How to Nurture Your Endocannabinoid System

Have you ever wondered how CBD oil works? It’s thanks to our endocannabinoid system!

Almost all animals have an endocannabinoid system and can benefit from CBD oil. The ECS is like a padlock and cannabinoids are like the key to that lock. We want to keep the health of our endocannabinoid system in mind when making everyday wellness decisions so we can make the most out of the CBD oil we consume.

About the Endocannabinoid System

Full spectrum CBD oil works with your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS includes two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, both of which are abundant within our bodies.

These receptors work hard to process cannabinoids, using molecules called Anandamide and 2-AG (2-Arachidonoyl Glycerol). These molecules are messengers and are made from lipids (fat molecules). These messengers each carry their own special message to the receptor with instructions.     

The ECS also uses enzymes called FAAH and MAGL to tell the messengers when to stop. Researchers are learning more about the ESC every day, the endocannabinoid system is potentially more complex than this, with further research more evidence of the benefits are being revealed.

We can help keep these molecules and enzymes in good shape through diet, and lifestyle choices.

endocannabinoid system health

Food for Endocannabinoid System Health

Recall the lipid-based messengers Anandamide and 2-AG. We want to be able to produce plenty of these, so we need to give our bodies the raw materials to build them. Those raw materials are… fats! Not just any kind of fat (sorry butter). We want healthy fats, specifically omega-3s and 6s.

In today’s culture we already get a lot of omega-6 from grains, so let’s focus on non-grain sources of omega-6. Chicken, eggs, potatoes, nuts & seeds are all food sources of omega-6. As for omega-3, salmon, chia seeds, walnuts, avocado, and hemp seed oil are all excellent food sources. We use hemp seed oil as a carrier oil in our cbd oil tinctures because it is high in omega-3.

Flavonoids and FAAH

Since the FAAH enzyme tells Anandamide to stop, it’s okay if we cut back on FAAH production. We can inhibit FAAH with a flavonoid called kaempferol. Some delicious sources of kaempferol are apples, grapes, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, broccoli, and peaches.

Cocoa for Anandamide

High-quality dark chocolate works with endocannabinoid receptors, so it’s no wonder we love it so much! Not only does it stimulate receptors, but it slows anandamide breakdown. Try having a piece of dark chocolate with your next dose of CBD oil.

dark chocolate endocannabinoid system health

Black Truffles for Anandamide

If for one reason or another dark chocolate isn’t a healthy option for you, try some black truffles! These are related to mushrooms but are a little different. Black truffles are rich in anandamide and taste delicious in a savory dish. In the flavonoids and FAAH section above we mentioned potatoes and onions are excellent sources of FAAH, try making a tasty mashed potato dish with some onions and black truffles sometime!

Probiotics and the Endocannabinoid System

Probiotics are well known as the “Friendly Bacteria” for gut health. In this study, researchers found after 30 days of probiotic treatment, the endocannabinoid system had become activated in zebrafish. You can purchase probiotic supplements or eat food rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, kombucha, many fermented foods are great sources of probiotics.

Tea – Green or Magnolia

Green tea is known for having powerful antioxidant properties, more specifically, it contains antioxidant compounds called catechins. Research has found that catechins work with CB1 cannabinoid receptors. This is one of the reasons why we include decaffeinated green tea extract in our new capsule formula.

Magnolia tea is another option to try. Magnolia extract has been studied for its ability to activate the CB2 receptors. This is thanks to magnolol and honokiol, which are major compounds found in the magnolia extract. Be sure to pair magnolia tea or extract with a meal rich in healthy fats as the active compounds are fat soluble, meaning they need fats in order to be broken down and used.

Activity for Endocannabinoid System Health

Exercise and mediation both play key roles in endocannabinoid system health. While these two things are highly recommended for overall wellness, there is data to suggest ties to endocannabinoid system health.

ECS Responsible for “Runner’s High”?

Many people who run regularly report they experience euphoric effects as a result of about an hour of strenuous cardiovascular exercise. This is casually referred to as the “runner’s high”. Since runners self-report this data, scientists have been lacking insight on the actual biological mechanism that is responsible for this.

Preliminary research suggests that the ECS is the mechanism behind the “runner’s high”. Researchers found that natural endocannabinoid concentrations increased after strenuous exercise. This study also noted that endocannabinoids can help with blood flow and respiratory function. So, it makes sense that the body would want to increase natural endocannabinoid production in response to an intense cardio workout.

The study also mentioned that the “runner’s high” feelings reflected the effects of CBD oil. There are many other health benefits to cardiovascular exercises of course, but in case you need some extra motivation, give it a try to give your ECS a boost.

Meditation

Many people seek anxiety relief from CBD oil. While CBD can help ease anxiety, it’s also important to address the thoughts and feelings that are causing your anxiety. Try guided meditation techniques focused on clearing negative thoughts with your next dose of CBD oil.

Meditation takes focus and patience, so if you feel you aren’t equipped to begin practicing meditation due to your existing anxiety, CBD oil can help you get started. Meditation doesn’t have to be sedentary either, research what will suit you best.

endocannabinoid system meditation

Things the Endocannabinoid System Doesn’t Like

Stress

This goes along with why we recommend meditation as part of ECS care. Studies have shown that certain types of stress have lowered the performance of the endocannabinoid system in mice.

“Similarly, both acute restraint stress and social defeat stress have been found to reduce AEA [anandamide] content within the hippocampus” – Dubreucq et al, 2012

This means that avoiding stress can help keep your ECS running smoothly. Specifically, keeping your anandamide messengers well employed. Some stress is unavoidable, so it’s important to practice healthy coping mechanisms.

Many people with anxiety are stressed for complex reasons they can’t pinpoint, this study focused on the effect of two specific stressors. CBD aids in easing anxiety or stress as it promotes calming and relaxing effect. Your body is simply better equipped to put CBD to work when it has many anandamide molecules.

Before you start stressing about being stressed, take a deep breath, this doesn’t mean that if you have anxiety that your ECS is broken.

Alcohol

This study found that when you become addicted to alcohol, your CB1 receptors do not work as well as they should. While an occasional drink may not impact your ECS in a noticeable way, heavy drinkers could be affected.

Another impressive finding from this study showed that rats bred for high alcohol preference have decreased FAAH and reduced CB1 expression. Recall, FAAH is simply a compound that tells messengers when to stop. For this reason, it’s generally ok to lower FAAH production, but coupled with lower CB1 expression, things get complicated.

So, unfortunately, it looks like if you have a family history of alcohol dependence, your ECS might be slightly out of whack.

Heavy THC Consumption

In this study they scanned the brains of users who consume over 10 joints a day for about 12 years. This is definitely a higher consumption rate than the average recreational user, so most casual users can rest easy, however, the findings are important to keep in mind.

Researchers found that the heavy users in their study had 20% less CB1 receptors in in cortical areas of the brain. Luckily, the study showed that this effect is not entirely permanent. After 4 weeks of abstinence, 14 out of the 30 users showed signs of receptor recovery.

What this study basically confirmed is that building a tolerance to THC is possible, and that doing damage to your CB1 receptors via overstimulation is possible.

Sound Familiar?

Many of these do’s and don’ts are recommended for basic health and wellness. So, if you need a little extra motivation, just think about your ECS! We hope these tips will help you get the most out of your CBD oil.

Have you tried combining CBD oil with any of these tips? Did you notice a difference?

Let us know how it went on Twitter! @PharmaHempCplx

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