When I first started feeling the chronic pain, always feeling like I had worked out for a full three hours the day before, without doing any of the work to have that pain justified, I first thought I just may be going crazy. The fatigue, the occasional muddled thinking and the emotional roller coaster seemed very real but there was no obvious physical reason for it. As I began to find out about why and how I was feeling what I was… the catchall was Fibromyalgia. 20-plus years ago very little was known about cannabinoids let alone anything to do with the Endocannabinoid System.
As I came to identify with this diagnosis of what I was feeling and experiencing, no one knew what could cause Fibromyalgia. They knew what could trigger the episodes (stress and insomnia among others) and what synthetic drugs they were using to try to address the symptoms. None of which worked for me.
Over the course of the last years and with the education I have been daily adding to my experience with CBD, I have come to realize that the cause of my fibromyalgic symptoms looks like it starts with a Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency.
What The Research Is Showing
Researchers believe that the underlying cause of many ailments, particularly those related to the immune system and inflammation (Fibromyalgia included), could be a disorder referred to as clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
Endocannabinoid deficiency is a theory for the symptoms and conditions that develop when the body’s endocannabinoid system isn’t functioning properly. We’ve previously spoken about the endocannabinoid system and its role in regulating a wide array of body processes to maintain our health. The body naturally produces neuromodulatory lipids called endocannabinoids, which interact cannabinoid receptors throughout the body to elicit chemical responses that keep the body in balance or in homeostasis.
The theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency suggests that in some cases the body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids or enough receptors for the endocannabinoid system to function properly. As a result, the many functions aren’t regulated properly and the body becomes unbalanced, allowing diseases to arise.
Renowned cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo first proposed the theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency in 2004. In a study, published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, Russo suggested that deficient cannabinoid levels might explain why some conditions develop.
The Details of Some of the Studies
Russo had examined the available literature and found evidence that people diagnosed with certain conditions had lower levels of endocannabinoids. He suggested that a person being deficient in endocannabinoids and/or cannabinoid receptors could explain why supplementing with cannabinoids found in plants like hemp were proving effective at alleviating some conditions.
“Migraine, fibromyalgia, [irritable bowel syndrome] and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical and pathophysiological patterns that suggests an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines,” Russo concluded in his research review.
Cannabinoids found in plants like hemp, including cannabidiol (CBD), are analogous to the endocannabinoids naturally produced by the body. Research shows that they interact with the cannabinoid receptors of the endocannabinoid system to elicit chemical responses that help bring about homeostasis.
A deficiency in endocannabinoids has been linked to several other disorders besides migraine, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating the release of neurotransmitter, so diseases that are attributed to their dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, may be related to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency.
While more research needs to be done before endocannabinoid deficiency can be proven, the theory could open the door for methods to prevent and manage certain conditions. Russo believes cannabinoids from cannabis plants like hemp are essential nutrients that can minimize certain diseases by assisting the endocannabinoid system and ensuring that it functions properly.
Now, as I move forward in my quest to find balance in life, both mind, body and soul I now know how I can achieve the body side of things!