One of the biggest goals in life is finding your own personal balance. When you look at the different aspects of your personal life or even your own body, the key is to be in a balanced state of wellbeing. This is where the endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in our human lives. The endocannabinoid system may be described as a biochemical communication system within the human body.
The endocannabinoid system produces endogenous ligands called endocannabinoids, which are produced continuously by the body. These endocannabinoids interact with a network of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and body. There are a variety of cannabinoid receptors, but the two most studied receptors are named cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2). With that said, the main goal of the endocannabinoid system is to regulate appetite, mood, metabolism, immune function, pain response, memory, sleep, and much more.
Sadly, due to disease, drugs, stress, and poor food choices, it has become much more challenging to maintain a healthy balanced body and lifestyle. However, there are a few factors that have proven to help human physiology combat these environmental hazards.
The factors being focused on are cannabis, diet, and exercise. By analyzing these specific factors, we will see how these factors truly influence human physiology by balancing the endocannabinoid system.
How Cannabis Affects the Endocannabinoid System
When it comes to marijuana, there are many essential parts of the plant that have become more popular over the past decade. The two widely known parts of the cannabis plant being studied are delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Both THC and CBD affect the endocannabinoid system in different ways, but both provide users with therapeutic effects. When someone smokes or ingest THC, the THC floods the endocannabinoid system throughout the body.
Once absorbed, the THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors in the body and brain. Since these cannabinoid receptors are in so many parts of the body and brain, it affects each person differently.
THC also stimulates cells around the brain to release dopamine, which then creates euphoria and a tingling sensation.
On the other hand, CBD does not fit into the CB1 or CB2 receptors throughout the body and brain. Instead, CBD stimulates both the receptors and triggers a reaction without binding to the receptors directly.
Something interesting about CBD is that it also links to a receptor called the TRPV-1. The TRPV-1 manages the bodies temperature, pain response, and inflammation.
CBD is also known for activating serotonin receptors and counteracting the euphoric effects of THC. These two cannabinoids have shown many positive effects on the human body since they both work to keep the body in homeostasis.
How Balancing Your Intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Positively Influence the Endocannabinoid System.
Food has been a significant part of human life since the beginning of civilization. Proper nutrition is a staple for being healthy and means a person is receiving the right foods and supplements for their body to achieve at their optimal performance.
This explains why your diet determines what you eat, what you eat affects your health, which in turn affects how you function. Unfortunately, many Americans are consuming foods with high ratios of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids. To add on to that, most people don't realize that an inflammatory response can occur when a person is consuming higher rates of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
The way to counteract this is by incorporating more foods into your diet with omega-3 fatty acids to help balance out the ratio of the fatty acids. The reason why this is so important for your wellbeing is because the human body converts fatty acids into endocannabinoids.
By consuming more omega-3 fatty acids daily, you can aid the body in producing higher amounts of endocannabinoids which have shown to be beneficial for people dealing with different 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 marijuana, 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 so beneficial to receive a balanced ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and how it can improve your overall health by aiding the endocannabinoid system.
Why Exercise Puts You in a State of "Bliss."
Exercise has shown to have many benefits on overall health, the endocannabinoid system, and physical performance. Just an hour or more of moderate-intensity exercise can raise the levels of anandamide in the blood. Also, individuals who do 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.
When we consider the many stressors and environmental risks that can affect our body, it makes you realize why more people should be paying closer attention to their health. Additionally, this is why lifestyle choices like therapeutic cannabis use, proper nutrition, and physical activity can be helpful since they keep the endocannabinoid system in balance.
By keeping your endocannabinoid system balanced, you'll begin to see beneficial changes in your overall health and also in your life. After reading this, what might you change or incorporate into your personal life to improve your overall health? Lastly, if you found this blog valuable to you in any way, please let me know in the comment section below!
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