What is Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome?
Written by Cathy Rozyczko
Edited by Cathy Rozyczko on
September 14, 2021
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) is a condition where an individual produces a lower amount of cannabinoids than experts consider to be essential in the promotion of health, vitality, and well-being.
Scientists now believe CECD may play a role in the following conditions:
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Human, reptiles, birds, and fish all synthesize endocannabinoids (research is still being done on invertebrates) naturally. In fact, the prefix “endo,” literally means “made in the body.”
Endocannabinoids are part of the more extensive endocannabinoid system that regulates appetite, pain sensation, mood, memory, and so much more.
There are three essential parts to the endocannabinoid system:
How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?
Enzymes regulate the endocannabinoid system by stimulating the synthesis of endocannabinoids in order to raise their levels or signal their destruction in order to reduce their levels.
Endocannabinoids are lipids, which are a particular type of fat that interacts with the nervous system to cause specific changes in the body.
Endocannabinoids latch onto individual endocannabinoid receptor cells to make these changes in the nervous system happen. All mammals produce endocannabinoids that bind to endocannabinoid receptors.
Endocannabinoids act in contrast to more well-known neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Dopamine, for example, is synthesized in advance, stored in the vesicle, and then released (in response to stimuli) from the presynaptic cell, where it crosses the synapse, lands on the postsynaptic cell, and causes activation.
Endocannabinoids, on the other hand, are integral components of cellular membranes that we appear to manufacture on demand. As they are hydrophobic, they cannot travel very far in the body and exert only local effects.
This limited effect contrasts with things like hormones, which reaches farther and impacts the whole body.
Endocannabinoids also travel backwards. The begin by leaving the postsynaptic cell and end at the presynaptic cell where there are high concentrations of axons which release conventional neurotransmitters.
This allows the postsynaptic cell a ‘flow control’ of sorts, enabling endocannabinoids to mitigate the flow of neurotransmitters coming from the presynaptic cell.
There are two main types of cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2; CB1 receptors are most highly concentrated in the brain, while CB2 receptors are primarily in the immune system.
In the brain, these CBD receptors are found to have the highest concentration in the limbic system. The limbic system is not a separate part of the brain but is a collection of the hippocampus, hypothalamus, piriform cortex, amygdala, and more.
Benefits of activating the CB1 receptor can include:
- Relieving depression [S]
- Increasing myelin formation [S]
- Lowering intestinal inflammation [S]
- Decreasing intestinal permeability (Leaky Gut Syndrome) [S]
- Lowering blood pressure [S]
- Lowering anxiety [S]
- Reducing fear and paranoia [S]
- Increasing BDNF levels [S]
- Increasing PPARy expression [S]
- Reducing GPR55 signaling [S]
- Lowering prolactin [S]
First discovered in 1993, CB2 receptors occur most commonly in the spleen, tonsils, thymus, and immune cells such as mast cells, monocytes, macrophages, B and T cells, and microglia. Only a small number of these receptors exist in the brain.
Activating the CB2 receptor induces macrophages to destroy beta-amyloid protein — the primary component of the amyloid plaque found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease. This may help explain why there is research underway to try and determine if CBD can help Alzheimer’s patients.
Changes in CB2 receptor function happen are not unusual and can happen with nearly every type of human disease whether they are cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurodegenerative, psychiatric, autoimmune, or pain-related illnesses. [S] The better we can understand this system, the better we can understand what happens in our bodies and how to find relief and functionality.
The Magic of Phytocannabinoids
Some plants, cannabis, in particular, produce a substance similar to endocannabinoids that interact with our body’s cannabinoid receptors. These phytocannabinoids, literally plant-made cannabinoids, can have a profound effect on the body. While there are many plants that produce substances that act upon cannabinoid receptors, the cannabis plant is the only know to produce cannabidiol (CBD).
Other plants containing cannabinoids include:
- Kava (Piper methysticum)
- Black Pepper (Piper nigerum)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
- Liverwort (Radula marginata)
- Helichrysum (Helichrysum umbraculigerum)
- Electric Daisy (Acmella oleracea)
- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea)
- Cacao (Theobroma cacao)
- Truffles (Tuber melanosporum)
When phytocannabinoids interact with our body’s endocannabinoid receptors, they often have a therapeutic effect – improving the overall functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
Excessive or deficient endocannabinoid levels can cause body systems to perform poorly, as can be seen by the cluster of illnesses believed to have a root in CECD.
Endocannabinoid Deficiency, CBD Oil, and Migraines
Research published in Neuroendocrinology Letters reviewed scientific publications to study the concept of CECD and the possibility that endocannabinoid deficiency can cause migraines.
This study found that anandamide controls the 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 the pain associated with headaches, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions.
In other words, increasing cannabinoid levels may reduce symptoms associated with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome.
By inhibiting FAAH, CBD is known to boost anandamide levels in the body.
Other ways which CBD may assist with migraines include:
- Activating the 5-ht1A Receptor (at high doses): The 5-ht1a receptor helps regulate anxiety, addiction, appetite, sleep, pain perception, nausea, and vomiting. CBDA (the raw form of CBD) shows an even higher affinity for this receptor than CBD. [S]
- Antagonizing GPR55 Receptors: GPR55 receptors are widely distributed in the brain (especially the cerebellum) and help control bone density and blood pressure. Additionally, GPR55 promotes cancer cell proliferation when activated. These facts may explain CBD’s use by individuals with osteoporosis and high blood pressure. [S]
- Activating TRPV1 Receptors: Involved in regulating pain, body temperature, and inflammation. Substances targeting TRPV1 receptors include anandamide, AM404 (a metabolite of acetaminophen), capsaicin, and various cannabinoids such as CBN, CBG, CBC, THCV, and CBDV.
How To Use CBD Oil for Endocannabinoid Deficiency
It would be great if we could you one number and say is the perfect amount for consumption across the board, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. There are many factors that go into deciding on the ideal serving size and it would be irresponsible to ignore these variations between individuals.
While it is not as ideal as a single number, we at CBD Oil Review (COR) have done an extensive analysis of hundreds of products that has lead us to develop an official COR Serving Standard.
The COR Serving Standard is 25mg of CBD, taken twice daily.
If this amount does not have any impact, our analysis also suggests increasing the amount of CBD you are using by 25mg every 3-4 weeks until you have found the results you are after.
Similarly, if your condition gets worse, reduce the amount you are using by 25mg until you find the right balance.
You can refer to our page on serving size for CBD for additional information.
As always, before you start any natural supplementation regime, please consult with your primary care provider to make sure this is the best, and safest, path for you.
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