You know I’m always on the lookout for natural ways to treat illnesses, particularly when I think the related drug treatments are dangerous and/or overprescribed. That’s why I’m excited about a new line of research being conducted at the National Centre of Competence in Research at Germany’s University of Bern. Scientists there have been investigating the endocannabinoid system and how it affects the brain and the immune system. They’ve uncovered some interesting information about how we can approach issues such as anxiety and inflammation by tapping into this system.
If you see “endocannabinoids” and immediately think of cannabis, or marijuana, you’re not far off. Cannabis has a similar effect to endocannabinoids, but the latter are actually produced by our own bodies. They’re similar to fatty acids, and because the body makes them on its own, it can’t overproduce them. That means you can’t overdose on them the way you could with cannabis.
The University of Bern researchers have been trying to activate select endocannabinoids in the brain in order to treat neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety. They’ve recently figured out how to influence the transport route of endocannabinoids in the mouse brain, benefiting their stress levels and supporting their immune systems. This manipulation also seemed to have anti-inflammatory, pain-killing, and anti-anxiety effects in the mice.
The researchers are looking for ways to influence this transport system further. To do so, they’ve been studying the purple coneflower, also known as Echinacea purpurea. If you’ve ever used Echinacea to treat a cold, you know how effective it can be. And it seems that it works at least in part by affecting the endocannabinoid system. When researchers introduce one of the substances found in Echinacea, N-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)ethyl amide, the effect was to activate cannabinoid receptors throughout the nervous and immune systems. This activation presses “pause” on stress and inflammation and helps the body restore equilibrium.
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Echinacea isn’t the only way to harness the power of the endocannabinoid system – and neither is marijuana. Cannabis contains two active components: THC (tetra-hydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC is the substance that can make people high or drugged. But CBD has none of these effects. And CBD, not THC, is often the active substance in cannabis that provides the medical benefits.
Marijuana isn’t the only plant source of CBD either. It’s also in the hemp plant – which does not contain THC. So hemp extracts won’t get you high. Even so, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced a new code for marijuana extract in December. The announcement effectively said that all compounds, whether they get you high or not, are considered Schedule I drugs, rendering them illegal in the United States. This ruling is absurd! However, the DEA isn’t enforcing this rule, so you can still buy CBD. And many states have legalized it for medical purposes.
You can safely use CBD to treat a wide variety of issues, including pain, anxiety, cancer, seizures, epilepsy, migraines, and nausea. You can get the CBD that I use in the clinic and have good success with at www.fullspectrumhemp.com or by calling 833-355-4325. It’s called CBD Gel With Turmeric. Start with 1 ml of the gel taken orally three times daily. Within a week, you should feel the effects. At that point, adjust the dose accordingly.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD