What is the Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome?
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CEDS) is an umbrella term for a group of illnesses, including fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome. A growing number of respected scientists in the medical community think low levels of endocannabinoids are the root cause of these devastating conditions. Medscape says there is scientific evidence suggesting endocannabinoids play a role in inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and fat and energy metabolism.
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Human and animal bodies synthesize endocannabinoids naturally. In fact, the prefix “endo” means “made in the body.” Endocannabinoids are part of the larger endocannabinoid system that regulates appetite, pain sensation, mood, memory, and more.
There are three basic parts to the endocannabinoid system:
- Endocannabinoid receptors
- Enzymes that control endocannabinoid levels
Enzymes regulate endocannabinoid levels by stimulating the synthesis of endocannabinoid to raise levels or signal endocannabinoid destruction to lower levels.
Endocannabinoids are lipids, which are a special type of fat that interacts with the nervous system to cause specific changes in the body. Endocannabinoids latch onto special endocannabinoid receptor cells to make these changes in the nervous system happen. This action is somewhat like a captain docking his boat at a marina. Receptor cells are located throughout the body.
All mammals produce endocannabinoids that bind to endocannabinoid receptors. There are two types of endocannabinoids – anandamide and 2-AG. Each of these binds to specific endocannabinoid receptors; anandamide latches onto CB1 receptors and 2-AG docks onto CB2 receptor cells. CB1 are more common in vital organs while CB2 are more prevalent in peripheral cells and in the immune system.
The marijuana plant produces a similar substance – cannabinoids such as CBD Cannabidiol; that bind to these receptors too. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, they produce a pleasant euphoria. Endocannabinoids binding to these receptors, however, have a therapeutic effect that helps various body systems run well. High or low endocannabinoid levels can cause body systems to function poorly. Substantially low endocannabinoid levels can cause symptoms of CEDS.
Research published in Neuroendocrinology Letters reviewed scientific publications to study the concept of CEDS and the possibility that endocannabinoid deficiency can cause migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions. This study found anandamide controls receptors associated with migraines and that this endocannabinoid strongly influences the periaqueductal gray matter, an area known as the “migraine generator” in the brain.
The researchers also found cannabinoids block spinal, peripheral and gastrointestinal actions that promote pain in headache, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions. In other words, increasing cannabinoid levels reduces symptoms associated with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome.
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