Cannabis and Chronic Diseases
In recent years there has been an astronomical increase in chronic illness, especially in the younger generation. Roughly, six out of every ten Americans have a chronic disease. Not only does this put a huge toll on the quality of Americans lives, but it is also making a massive impact on healthcare cost.
Doctors are prescribing more, and more medication to treat one symptom after another. But what if I told you there may be a better solution out there? A substance that does not require the user to take additional medication to treat the side effect of the first. Cannabinoids, a natural compound found in marijuana, can restore balance to our endocannabinoid system, which frequently leads to illness when imbalanced.
What is the Endocannabinoid system?
The Endocannabinoid System’s (ECS) primary objective is to keep our body in or as close to homeostasis as possible. Our body naturally produces cannabinoids, referred to as endocannabinoids, “endo,” meaning from within or internally.
The endocannabinoids interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors, which can be found “throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.” Although the ECS has a primary objective of hemostasis, it plays a role in various actions and pathways in almost all areas of the human body. For instance, it assists in the reduction of inflammation and healing of wounds but also influences our behavior by acting upon neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin.
It is essential to recognize that the ECS communicates with every cell type and “its complex actions in our immune system, nervous system, and all of the body’s organs, is literally a bridge between body and mind.” It is evident that the ECS performs a crucial role in our health, and the more about this fascinating system that is discovered only more good things are bound to prosper for our healthcare system.
What is a Chronic Disease?
Before we dive into how deficiency within the ECS can lead to disease, it is necessary to understand what chronic disease is and how it is defined. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a chronic illness is a “conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.” This includes ailments like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease, just to name a few.
How Does Endocannabinoid Deficiency Lead to Chronic Illness?
As previously stated, the ECS is essential to maintaining numerous “body processes.” When the ECS is unbalanced, it leads to the development of diseases. It is believed that this is a result of our bodies not producing a sufficient number of endocannabinoids for normal function to occur. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency was first introduced by Dr. Ethan Russin in 2004 while studying the reasoning behind the illness, such as “migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions.”
How Can the Endocannabinoid System Be Balanced?
Dr. Ethan Russin concluded that clinical endocannabinoid deficiency can be treated by consumption of cannabinoids from outside sources, such as cannabis. The cannabinoids found in marijuana, interact with the ECS in a similar way that the endocannabinoids naturally found in our bodies do. Cannabinoids, such a CBD, block CB2 receptors, which in turn inhibits the production of the enzyme that break them down. This reaction results in an increase in the endocannabinoids available, thus restoring balance in the ECS.
The rise of chronic disease is a serious problem among all generations that needs to be examined by all. The use of cannabinoids, like CBD and CBN, is an excellent option for many patients, as it does not typically produce adverse side effects, it is easily accessible, and extremely affordable compared to conventional treatment methods prescribed by physicians. Despite the fact that there is still a lot to be learned about the ECS, it is indisputable that the use of cannabinoids is beneficial for individuals with chronic illness.