Get the benefits of marijuana without the marijuana | Integrative functional medicine blog

Get the benefits of marijuana without the marijuana




If medical marijuana has done anything, it has been to educate us about our own endocannibinoid system, which we will just call ECS for short.

This is a system of receptors on cells that play a role in inflammation, appetite, pain, mood, memory, and even cancer prevention. These receptors have come to light because they respond to compounds in cannabis, or marijuana and is the reason that cannabis can be very helpful in a medical sense.



If medical marijuana has done anything, it has been to educate us about our own endocannibinoid system, which we will just call ECS for short.

This is a system of receptors on cells that play a role in inflammation, appetite, pain, mood, memory, and even cancer prevention. These receptors have come to light because they respond to compounds in cannabis, or marijuana and is the reason that cannabis can be very helpful in a medical sense.

FUN FACT - Prior to 1940 cannabis was the most widely prescribed “pharmaceutical” by medical doctors due to its wide range of health effects. Its’ use was discontinued and discouraged due to lobbying and campaigning by Dupont because the hemp from the cannabis plant was interfering and cutting into their profits. We can’t blame this one on the pharmaceutical companies. This was chemical and oil companies putting the man down! ;-)

A functioning ECS, which is vital to good health, produces its own cannibinoids and doesn’t need them from cannabis, which some may like to argue.

However, it can be an effective way to get larger doses.

Anyway, the cannabinoid anandamide is so powerful researchers call it the “bliss molecule” because of its role in happiness and higher thought processes. Far out man!

However, researchers have discovered some people have a
endocannibinoid deficiency in compounds such as anandamide. This can lead to chronic pain disorders, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, and more serious disorders.

Some suggest this deficiency may be genetic. Although at the current time we aren’t sure which genes would be involved. Stay tuned, Im sure there will be more research on this subject.

It’s believed an ECS deficiency explains why cannabis is medicinal for some people and not as much for others. Cannabis contains more than 100 different cannabinoids, including THC, which produces the psychoactive effect cannabis is most known for. Cannabis also contains cannibidiol or CBD for short and terpenes. These compounds are not psychoactive and have many reported benefits.

CBD has come to be recognized as the compound responsible for many of the medicinal effects of cannabis. Terpenes are the compounds that give cannabis its distinctive aroma are also medicinal.

Controversy exists around whether CBD and terpenes are therapeutic individually, or whether these compounds work better synergistically in a whole plant form. There is also controversy over whether
CBD from industrial hemp, a non-psychoactive form of cannabis, is as effective as CBD from marijuana, which has higher THC levels.

I’d like to point out that there is a lot of information on the individual components of cannabis but there are many doctors that are the “guru” doctors in this area and many of their opinions is that the whole is greater that the sum of the parts. Meaning you get more benefit when you use the entire plant and not just certain parts.


Boosting your endocannibinoid system naturally, and naturally with cannabis.

Psychoactive cannabis and its constituents, such as CBD, is legal in only about half of the states in the US. CBD from industrial hemp is more widely available. Outside of the US it is legal in a few countries, decriminalized in a number, and strictly illegal in others.

Because the ECS produces its own cannibinoids, it is possible to boost the activity of this system without using cannabis. Following are some suggestions on how to do this:

  • Avoid alcohol. The stress and inflammation caused by regularly drinking alcohol can exhaust the ECS. Preserve its integrity by avoiding this health-sapping spirit.

  • Get bodywork. Research shows that bodywork such as a chiropractic adjustment, massage, or acupuncture can more than double anandamide, the “bliss” cannabinoid.

  • Eat lots of leafy greens. Leafy greens contain a terpene that activate cannabinoid receptors and can help combat inflammation and autoimmunity.

  • Eat more omega-3 essential fatty acids. Some researchers say an omega-3 deficiency will cause the ECS to not function properly. Make sure you get plenty of omega 3 in your diet (and not too much omega 6), or supplement with fish, algae, emu, or hemp oils.

  • Exercise. Some researchers believe the “high” from exercise is caused by increased ECS activity. Just be careful not to overdo it or make it stressful, which can deplete the ECS

So there you have it. Cannabis can be an effective treatment for many different conditions and it used to be the most widely recommended “prescription” by doctors. But you don’t have to use cannabis to stimulate some of the bodies natural endocannibinoid system if you don’t want.

Peace out man!

I’m Dr. Craig Mortensen
Be healthy, be happy.

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