Cannabis Class 1.0 Why do so many people benefit from Cannabis?

What is missing in our lives that makes so many people seem to benefit from cannabis or CBD?

If you live a life of purity and sufficiency in your diet, exercise, hygiene, relationships, etc, you should be optimally expressing health. This is a basic understanding of the chiropractic point of view on life. But the number patients disclosing to me that they use cannabis or CBD to manage health conditions with favorable results has been increasing exponentially over the past several years as the stigma around the plant disappears and more states are moving towards legalization.

Why should they need cannabis? Some of them have really healthy lifestyles. But they are experiencing benefits all the same. Are they actually deficient in some way that is hiding, or toxic in some way that is unavoidable? Why do so many people experience benefits from consuming either cannabis or CBD? After all, these plants only affect the body because we make our own chemistry that is similar to the plant. Why aren’t more of us completely good on our own supply?

Aside from the most extreme conclusion that humans developed with exposure to various psychoactive plants and fungi and we actually have a deficiency of psychoactive chemistry in our diet (this has actually been proposed by a growing number of thinkers) – I have come up with a few reasons people may be deficient in their own cannabinoids.

First – What to do with the knowledge in this article?

This article is meant to inform you on the science about cannabinoids but should not be taken as medical advice. Please talk to your healthcare provider before starting any supplements, and follow your state laws.

The challenge

More importantly, the environmental stimuli responsible for the production and release of endocannabinoids are also unknown, making it difficult to assess the physiological and behavioural functions of anandamide and 2-AG.

We don’t know that much about the endocannabinoid system. We know of a few situations where anandamide is increased, we know some of its functions, but the body’s own cannabinoids weren’t even discovered until 1992. There may even be a CB3 receptor in addition to CB1 and CB2. We’re still in the dark ages about this.

This is a big concern for me when working with isolates of plant compounds or when consuming pharmaceuticals. It’s very easy to cause unforeseen consequences when modifying nature in any significant way. This is the main reason I look for herbal supplements that come in their most natural forms. Consuming a pure CBD isolated supplement just doesn’t feel right to me. It clashes with my holistic view of plant interaction. I’ve been tincturing my own medicinal herbs for years. While I haven’t done so with cannabis, when I do purchase supplements made by others, I closely scrutinize how they are prepared and look for companies doing it the same way I would.

Genetic Predisposition and Diaspora

Certain people have a genetic variant that causes them to have naturally higher levels of anandamide, your body’s cannabinoid. As this is genetic, we can look for concentrations of this variant across populations. It turns our that equatorial and tropical nations have a tendency to have the genetic variant that results in higher anandamide. The premise is that climate has some role in why certain populations would benefit from higher levels of anandamide.

“We cannot fail to notice the high occurrence of the A allele in equatorial and tropical environments in the Americas and Africa and the lower occurrence of that allele around the Mediterranean Sea than in Northern Europe,”

So what happens if you have that variant and are shifted from a tropical environment to a colder environment away form the equator? I think people underestimate the challenge of environments and diets that are far different from those their genetic ancestry comes from. The first nations people of Australia and the Americas can illustrate the problems that can result from massive dietary shifts, and also how powerful the restoration of an ancestral nutrition program can be.

Omega 3’s

To further showcase just how little we know about the endocannabinoid system a new set of molecules was discovered in 2016 that have some beneficial health effects. It turns out that Omega 3 fatty acids are partially converted into molecules that work with the endocannabinoid system to decrease inflammation and cause vasodilation.

The health benefits of ω-3 fatty acids are mediated, in part, through metabolic conversion to bioactive epoxides. Here we detail the discovery and initial characterization of naturally occurring ω-3–derived endocannabinoid epoxides that are formed via enzymatic oxidation of ω-3 endocannabinoids by cytochrome P450s. These dual functional ω-3 endocannabinoid epoxides are anti-inflammatory and vasodilatory and reciprocally modulate platelet aggregation. By virtue of their physiological properties, they are expected to play important roles in neuroinflammation and in cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke.

The optimal omega 3 to omega 6 ration (complicated topic, too big to explore here) is about 1 to 1 omega 6 to 3. The typical American diet has a ratio of 18 to 1 omega 6 to 3. And the ratio is critical for many health outcomes.

Exercise

Runners high is a endocannabinoid related phenomenon. The basic premise is that the reduction in pain sensitivity from anandamide release is useful for pushing people through the pain and suffering of long distance running. This is only one component. It turns out that synergistic activity of the vanilloid receptor with anadamide is also a vasorelaxant, and cannabinoids also act as bronchodilators, which means that the body may be producing anandamide to regulate blood flow and oxygenation as much as to decrease pain.

So, if anandamide acts as a vasodilator and bronchodilator in exercise, could CBD result in a  decrease in blood pressure? The research says there is an effect.

This data shows that acute administration of CBD reduces resting BP and the BP increase to stress in humans, associated with increased HR. These hemodynamic changes should be considered for people taking CBD. Further research is required to establish whether CBD has a role in the treatment of cardiovascular disorders.

Exercise Addiction and Cannabis Addiction

Exercise addiction is real. As a chiropractor I have encountered it on a number of occasions. Not being able to exercise because of injury causes real problems for some people. This addictive nature of exercise may be the result of endocannabinoid activity in response to the exercise. If anandamide can cause addiction to long distance running, does that mean cannabis can cause physical addiction? This gets really interesting, so I’m going to dump a science quote on you and then explain it.

Long distance running has been described as “addictive.” This is not unlike the anecdotal “withdrawal” experiences usually described as a dysphoric state by many runners when forced by knee problems to switch to an alternative activity. Recent studies have resolved a long debated argument about the addictive properties of cannabinoids. Rodents previously exposed chronically to high doses of THC and then treated with a CB1 receptor antagonist such as SR141716A do, in fact, show signs of withdrawal syndrome.

The somatic signs of withdrawal include wet dog shakes, front paw tremor, body tremor, hypolocomotion, ataxia, mastication, piloerection, excessive licking, scratching, and rubbing. It has been suggested that the failure to observe severe withdrawal symptoms in humans chronically exposed to marijuana may relate to the long half life of THC and its metabolites. This is compounded by the fact that THC and its psychoactive metabolites are extremely lipophilic. Thus, they are stored in fatty tissues and released slowly into the blood stream once abstinence is experienced. Collectively, these factors could counter acute withdrawal symptoms when chronic use of cannabis is terminated in both non-humans and humans.

What I am taking away from this quote is that cannabis may be physically addictive, but it may not show physical withdrawal symptoms after quitting cold turkey because there is still enough THC stored in the body that will be slowly released over time, curbing the withdrawal symptoms.

Flow state

Flow is that “in the zone” state of being. It’s where you are completely absorbed in a task or event. Performance is amplified massively and you get stuff done fast and done well. People who enjoy their lives tend to spend a great deal of their time in flow, at work, or socially. A great conversation where time disappears is just example of a socially induced flow state.

I believe fewer and fewer of us are accessing flow as often as our ancestors. Many of our ancestral activities were naturally flow inducing, and flow triggers the release of anandamide.

 Large quantities of norepinephrine, dopamine, endorphins, anandamide, and serotonin flood our system. All are pleasure-inducing, performance-enhancing chemicals with considerable impacts on creativity. Both norepinephrine and dopamine amp up focus,  boosting imaginative possibilities by helping us gather more information. They also lower signal-to-noise ratios, increasing pattern recognition or our ability to link ideas together in new ways. Anandamide, meanwhile, increases lateral thinking—meaning it expands the size of the database searched by the pattern recognition system. 

So in the flow state, anandamide does what artists have often used cannabis for, to stimulate creativity. being in flow, the natural release of anandamide in flow, may be something we require for cannabinoid sufficiency.

In conclusion

A life rich in positive experiences that cause us to lose ourselves in them, with an optimized Omega 3 to 6 fatty acid ratio, with plenty of exercise, while living in the land of our genetic ancestry, isn’t that common. Perhaps if we were able to live more optimized lives we wouldn’t notice any benefits from the use of exogenous cannabinoids. Or perhaps those crazy fellows who believe we are deficient in psychoactive secondary plant chemistries are correct.

Either way, the more we know about how our bodies work and interact with the natural world around us, the better off we are. I would encourage you to examine ways you can improve your lifestyle to optimize the function of our endocannabinoid system. It’s good for us all when people are healthy and happy.

In the spirit of capitalism

This is a blatant capitalist ploy to earn a commission on a quality product that I have had good experiences with. Clicking on the image below will take you to the website for the company I use. Purchasing through this link does not affect your purchase price, but does encourage me to continue writing more posts like this and share them publicly.

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