A Cannabis Nurse Consultant Explains Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

As a cannabis nurse consultant, I work with patients daily regarding their medical cannabis education, and I find many are struggling with not just one health condition, but several. If you're among those suffering from multiple health issues, your problems could stem from an imbalance in your endocannabinoid system.

What's this? Most people have never heard of the endocannabinoid system or ECS, but we all have one. Endocannabinoids are cannabis-like substances that the body makes naturally. Receptors and enzymes throughout the body interact with these endocannabinoids to create the endocannabinoid system. It's a master regulator of all the other systems in our body, and it works to keep us in balance. When it's not working correctly, health issues sometimes arise.

We know all too well that one health issue tends to lead to another, and the side effects of many pharmaceuticals only further complicate the situation. Here's an example: A patient lives for years with a "sensitive stomach" and is prescribed over-the-counter stomach relief remedies. Later, she's diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The patient is then prescribed acid reduction and bowel regimen meds in addition to the over-the-counter drugs. The condition then worsens to become leaky gut syndrome (increased intestinal permeability), which worsens still to an auto-immune condition because the body is now attacking itself. The patient now requires extremely strong pharmaceuticals including immunosuppressant therapy or even chemotherapy drugs. As you can imagine, the patient is likely to be pretty upset that she endured a condition that became significantly worse with each treatment, especially if there were other therapies available.

Don't get me wrong. Sometimes pharmaceuticals are just what we need. But getting to the root of a health issue, rather than simply treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals, can do great things. With legalization of medical marijuana in many states and marijuana dispensaries opening in Springfield, Missouri and surrounding areas, I find that more patients are asking questions about how plant-based cannabinoid medicines may be helpful. That question often leads to conversations about clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Sadly, a growing number of people suffering from ECS deficiency includes younger women with migraines, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome.