The Endogenous Cannabinoid (Endocannabinoid) System (ECS) is responsible for promoting homeostasis (balance) within the body. This includes a healthy inflammatory response, supporting the central nervous system, and enhancing cell vitality. The ECS is composed of highly specialized receptor sites that are embedded in cell membranes. There are cannabinoid receptors located in different areas of the body, all with a specific function.
Homeostasis refers to the processes and reactions that our body utilizes to actively maintain a constant internal environment. Some examples of systems within our bodies that require this constant balancing include oxygen levels, hydration, and body temperature. Disturbances to this balance can lead to diseases.
Our body’s endocannabinoid system produces endocannabinoids that regulate the biochemical processes which help to maintain homeostasis. However, our bodies do not produce enough cannabinoids on their own and we must incorporate phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) to help our body obtain homeostasis. This is especially important for women, as we age, in assisting to support the ECS regulatory function on the Endocrine System.
There are many types of signaling molecules in the endocannabinoid system and more are being discovered all the time. The phytocannabinoids, plant cannabinoids, found in the cannabis Sativa plant mirror very close in chemical composition to the endocannabinoids our body produces. All endocannabinoids are lipids and made from polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like omega-3, omega-6, omega-9, and conjugated fatty acids.
Enzymes (a type of protein) serve as a chemical catalyst to start biochemical processes required to make the signaling molecules when they are needed. This is how the regulation of the ECS works. The endocannabinoids speak to the receptors to start the process required for balancing the systems affected by the receptors and by way thereof, inducing homeostasis.
Every system of the body requires a certain amount of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes which are the constituents that are required to sustain life. This is why we eat food. To gain the nutritional supplementation necessary to support these systems by providing those constituents. The same applies to the ECS as we do not produce sufficient quantities of endogenous cannabinoids to support it.
Age, illness, diet, and other contributing factors determine the level of endogenous cannabinoids that are being produced in our system at any given time. Unfortunately, there is not a test to measure the number of cannabinoids present in the body, nor is there a set of metrics that determine the appropriate level of endogenous cannabinoids required to induce homeostasis. We must address the fact that aging creates slower production of all the necessary constituents required for optimal function and this is especially relevant to the production of endocannabinoids.
For women, this is especially concerning as research has shown that we need a certain level of supplementation for hormonal life changes, such as menopause. It is true that the endocannabinoid system naturally produces cannabinoids that regulate the biochemical processes which help to maintain homeostasis. However, our bodies do not produce enough cannabinoids on their own and we must incorporate phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids) to help our body obtain homeostasis.
This would lead us to understand that:
- There is in fact merit, based on research, that quantifies the existence of ECS deficiency
- The only way to address these deficiencies is by introducing phytocannabinoids, nutritionally, by consuming a holistically balanced supplement.
Therefore the three questions that need to be addressed are:
- What product should I use?
- What dose is appropriate for my desired outcome?
- What delivery method is optimal for me?
Phytocannabinoid supplementation is a very individualized journey. No two people and no two supplements are created equal. Dosing and delivery are the most pressing issues to be addressed when choosing an appropriate phytocannabinoid supplement. This is why I am a firm proponent of micro-dosing. I am an advocate for this method of administration because it works on the principle of nutritional healing by introducing the active constituents into the system over time. Nutrition is consumed and discarded. The only way to supplement for the greatest efficacy is to consume on a consistent basis.
I would surmise, as time elapses, we may get to the point that the realization is as such; ECS deficiency may be the leading cause of most dysfunction and disease plaguing the human race. The decline of the human condition is happening at a rapid rate not seen at any other point in history. Phytocannabinoids were a part of our diet and pharmacopeia until about 80 years ago. Since being removed, I have observed a pattern of ever-increasing disease “discovery” and diagnosis. Unfortunately, the research is severely lacking in all regards to the endogenous cannabinoid system and the role that phytocannabinoids play in supporting the ECS.
Arguably, given these facts, phytocannabinoid supplementation would be beneficial in every stage of life. As women are the general custodians of health for our families, we should consider ways to incorporate phytocannabinoid supplements as nutritional support. Hemp is a superfood. Not only does it provide phytocannabinoids, but also the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to sustain life. It is also an excellent source of protein and fiber. By using a full spectrum phytocannabinoid supplement, you can gain ECS support along with balanced nutritional supplementation. Hemp has been shown to assist with the absorption of these constituents and is a nutritional WIN!
There are many ways to supplement your ECS on a nutritional, medicinal, and therapeutic level. Your product choice, dose, and method of administration would be very dependent on your desired outcome. That being said, all phytocannabinoid supplementation is advantageous in addressing endogenous cannabinoid system deficiencies and helping to regulate the biochemical processes that are required to reach homeostasis. We need to change the conversations and mindsets to consider the importance of nutritional supplementation of the ECS. This will help to ease regulation and restriction and allow all people to take advantage of phytocannabinoid supplements to maintain health and wellness. When you know better you do better!
Here is to your health! Love, Peace, and Blessings.
About Dr. Lakisha™
Dr. Lakisha™ is a Traditional Naturopath, registered Master Herbalist, and Medical Cannabis & Hemp Educator of endogenous cannabinoid system education. My core competencies include using herbs as the basis of nutrition to combat the symptoms of a chronic, degenerative, and terminal illness. Specialties include medical cannabis education, endogenous cannabinoid system balancing, and cancer prevention. I work to ensure all people have the right to choose medical options; traditional, alternative, or otherwise that support their health and healing journey. Follow along on Instagram.