Dr Ethan Russo, known for his ground-breaking work using medical cannabis with patients suffering from AIDS, Cancer, and Krohn’s Disease, posits that disease is the result of poor endocannabinoid tone. I covered this topic generally in the article Assess the Health of Your Endocannabinoid System, and today we’ll dig a little deeper into the nutrition component of Endocannabinoid Tone as well as the role nutrition plays in the phyto-cannabinoid support medical cannabis offers.
The endocannabinoid system is pervasive throughout the body, both on the outer and inner membranes of every cell, and functions in all tissues and systems throughout the body. Indeed, recent research suggests that even the microbiome in our guts is responsive to the signaling of cannabinoids. Continue reading
The first part of the question is a scientific fact: Cannabinoids are a type of terpenoid–while not all terpenoids are cannabinoids, all cannabinoids are terpenoids. Both endocannabinoids (made in the body) and phyto-cannabinoids (from the cannabis plant) interact with receptors on the cells throughout the body, including the immune system and the central nervous system. The body has two types of receptors: CB1 receptors in the brain and central nervous system and CB2 receptors in the immune system. The cannabinoids in cannabis mimic the natural compounds in your body, binding to receptors inside the body. This binding process is the reason you feel the physical effects of using cannabis as it signals various physiological actions to either up or down regulate toward homeostasis.
Science answers the second part of the question as well: every cell, every tissue, and organ in the body has cannabinoid receptor sites to help sustain harmony and homeostasis within and between body systems. When looking at the earliest stage of disease, scientists discovered that cannabinoid deficiencies correlate strongly to poor health. That’s something we should all care about, right? (For more on how to assess and support endocannabinoid system health, click here.) Continue reading
It’s the scent that fills your lungs when hiking in nature–terpenes. The fragrance that captures your mind and takes you into a memory–terpenes. The smell of a delicious meal simmering–terpenes. The waft of a ripe piece of fruit–terpenes. All of them, worthy experiences of the terpene molecule… but terpenes combined with the right ratio of cannabinoids… that’s what makes medical cannabis magical.
Think about all those cannabinoid receptors on every cell in the body. (Read here to learn more about them) If, when a person starts using medical cannabis their endocannabinoid system is significantly compromised, then how will the cannabinoids know which system or organ or tissue or cell to prioritize targetting? Terpenes. Terpenes are a signaling–or communication system–for plants and, it turns out, for humans as well. Continue reading
“Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system.” When I first started looking into using medical cannabis for myself, that’s what the research said. It wasn’t until I’d achieved such remarkable results using medical cannabis for my intractable pain that I started to notice my four-legged family members in their own discomfort and wanted to bring them relief, too. This article is their story.
I started with my 17 year old hound, Jebadiah. In 2012, when Jebbie was 12 years old (and had already lived what most would call a full dog’s life,) he got in a fight with a brown bear…and lost. He dragged himself home, and it took several months before he could stand on his hind end–and, even then, it was both back legs working as one. It was no wonder to us that, as he aged, his back end was a source of pain and decreasing mobility for him. He had also developed glaucoma–his eyes were clouded over, and he moved like he couldn’t see very well, if at all. When I started to give him an infused-oil medical cannabis tincture, it was primarily–I thought–to give him relief in his last days… Continue reading
Did you know that every cell has 15,000 biochemical interactions every second? And, did you know that there are, on average, 38 billion cells in a human body? 38 billion cells, each processing 15,000 chemical interactions per second. That’s a lot of processes per second! And how does the body keep it all working effectively? Cannabinoids.
Yep. Every cell has cannabinoid receptors–both on the exterior and interior of the cell. The cannabinoids connect to the cell’s physiology via receptor sites and modulate the 15,000 biochemical interactions to make sure they are in harmony with each other and maintain the homeostasis of a healthy body and balanced (ie happy) mental and emotional attitude. In fact, the current hypothesis amongst scientists studying the Endocannabinoid System is that a deficiency of cannabinoids is the very first indicator of declining health. Eventually disease follows if not restored. Continue reading
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the late 1960’s was nothing short of revolutionary in the field of health and medicine. Purely by chance, the stories say, researchers discovered a subtle, signaling system within the body that maintains a “homogenous” state–or harmony–between all of the various biochemical actions in the body. Human bodies make endocannabinoids that click into receptor sites on and within every cell membrane, to “down-regulate” any bodily system’s activity and restore or maintain balance.
For example, the immune system is down-regulated by the endocannabinoid system to stop attacking its own tissues… as happens in the case of autoimmune conditions. Neurotransmitters that agitate and cause anxious feelings can be down-regulated to assist the mind to a calmer state. Over stimulated nerve centers–the source of pain and seizures–can be down-regulated to slow/stop the 0ver-firing and result in relief. These are just a few examples. The list covers every biochemical action in the body–that’s how pervasive the endocannabinoid system is. Continue reading
Determining the right dose when using a whole plant medicine like medical cannabis is important. Each plant grows uniquely, influenced by its own genetics and the environment to produce a slightly different result with each grow cycle. A person can even go to the same dispensary and purchase the same form of medical cannabis and still find the effect in his or her body to have changed somewhat. Every plant is unique so, unless using the same plant that made the previous recipe, the dosing must be determined anew.
Start with that. That’s the reason why. The “how-to” is actually straightforward and methodical. Start low and go slow when increasing. If you are using any type of medical cannabis that is ingested orally (infused foods or oils,) wait an hour to gauge effect before taking more. Tinctures–15 minutes. Continue reading
You may have never heard the term “terpene” before, but I promise you that you have experienced a terpene or two in your life… because terpenes give scent to everything. That’s right. If you can smell it, there is at least one type of terpene molecule meeting up with your olfactory senses.
The aroma of an excellent meal cooking…. terpenes. Those essential oils that uplift or relax or cleanse… terpenes. The fragrance in your shampoo and hygiene products… terpenes. Terpenes are already well known, used, and appreciated in our culture so what makes them the leading edge of medical cannabis? Continue reading
When I first began my foray into the vast research opportunity of medical cannabis, I had no idea where the trail would lead–only that my interest was sparked by the relief from pain I was finding with hemp Cannabidiol aka CBD. Looking first to better understand the concept of the “entourage effect” created by using the whole cannabis plant, I was both surprised and delighted to discover that research into cannabis lead into a major medical discovery: the Endocannabinoid System in the body of all mammals.
Israeli scientists discovered the ECS while tracking down how THC and CBD interact with a body’s bio-chemistry…only to realize that every cell–both inside and out–have cannabinoid receptor sites. Every tissue, every organ, every system in the body is regulated by a signaling system triggered by these receptor sites being joined by either an endocannabinoid (molecules originating in the body) or an exo-cannabinoid (molecules originating outside the body like cannabinoids that are in cannabis). The Endocannabinoid System, then, is a system regulating homeostasis in everything from the hormonal system to the nervous system, the immune system and back again, and our bodies actually make molecules that function identically to CBD and THC to effect that balance. Continue reading
Nothing demands our attention like pain. Whether it is physical or emotional or mental or spiritual, chronic or acute–pain alters our experience until we respond to its demands.
Sometimes we think we have successfully compartmentalized the dull nerve ache or breaking heart ache or the mental anguish ache well enough to hide from others the distress of pain. But we are only fooling ourselves–the pain is evident in our facial expression, our body posture, the undertone of our comments… pain impacts all activity and every relationship until we listen to its demands.
I’ve looked at pain from many sides now… living the emotional pain of a traumatic childhood, enduring the chronic pain of spinal cord injury, assisting others to deal with the various pains in their lives as a psychotherapist… just to name a few. In all instances, whether the pain was mental, emotional, spiritual, or physical, it demanded the same result: relief. Continue reading