What Is Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

When you consume any type of cannabinoid, its effects kick in only after the cannabinoid interacts or binds with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system. This system plays a big role in your body, such as allowing you to feel the effects of certain cannabinoids as well as regulating your body functions. However, there are instances where your endocannabinoid system can be put under a lot of stress, which can cause you to develop health conditions. 

In today’s blog, we’re going to discuss a deficiency called endocannabinoid deficiency. With the help of our blog, you can find out what this deficiency is, how it occurs and what its symptoms are. You can also find out how to reduce the chances of you developing this deficiency. 

What Is The Endocannabinoid System?

The endocannabinoid system is a complex biological cell signaling network, that naturally exists in our bodies and it is in charge of regulating the key functions of our brain and body. It was discovered in the 1990s by some researchers who were examining and exploring the THC cannabinoid. There is a range of body functions that this system is in charge which include, sleep, appetite, memory, and mood. 3 main components make up the endocannabinoid system. They are:

  • Endocannabinoids

Endocannabinoids, also known as endogenous cannabinoids, are lipid-based neurotransmitters that are produced by your body. They send signals between the nerve cells of your body and can help with multiple bodily functions. According to research, there are two main types of endocannabinoids present in our bodies, which include:

  • Anandamide (AEA)

This type of endocannabinoid is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for creating a feeling of happiness, bliss, and mental wellness, by interacting and binding with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. This is also why this endocannabinoid is also referred to as the “Bliss Molecule”. 

  • 2-Arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG)

2-AG endocannabinoid is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for pathophysiological functions such as cognition, emotion, pain sensation, and neuroinflammation. This happens after the CB1 receptor is activated by the 2-AG endocannabinoid. 

  • Endocannabinoid Receptors 

Endocannabinoid or cannabinoid receptors are found everywhere in the body, and they’re also involved in several body functions. The endocannabinoids can interact and bind with these receptors, after which the endocannabinoid system will receive a signal that will trigger its response. There are two main endocannabinoid receptors, which are:

  • CB1

These endocannabinoid receptors are located in the central nervous system of the brain and spinal cord. Most of the psychoactive cannabinoids such as THC, Delta 8, HHC, and THC-O bind and interact with the CB1 receptors because they can mediate the psychoactive effects of the cannabinoids such as changes in mood, motor control, etc. 

  • CB2

These endocannabinoid receptors are found in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells. Now while the CB1 receptors are responsible for mediating the psychoactive effects of most cannabinoids, the CB2 receptors are in charge of the anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects or actions.  

  • Enzymes

The enzymes are responsible for breaking down the endocannabinoids that have completed their role or function. The two main enzymes that are responsible for this are:

  • Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase

This enzyme is in charge of breaking down the Anandamide (AEA) endocannabinoid. 

  • Monoacylglycerol Acid Lipase

This enzyme is in charge of breaking down the 2-Arachidonoylglyerol (2-AG) endocannabinoid. 

What Is An Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

What Is Endocannabinoid Deficiency

When lower-than-normal levels of endocannabinoids occur in your body, then a clinical condition called endocannabinoid deficiency occurs. How does this affect the body? 

Dr. Ethan Russo, a board-certified neurologist and the Director of Research and Development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute, proposes that endocannabinoid deficiency in the body could be one of the reasons for incurable syndromes such as migraines, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and fibromyalgia. The endocannabinoid system plays a direct role in coordinating with the main organ systems of the body. A dysfunction such as an endocannabinoid deficiency may directly influence the normal functioning of various organ systems linked to the ECS. 

Moreover, as mentioned earlier, the ECS is involved in regulating various body functions such as sleep, clarity, and mood. If the ECS becomes affected due to endocannabinoid deficiency, then many vital body functions become affected as well.

What Are The Symptoms Of Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

Your body’s ability to keep a constant internal environment can diminish due to the abnormal functioning of the ECS. If you have any of the following symptoms, this may mean your body is suffering from an endocannabinoid deficiency.

  • Unable To Sleep

Research indicates that the working of CB1 receptors of the ECS has a crucial role in controlling parts of the brain and body associated with giving quality sleep. The endocannabinoid anandamide has a direct link to levels of adenosine ( a chemical that influences sleep and arousal). An increased supply of anandamide to the brain enhances adenosine levels in the body, which directly influences a person’s sleep cycle. 

When the body produces insufficient levels of endocannabinoids, it decreases the activity of CB1 receptors. This may affect a person’s natural sleep pattern, causing them to stay awake during the night.

  • Unbalanced Diet

You should eat a diet that contains all essential nutrients for the healthy functioning of your body and the endocannabinoid system. Regular consumption of junk or fatty foods can do more harm than good to the endocannabinoid system. You should also avoid consuming agricultural products that use lots of pesticides and opt for organic food instead. This is because certain pesticides are responsible for disturbing the normal functioning of the ECS.

Frequently Asked Questions?

  • Can Stress Affect The Endocannabinoid System?

Yes, stress has a very strong effect on the endocannabinoid system and its functions. 

  • Can Exercising Help Increase Endocannabinoids?

According to research, exercising can increase the levels of endocannabinoids in your body. 

  • What Type Of Foods Can Increase Your Endocannabinoids?

There are various food types that can help you to improve the functioning of your body’s ECS. These include: 

  • Flax seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Walnuts
  • Sardines and anchovies
  • Omega-3 Eggs
  • Dark chocolate
  • Herbs such as oregano, cinnamon, clove, and hemp
  • Spices such as turmeric

Takeaway – What Is Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Endocannabinoid deficiency is a medical condition that can cause your body’s endocannabinoid levels to be lower than normal. This can occur due to the abnormal working of the body’s ECS. Since our body’s ECS is involved in regulating a number of body functions, any abnormality in the functioning of the ECS can have a direct impact on them.