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Nutrition and your endocannabinoid system

Cannabis works through the endocannabinoid system, the function of which is to maintain homeostasis. With this in mind, it makes sense that a properly functioning endocannabinoid system is necessary in order to prevent or recover from disease. Certain conditions must be met in order for the endocannabinoid system to function properly.

While exogenously administered cannabis can directly improve endocannabinoid signaling, it may not be best suited to provide optimal effects within our bodies. Other restorative and enhancement techniques must be utilized as well. If the endocannabinoid system can be enhanced before or during cannabis therapy, the results are almost certain to improve considerably.

There are two primary ways to strengthen the endocannabinoid system. The first is by avoiding stimuli that deplete endocannabinoid resources. For example, one of the functions the system mediates is the reduction of inflammation. Therefore, eating inflammatory foods like refined grains, sugar, and trans fats can eventually be overwhelming and weaken the endocannabinoid system. Stress also depletes endocannabinoid resources, so poor nutrition combined with stress can be especially damaging. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fat sources like olive oil, fish, and eggs is very helpful, as is engaging in stress-reducing activities like meditation and yoga.

The second pathway to enhancing the endocannabinoid system is by  consuming foods that up-regulate endocannabinoids or cannabinoid receptors. For example, probiotics increase CB2 receptors in intestinal cells and may even potentially reduce pain by acting through those receptors. Exercising, including running and biking, increases endocannabinoid levels. Olive oil, in addition to being anti-inflammatory, may help fight colon cancer by increasing CB1 receptors on the cancer cells.

If you are interested in speaking to one of our specialists regarding ways you can modify your nutritional intake for optimal endocannabinoid system function, please call us at 702-441-0928.