Cannabinoids have been a vital part of our diet for thousands of years. Today, we understand why? CBD's prevalence in the health foods market is no accident; helped consumers both mentally and physically. Backed by many health professionals, the trend toward more comprehensive research has given credibility to the lowly weed.
Before we “attack” the needy-gritty, what is the history?
Recent discoveries point to the use of cannabis as a medicinal aid dating back thousands of years. In 2016, Chinese archaeologists uncovered a 2,500-year-old burial site. What they found was none other than, you guessed it, cannabis. From the remains found they were able to deduce, that the marijuana was locally harvested, with the flowering tops having been removed. Furthermore, in another site close by powdered leaves and cannabis seeds were found. The medicinal and psychoactive properties of this now stigmatized plant were freely used.
If we fast forward a bit in time, it wasn't until after 1937, that hemp was removed from feed for our livestock. Prior to this, the phytocannabinoids found in hemp were in the majority of our food supply — integration through livestock as a result of their feed, including pigs, chicken, and general cattle. The reason hemp was used was for its high protein and amino acids. From there it naturally became part of all of our diet. Consuming meat and milk from the animals passed these phytocannabinoids onto us, absorbing them through our digestion system and interacting with our endocannabinoid system.
In our opinion, the federal government’s irresponsible meddling in 1937 has compromised health care worldwide and increased the use of toxic chemicals to make livestock “look” healthy.
One startling question --- Could the desire for CBD be the result of wholesale removal of cannabinoids from our diet, starving ourselves of nutrients we used to receive? In turn, driving a rise in our susceptibility to diseases and illness? Increasingly, doctors and medical professionals say yes! Our research and reported studies confirm that CBD has nutritional value and it is both a pharmaceutical drug and natural health food.
What Is Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency?
Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) is implicated in a spectrum of disorders. The endocannabinoid system has receptors throughout the body. One of its primary functions is to keep the body in a state of homeostasis, which translates into being in balance. With unbalanced cannabinoid levels, our bodies do not react positively. Given what the endocannabinoid system is capable of achieving in our bodies, it’s noteworthy to suggest that phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids found outside the human body) may play a role in treating or reducing the symptoms of numerous conditions.
There are three essential conditions:
Migraines have been around since day one. But because this isn’t a life-threatening condition, people usually take aspirin and let time solve the issue. This has led to a massive lack of scientific research into the condition. There is still a lot we don’t understand about migraines. Although we know it’s correlated with an increase in serotonin levels in the brain, we also know correlation does not mean causation. The endocannabinoid anandamide, with its significant effects on pain regulation and serotonin transmission, will actively help those suffering from migraines. THC mimics the shape of anandamide and therefore may reproduce its therapeutic effects. The only drawback is that THC is said to worsen the problem in low doses. Only with a larger intake will there be supposed benefits.
2. IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME (IBS)
IBS is a condition associated with abdominal cramps, bloating, and diarrhea. This too has been linked with endocannabinoid deficiency. Not only has serotonin been found to influence the condition, but the cannabinoid receptors in the gut are also said to help control inflammation and hypersensitivity. Serotonin will slow down gut motility, which in turn may help to regulate bowel spasms. Although correlations between cannabis and relief of IBS symptoms have been implicated, more information is necessary before conclusive theories can be drawn. Especially since, in some cases, cannabis use and an increase in serotonin have triggered IBS symptoms in some individuals. Large-scale clinical trials will likely reveal more answers in the future.
This last disorder is a neuropsychiatric one that causes pain and is also linked with serotonin. Currently, where it’s legal, cannabis is already being prescribed as a medicine for fibromyalgia. This is one of the conditions where there is a decent amount of scientific research, although more is always needed.
HOW CBD MAY HELP
Unlike THC, CBD does not bind directly to any cannabinoid receptors. Instead, one of its primary functions is suppressing the release of fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH). This enzyme breaks down anandamide, one of our endogenous cannabinoids. This means that by suppressing FAAH, CBD will “enhance endocannabinoid tone” and induce medicinal benefits therein.
As you now know, with a condition like migraines, anandamide plays a super important role. THC mimics its shape and could, therefore, lead to similar results. CBD is gaining a lot of traction as a powerful anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, and analgesic, yet there is still no definitive answer on whether CBD can relieve migraines with the same anecdotal success as THC-rich medicine.
All of the above conditions have elements in common. Frequently, sufferers of one of these illnesses will also display symptoms of other related conditions. This is what’s so exciting about clinical endocannabinoid deficiency; many IBS patients will also report symptoms of migraines, and a majority of people living with fibromyalgia also show traces of IBS. This is what has led to the hypothesis that they are all manifestations of the same disorder. Only with more significant research will we be able to find the answers to clinical endocannabinoid deficiency and provide people with the relief they so desire.
THE ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Given that at one point in time our endocannabinoid system was being supplemented by our diets, what is the endocannabinoid system responsible for? Present in all mammals, it is a collection of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and central nervous system. Linked to a number of physiological effects like appetite, pain relief, mood and memory, the manipulation of said receptors has seen some very beneficial results in preliminary research. While our body produces its endocannabinoids, these receptors can be stimulated by the presence of the cannabinoids within cannabis and hemp.
NUTRIENT OR PHARMACEUTICAL DRUG?
The debate rages on, with opinions reaching an all-time high, primarily driven by the increasing amount of research being conducted into CBD and cannabinoids other than THC. It is the THC that gives cannabis its illegal nature classing it as a drug. THC is mainly responsible for the psychoactive properties that users experience when smoking marijuana. However, heating the cannabis through smoking or cooking is required to create the THC. If you consume cannabis raw, these properties have yet to be activated. You instead receive an entirely different set of cannabinoids. Hemp is an easy way of obtaining these cannabinoids.
Nutrients are a vital part of a functioning cell; without them, many bodily functions would not work. If by consuming hemp rich in otherwise missed compounds, does it not then become a health food? Despite the psychoactive aspects associated with cannabis, it is only one part of the plant's complex genetics. One thing is sure, regardless of your view, further research is required to fully understand how we can benefit from cannabis in all its forms.
HOW CAN YOU INCORPORATE HEMP INTO YOUR DIET?
If the idea of incorporating hemp into your diet to benefit from the nutritional value appeals to you, what options do you have? Fortunately, you are in luck; hemp does not tend to carry an illicit nature. Hemp has been bred over generations to remove the THC, making it a legal source of other cannabinoids. Rich in healthy fats and fatty acids, hemp seeds are a great source of omega-6 (linolenic acid) and omega-3 (alpha-linolenic acid).
Adding the benefits of hemp to your diet could not be simpler. Hemp seeds are one option — they have a rich, nutty flavor. Just add them to muesli, salads or eat a handful of them raw. Although easily obtainable, it is worth noting that hemp seeds do not contain cannabinoids (although they are very healthy). If you want to include a rich dose of cannabinoids in your diet, the best thing to do is hemp flowers to juice, or use a natural, full-spectrum CBD oil.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
There is no denying, that if it weren't for our own created perception of cannabis, then we would have likely continued to freely enjoy the health benefits the myriad of cannabinoids had to offer. Government intervention has undoubtedly put a blocker in the way, and as such licenses for research are difficult to obtain. This has a knock-on effect, limiting our understanding of how the body interacts via our endocannabinoid system and how that could be stimulated for the better.
There is a growing movement who believe that there is a direct correlation between the removal of phytocannabinoids from our ecosystem and an increasing rate of neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. We could, as a result of the prohibition of cannabis be doing long-term damage to our cells ability to function correctly. The preferable next step would be to double the research efforts, with governments relaxing the regulations around the use of cannabis in controlled experiments. It is the only way to truly understand the impact on our body and based on what we know so far, lead healthier and improved lives.