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New Study Finds Endocannabinoid Deficit Could Be Associated with Several Subjective Pain Syndromes

A recent scientific review concludes that there’s a link between endocannabinoid deficit and the development of conditions like migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. The findings suggest that cannabis, which is naturally abundant in cannabinoids, possess therapeutic potential.

Findings in a new research review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research suggest that cannabis is effective at treating several subjective pain syndromes, some of which include migraine, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. The study, conducted by Ethan B. Russo, found the development of several subjective pain syndromes to be associated with a deficiency in the body’s endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system, made up of receptor sites on cells, enzymes, and endocannabinoids, are responsible for regulating several functions, including immune system function, mood, sleep, and more. The receptor sites include CB1 and CB2 receptors. The endocannabinoids, naturally produced by the human body, react with these receptors to regulate processes to maintain homeostasis.

In the review, Russo explains the theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED), which is when when the body doesn’t generate enough endocannabinoids, creating an environment for particular pathophysiological syndromes to develop. When endocannabinoid function decreases, pain threshold lowers and problems with mood, sleep and digestion arise. These endocannabinoid deficiencies, the theory suggests, could be caused by genetic or congenital reasons or acquired following an injury or disease.

Examining previous research conducted on cannabinoid deficiency, Russo concluded that all subjective pain syndromes share a number of commonalities: symptoms of hyperalgesia (extreme heightened sensitivity to pain), central sensitization (the nervous system is regulated to a persistent state of high reactivity), and similar disordered physiological processes. These similarities are evidence, Russo claims, to support the clinical endocannabinoid deficiency theory.

The presence of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency would suggest that cannabis possesses efficacy in treating these deficiency-associated conditions. Both hemp and marijuana are naturally abundant in cannabinoids. Like endocannabinoids produced in the body, these cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), have been found to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. A deficiency and the disorders it causes, as one would allude, may be treatable with cannabinoids.

Medical Marijuana, Inc.’s CEO Dr. Titus recently wrote an article where he touched on how supplementing our endocannabinoid system with plant-based cannabinoids could be beneficial in maintaining optimal health.

“[If one develops clinical endocannabinoid deficiency], one may develop numerous difficult to treat conditions, such as Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Migraine Headaches, and even Irritable Bowel Syndrome,” Titus said. “By supplementing with plant-based nutritional cannabinoids, these conditions often disappear in long term chronic cases.”

Scientists first proposed the clinical endocannabinoid deficiency theory in 2001, Russo explained in his review. Because neurotransmitter deficiencies had been linked to diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and depression, scientists theorized that a deficiency in endocannabinoid levels could be related to the manifestation of certain disorders.

It wasn’t until more recently, however, that objective and clinical trials showed endocannabinoid deficiencies to be present in people with subjective pain conditions like migraine and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Other disorders that could be associated with clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, according to Russo, include cystic fibrosis, causalgia, phantom limb painglaucoma, dysmenorrhea, bipolar disease, and several others.