"Sadly, due to disease, drugs, stress, and poor food choices, it has become much more challenging to maintain optimal health. However, there are a few tools that can help human physiology combat these environmental hazards."
One of the most significant trials in life is finding your natural rhythm. When we look at the different aspects of our lives, the key is to find an optimal state of balance. This is where the endocannabinoid system (ECS) plays a significant role in our lives as humans. The ECS may be described as a biochemical communication system within the human body.
The ECS produces endogenous ligands called endocannabinoids, which bind to specific receptors in the body and brain. There are a variety of cannabinoid receptors, but the two most studied are named cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). The primary function of the ECS is to regulate appetite, mood, metabolism, immune function, pain responses, memory, and sleep.
Sadly, due to disease, drugs, stress, and poor food choices, it has become much more challenging to maintain optimal health. However, there are a few tools that can help human physiology combat these environmental hazards.
Cannabis, diet, and exercise are the tools we will be focusing on. By analyzing these specific tools, we will see how they influence our health by improving the function of the ECS.
How Cannabis Affects the Endocannabinoid System
When it comes to cannabis, two primary compounds are being studied, which are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). Both THC and CBD affect the ECS in different ways, but both provide users with therapeutic effects.
When someone ingests THC, it enters the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. The THC then attaches to CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body and brain, exerting a variety of physical and mental effects.
On the other hand, CBD does not fit into the CB1 or CB2 receptors. Instead, CBD stimulates many different receptors in the body and brain, helping to regulate the ECS overall.
These two cannabinoids can be used as tools for balancing the ECS if deficiencies arise.
How Balancing Your Intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Positively Influence the Endocannabinoid System.
"By consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, you can aid the body in producing higher amounts of endocannabinoids."
Food has always been a significant part of human life. Proper nutrition means a person is receiving the right nutrients from food to fuel their body for optimal performance.
Unfortunately, many Americans are consuming foods that do not contain proper nutrient composition or density. For example, many processed foods contain high ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This improper ratio of essential fatty acids can lead to an inflammatory response, which in the long term, damages your health.
The way to counteract this is by incorporating more foods into your diet that contain omega-3 fatty acids (fish, nuts, and seeds) and avoiding processed foods that contain the opposite. The reason why this is so important for your wellbeing is because the human body converts omega-3 fatty acids into endocannabinoids.
By consuming more omega-3 fatty acids, you can aid the body in producing higher amounts of endocannabinoids. This shift has been shown to help people dealing with a variety of medical conditions. Additionally, it should be understood that "Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its euphoric effects, but it also has anti-inflammatory benefits. A new study in animal tissue reveals the cascade of chemical reactions that convert omega-3 fatty acids into cannabinoids that have anti-inflammatory benefits - but without the psychotropic high" (Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids. (2017, July 18).
This is precisely why it's vital to receive a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. This small change can improve your overall health by supporting the ECS.
Why Exercise Puts You in a State of "Bliss."
"Recent findings indicate that moderate-intensity exercise activates the endocannabinoid system, induces changes in mental states, and produces a better sense of wellbeing."
Exercise has shown to have many benefits on overall health, the endocannabinoid system, and physical performance. Just an hour of moderate-intensity exercise can raise the levels of anandamide, an endocannabinoid, in the blood.
Individuals who exercise regularly report that after exercising, they feel a wide range of neurobiological reward sensations. These post-exercise sensations can be described as a "runner's high" and is caused by the endocannabinoid system in the body. This "runner's high" can allow for short-term pain relief, euphoric sensations, and reduced anxiety.
A study aimed to examine how exercise affects the endocannabinoid system found that moderate-intensity exercise "…improves mood and activates the endocannabinoid system in physically active individuals; however, both mood and endocannabinoid responses to exercise may vary based on habitual levels of physical activity" (Endocannabinoid and Mood Responses to Exercise in Adults with Varying Activity Levels. (2017, November 1).
These recent findings indicate that moderate-intensity exercise activates the endocannabinoid system, induces changes in mental states, and produces a better sense of wellbeing. Lastly, regular exercise can also help with managing stress levels and maintaining a healthy weight, which aids in keeping the endocannabinoid system balanced.
Stressors and environmental risks can increase inflammation and negatively impact our health. Lifestyle choices like therapeutic cannabis use, proper nutrition, and physical activity can be helpful since they keep the endocannabinoid system in balance and reduce inflammation. By implementing these tools, you may begin to see beneficial changes in your overall health and wellness.
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Austin RansomAustin is a writer for Baked Bros and has been working in the cannabis industry since 2017. He received a B.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Arizona State University but has been studying cannabis on and off since 2013. In his spare time, he enjoys creating cannabis content, studying strain specificities, and examining healthy ways to incorporate cannabis into everyday lifestyles. Follow him on Instagram: @Imaustinransom or @arizonacannabiscommunity.
Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids. (2017, July 18). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170718142909.htm
Endocannabinoid and Mood Responses to Exercise in Adults with Varying Activity Levels. (2017, November 1). Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://journals.lww.com/acsm-tj/Fulltext/2017/11010/Endocannabinoid_and_Mood_Responses_to_Exercise_in.1.aspx