There is great clinical and anecdotal evidence to support that CBD has significant benefits to our health. But there are many more benefits to be discussed, of which we’ll pick three to talk about in more detail – Endocannabinoid Deficiency Therapy, CBD and Ketosis, and CBD for Epilepsy.
Endocannabinoid Deficiency Therapy
Our bodies don’t produce CBD, but they do have their own endocannabinoids: 2AG, and Anandamide. These two endocannabinoids can be thought of as the signaling chemicals that pass between the synapses of the nervous system. They make us hungry, happy, sad, sleepy, focused, distracted, joyful, depressed, immune sensitive, affect muscle tone, and just about everything in between. This gives you an idea of what might go wrong if we don’t have enough 2AG and/or Anandamide in our bodies.
CBD shares properties and a similar shape to our own endocannabinoids, and can mimic the functions of 2AG and Anandamide. What does that mean for our system wide functions? Think of it this way. If you are deficient in signaling chemicals, that could spell trouble for your health. CBD supplementation can help top-up the endocannabinoid levels in the body – meaning a simple daily dosing protocol of CBD can have a supplement-type effect that would be no different than taking vitamins and fatty oils like Omega-3s.
Imagine what could improve if you just so happened to be endocannabinoid deficiency? One thing to note however is that testing for deficiencies isn’t widely available yet. What we do know is that endocannabinoid deficiencies or overproduction can be linked to nearly all forms of disease in some form or another – making a further case in favour of supplementation.
CBD – The Keto booster
The keto diet is becoming a trend among health conscious people who are seeking to wean off a high carb diet, and for good reason. The benefits of keto on brain and gut health are becoming more well known as more and more research is made available thanks to the amount of people willing to try it. Since CBD is fat soluble, ketosis and CBD together could prove an effective combo for overall health.
For example, keto being a high (healthy) fat diet would have a direct effect on CBD bioavailability. What is ingested would be much better absorbed, meaning it could reduce effective dose levels to be much less over time. How much less is hard to say. CBD effective dosing is largely dependent on body composition, fat percentage, and bodyweight – meaning everyone’s optimal dosing would vary slightly.
That being said, since there’s no toxicity with CBD, it’s hard to really argue against trying this combo on your own experimentally with various doses and backing off slowly so see when benefits either start or stop based on how much you’re taking. With a bit of tweaking, most people will eventually be able to achieve optimal outcomes just by feel.
CBD For Seizure Control
We felt no list of need-to know CBD benefits would be complete without including the most obvious that has received the most attention – CBD and seizure control, particularly in children with Dravet Syndrome. If you’re familiar with it, then you have a full understanding of how devastating this disease can be. Dravet causes severe and constant seizures in children, sometimes in the order of magnitude of several hundred seizures per day. Yes, several hundred seizures, per day.
It’s hard to imagine what that would be from a 1st person perspective, but it’s no stretch to say that no quality of life could possibly exist in such a state. Conventional treatments and medications are costly, risky, and lack the required degree of efficacy in many of the most severe cases of Dravet. CBD however is proving to be an effective treatment.
As we’ve discussed, CBD helps replenish our own endocannabinoids, which are the signaling chemicals that enable signals to pass between synaptic connections. Seizures are the downstream results of synaptic misfirings, and endocannabinoid deficiencies of either 2AG and/or Anandamide. Imagine – a non-toxic plant derived phytocannabinoid deemed safe at high doses (2mg/1kg of body weight twice daily) for children as young as two years of age, by doctors representing the Epilepsy Foundation being effective to restore quality of life to kids by reducing seizure frequency from potentially several hundred a day to one a day, or one a week, or even one a month.
Now that deserves some consideration to making CBD a recommended essential nutrient.
Cautions and Recommendations to Consider
- CBD supplements are not yet regulated in Canada, which means dosing, potency, cannabinoid content and potential contaminants are all risks in the wild west CBD market. If using an extract, always consult a physician prior to use, especially if disease intervention is the goal.
- Some cautions should be taken with CBD if on medications since the CBD molecule affects all of the body’s systems at the neurotransmitter level. CBD can increase the efficacy of neurotransmitters by helping them function more effectively. As a result medication could be higher in potency in contrast to non-CBD interaction baselines, which were what the original prescription was based on.
- Black tea and green tea prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids and stimulate receptors
References and Resources
Russo EB. Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions? Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2008 Apr;29(2):192-200. PMID: 18404144.Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?
Russo EB. Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes. Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2016 Jul 1;1(1):154-165. doi: 10.1089/can.2016.0009. PMID: 28861491; PMCID: PMC5576607.Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Reconsidered: Current Research Supports the Theory in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel, and Other Treatment-Resistant Syndromes
Maa E, Figi P. The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2014 Jun;55(6):783-6. doi: 10.1111/epi.12610. Epub 2014 May 22. PMID: 24854149.The case for medical marijuana in epilepsy