it is psychological or physical. Either of these alone or in combination will cause an increase in the hormone Cortisol, our stress hormone. Naturally, this hormone helps regulate our stress response, often referred to as “Fight-or-Flight.” Without going into specifics, this is an amazing and intricate system that our body uses to keep us alive during times of extreme stress, such as when we get into a fight, experience a car accident, or are running from an attacker. This response works at every cell and organ system of our body to ensure our survival; it will activate the release of many hormones, one of which is adrenaline. The problem with our current way of life is that we are under constant low levels of this kind of response due to our stressful jobs, lifestyles, and lack of sleep. Since the ECS works to keep us at a balanced level if we are continuously subjected to high stress our ECS will have to work overtime to keep us at a normal level. Our body is not able to differentiate between the stress of running for your life and the stress of a demanding job. When we encounter a real survival situation, it happens and then it is over. But with our high-stress lifestyle, the stress event does not ever truly end, it becomes a consistent output of low-level stress. Both scenarios elicit the same hormonal response that can cause CECD deficiency. There is now a new term called “Meta-Inflammation” to describe our Western LifeStyle. You can read more about this term here. It is no wonder CECD is becoming more prevalent.