What is an Endocannabinoid Deficiency?

Since the dawn of modern medicine, the unknowns surrounding the underlying causes of immune system dysfunction and inflammation has plagued medical researchers. The causes have been so murky that many medical professionals and patients alike have attributed it to typical signs of aging, and the wear and tear associated with being human. But new, cutting edge research has uncovered some promising truths in the search for what causes inflammation and autoimmune disorders, and how these health issues can be remedied with CBD.


Endocannabinoid Deficiency, Inflammation, and Immune System Dysfunction


The human body naturally produces neuromodulatory lipids. These lipids are called endocannabinoids. There are receptors throughout the human body that neuromodulatory lipids bind to, eliciting a chemical response that balances many essential and crucial bodily systems and features. This is a vital part of the endocannabinoid system, and the system is necessary for regulating an array of physical processes that are needed for maintaining optimum health.


When the natural endocannabinoid system is not working correctly, different, adverse symptoms can arise, including increased levels of inflammation, and autoimmune disorders.  This dysfunction is referred to as endocannabinoid deficiency.


Endocannabinoid deficiency can mean several things – either the body does not produce enough neuromodulatory lipids, or the body does not have enough endocannabinoid receptors. The imbalance can give rise to many diseases whose causes are mysterious.


The theory of endocannabinoid deficiency was first proposed by renowned researcher Dr. Ethan Russo in 2004. In his landmark study published in Endocrinology Letters, Dr. Russo suggested that an endocannabinoid deficiency could explain the root causes of immune system dysfunction and stubborn, painful inflammatory diseases.


Dr. Russo found through examining the available literature that people who were diagnosed with certain immune and inflammatory diseases were deficient in endocannabinoids, with levels lower than the standard mean. His theory could explain why these patients were able to find relief from their symptoms by using natural CBD supplements. Dr. Russo concluded:


“Migraine, fibromyalgia, [irritable bowel syndrome] and related conditions display common clinical, biochemical, and pathophysiological patterns that suggest an underlying clinical endocannabinoid deficiency that may be suitably treated with cannabinoid medicines.”


What are cannabinoid medicines?


Cannabinoids are found in the hemp plant, and they are biochemically similar to the endocannabinoids that naturally occur in the human body. Cannabinoids processed for medicinal purposes include the popular cannabidiol or CBD. Current studies on endocannabinoid deficiency have found that CBD interacts with natural cannabinoid receptors, eliciting the biochemical response needed to reach homeostasis and bring patients relief.


What disorders do cannabinoids influence?


Endocannabinoid deficiency has been found in the following disorders:


  • Migraines
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome


There is some preliminary research into how a lack of endocannabinoids may influence the symptoms found in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.


While research into the theory is still new and ongoing, the results so far are creating innovative methods to prevent and treat these painful conditions. Endocannabinoid supplements from the hemp plant, in particular, CBD, are helping thousands of people find relief from debilitating symptoms.