When you consider that your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the connecting communication system between all the other systems within your body, it’s importance in your overall lifestyle choices should seriously climb.  Now consider that the purpose of this vast interconnected communication center is to maintain homeostasis (balance) in those systems and for you as a whole, it adds even more weight. 

Dustin Sulak, DO explains that “cannabinoids promote homeostasis at every level of biological life, from the sub-cellular, to the organism, and perhaps to the community and beyond.”  Honestly, I couldn’t agree more with his hypothesis.  The more I research and the more we continue to uncover about the amazing potential of the ECS and cannabinoids, the more my mind is blown and my perspective expands on its growing importance in our world today. 

Ethan Russo, MD proposed that Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency be added to the lengthy list of medical conditions.  After the significant link between certain treatment-resistant syndromes like fibromyalgia, IBS and migraines and a dysfunctional endocannabinoid system was found, the growing list of supporting practitioners continues to grow by the day. 

There is also growing evidence that supporting your ECS with a high-quality full-spectrum hemp oil that is rich in phytocannabinoids can prove extremely powerful for not only people dealing with fibromyalgia, IBS and migraines … but an ever-growing list of other conditions, too.  From anxiety to depression, to cancer and cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, pain syndromes and inflammatory conditions and seizures … the potential of cannabinoids and a fully fueled ECS is far reaching. 

But what else can you do to support this critical system?

  • FOCUS ON FATS! HEALTHY fats support the body’s natural production of endocannabinoids and receptors and for proper functioning of the ECS as a whole.  Without the right type of fats in their membranes, cells do not function properly … and the ECS is no different. 
  • STRESS-MANAGEMENT HABITS: Properly functioning cannabinoid receptors are critical to a healthy stress response.  Chronic stress causes down-regulation of CB1 receptors which occurs throughout the brain and results in an on-going cycle of endocannabinoid deficiency.  Find your zen, because it can be different for everyone.  Meditation, walking in nature, singing your favorite songs, reading encouraging material, etc.  Avoid alcohol as it has negative effects on the ECS and just like chronic stress, has been found to slow the growth and repair of new endocannabinoid receptors.
  • REGULAR HEALTHY EXERCISE. When you exercise, you enhance and strengthen your ECS!  Exercise increases the sensitivity of cannabinoid receptors in the part of the brain that activates pleasure and also increased endocannabinoid production. Turns out the singing and dancing are particularly beneficial for cannabinoid production!  Heard of the runner’s high when endorphins are released from the brain when you exercise?  Well, the ECS is strongly linked to this!  Turns out there are lots of rewards for us that are associated with exercise!
  • GOOD SLEEP HYGIENE – The daily recovery process from all the day’s “trash” and toxins that are produced from just being alive is dependent on regular, quality sleep. It gives us the opportunity for a fresh start everyday and is essential for our ability to adapt to stress … which we know is intimately linked with our ECS. 
  • ROUTINE CHIROPRACTIC CARE! Proper adjustments to the spine actually improve the tone of the autonomic system (which is responsible for all of our “auto-pilot” processes like heart rate, digestion, and immune responses), nervous system and have been directly linked with improved function of the ECS, too. 

All of the above suggestions do more than just support your ECS.  Their side benefits are far reaching and have a “synergy effect”.  Instead of 1+1+1 equaling 3 … the result is significantly multiplied by the compound effect they have. 

Dr. Russo refers to this as the entourage effect in explaining why full spectrum cannabinoid products are far superior than drug or isolate versions.  A study conducted on seizure patients in comparing dosage differences between the CBD isolate vs. full spectrum hemp oil found that they only needed 22% of the dosage when using the full spectrum compound.  What’s the point of even making the isolate then?  And taking it a step further and SYNTHETICALLY re-creating what nature has done?  I wish I had a different answer, but I am pretty certain it comes back to money and business profits … unfortunately. 

I do believe that God created cannabinoids and our endocannabinoid system to support us while we are here.  I also believe there is room for the power of the mind and our thoughts in our health care system today.  Change your thoughts and you can change your life … and your health.  I am also believing more and more everyday that the ECS is a connecting bridge to all of this. 

Bradley E. Alger, Ph.D., researcher and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, summed it up perfectly when he called the ECS “one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health…the endocannabinoids are literally a bridge between body and mind.” 

By understanding the ECS with its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system and all of the body’s organs, we begin to see a mechanism that explains how states of consciousness can promote health or disease.  And this is probably an area that fascinates and intrigues me more than any other!  So stay tuned … more on this to come …