“The endogenous cannabinoid system, named after the plant that led to its discovery, is perhaps the most important physiologic system involved in establishing and maintaining human health.” Dr. Dustin Sulak
It’s becoming increasingly clear that stimulating and supporting your endocannabinoid system is another way to improve your brain and mental health. But you don’t need to smoke marijuana to do this. There are a number of other options, and this articles explore them.
– But first, what exactly is your endocannabinoid system?
Well, your body actually creates its own cannabinoids, similar to those found in cannabis. And these naturally-occurring cannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors within your body and brain. You can think of these receptors like little “locks”, and your body’s cannabinoids fit naturally into these locks like “keys”. Together, they make up your endocannabinoid system, which can influence your appetite, pain, inflammation, sleep, stress responses, mood, memory, motivation, reward, etc.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors – cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2).
CB1 receptors are mostly found in the brain and impact a number of neurotransmitters, including GABA, glutamate, dopamine and serotonin. CB2 receptors, on the other hand, are mostly found within the immune system and blood cells. However, it’s important to note that some CB1 receptors are still located outside the brain, and some CB2 receptors can be found within the brain. So, there is some overlap.
According to Martin A Lee (from cbd project) cannabinoid receptors are more abundant in the brain than any other type of neurotransmitter receptor.
There are three different types of cannabinoids that can activate these receptors in your body:
-Phytocannabinoids – plant-derived cannabinoids (eg THC & CBD)
-Endocannabinoids – these cannabinoids are produced naturally within the body. Anandamide is the main endocannabinoid in your body. It can be found in humans, but also many other animals and plants. It binds to both CB1 and CB2 receptors and has similar effects as THC. 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) is another critical endocannabinoid in your body that also binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
-Synthetic cannabinoids – made in a lab
Some researchers are convinced that when your body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), you’re more likely to develop these diseases. They’ve even coined the term “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency” to describe the problem
You can stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system naturally, which can lead to a number of brain and mental health benefits:
Less stress and anxiety
Improved mood and increased feelings of pleasure and optimism
Better focus and concentration
Fewer headaches and migraines
So without further ado, here are different ways to stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system naturally;
-Cold exposure has been shown to increase endocannabinoid levels. Researchers have also found that cold exposure significantly increases the density of CB1 neurons.
-Male and female sex hormones also stimulate and support the endocannabinoid system. Both testosterone and estradiol have been shown to up regulate CB1 receptors. Estradiol also increases the synthesis and release of the endocannabinoids (anandamide), which activates CB1 receptors.
-Drinking coffee is another way to stimulate and support your endocannabinoid system. Researchers believe that the cannabinoid system is involved in the psychoactive properties of caffeine. Regular caffeine consumption has been shown to enhance the activation of CB1 receptors by endocannabinoids.
-Olive oil has numerous health benefits, particularly because of its strong anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also been shown to upregulate CB1 receptors.
-Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the active cannabinoids in cannabis. It is not psychoactive but has a wide range of medical applications. Research shows that CBD enhances the expression of CB1 receptors in the brain. It also increases levels of 2-AG by preventing it from breaking down.
-Most people know dark chocolate is rich in multiple antioxidants, such as flavonols and polyphenols, which reduce oxidative stress. And it includes other compounds that slow down the breakdown of anandamide, increasing the amount of anandamide that stimulates your endocannabinoid system.
As you can see, there are many different ways to stimulate your endocannabinoid system besides smoking cannabis. And supporting this important system can lead to a number of brain and mental health benefits. (Source: Jordan Fallis)
Source 20 July: optimallivingdynamics.com