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Fibromyalgia, Migraines & The Science Of Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency is a theoretical syndrome that holds the potential of helping scientists to find the reasons behind some painfully debilitating conditions that afflict millions of patients across the world.

Developments in science over the recent past have enabled experts to develop therapies for numerous conditions that were difficult to manage. Nevertheless, other conditions have proved a hard nut to crack. Their causes remain unknown while their cure seems to be far-fetched creations of imagination.

Recent scientific investigations into the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a network of receptors spread throughout the brain, are providing clues to the mechanisms behind diseases such as migraines, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The ECS has been found to be responsive to cannabinoids, the group of compounds found in plants like hemp, through the CB2 receptors controlled through the paralimbic and limbic regions of the brain.

Patients and doctors observed an improvement in the three conditions mentioned above when subjected to CBD oil by KarmaCBDOils, and cannabis. The action of cannabinoid medicine in the management of those conditions was substantive and required further analysis.

The need for further probes led Dr. Ethan Russo to look into dysregulation in the ECS. Russo, a professional neurologist and cannabis researcher, zeroed in on Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD) as the only way to describe the observations recorded in patients. His concept of a spectrum disorder was first published in 2004.

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According to the findings the human body produces endocannabinoids such as 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA) to enable the ECS function optimally. Endocannabinoids are naturally occurring, cannabis-like chemicals such as CBD.

Other research studies have shown endocannabinoid levels vary from one person to another. This variation in endocannabinoid levels can result in health problems. For example, reduced anandamide levels are related to anxiety while reduced 2-AG levels have been linked to depression. Clinical studies have increasingly indicated that the inability of the body to produce endocannabinoids in quantities that are needed to regulate chemical balances leads to many diseases.

The Cannabinoid receptors in the brain interact with both cannabinoids and endocannabinoids. However, endocannabinoids extracted from plants have the ability to mimic the inherent behavior and induce them for ECS regulation. This is what led to the conclusion that CECD can be managed very well using cannabinoid treatment.

Dr. Russo continued to accumulate clinical evidence which led to an update to his CECD research in 2016.



Fibromyalgia is known to cause unbearable symptoms that impact considerably on the quality of life for patients. Symptoms such as headaches, sleeping difficulties, restless leg syndrome, tender point pain, chronic deep muscle pain, and impaired cognitive function bring untold suffering to patients. The fatigue and extreme pain caused by this condition lead to anxiety and depression among patients.

While medical researchers have been at pains to explain what causes fibromyalgia, a study conducted in 2011 found that CBD substantively reduced anxiety among patients given CBD in 600mg doses.

It was further observed that numerous symptoms that manifest in most cases of fibromyalgia are indicative of ECS dysregulation. For example, serotonin levels are affected in fibromyalgia patients indicating that since BD is an agonist of the 5-HT1A receptor, the ECS is definitely involved.

Another example is that immune system responses are normally modulated by the ECS. This, in particular, involves the CB2 receptor. Inflammatory conditions have been found to occur due to problems with immune system response. This again, places the ECS at the center of such a condition.


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Migraines have been found to cause a myriad of nasty symptoms in patients including numbness, dizziness, and nausea. The levels of anandamide, found in the cerebrospinal fluid have been linked directly to migraines. The cerebrospinal fluid is found in the spinal cord and brain.

With 39 million Americans suffering from migraines, the relationship of this condition to anandamide may hold the key to treatment. Anandamide is a naturally occurring chemical that has similar characteristics to chemicals found in hemp and cannabis. Low levels of this chemical have been linked to migraines.

Dr. Russo’s findings indicated that endocannabinoid system changes are critical in the alleviation of migraines. The study pointed out that anandamide is a crucial neurotransmitter in the ECS. It was found to enhance the efficacy of the 5-HT1A receptor and at the same time impeding the 5-HT2A receptor.

Migraine sufferers complain of light and sound sensitivity. This can be attributed to reactions from the nervous system. Endocannabinoids have been shown to influence the flow of blood to the brain and hence alleviate some of the symptoms of migraines.

THC and CBD have been proved to alleviate migraines with considerably fewer side effects compared to existing therapies. However, the treatments were not more effective.



Further research is required to determine the potential of cannabinoids as a treatment for migraines and fibromyalgia. Other ailments may also benefit from these kinds of studies. The interrogation of the ECS will provide further insights into how its regulation affects these conditions.



The study of the endocannabinoid system and the ways in which its dysregulation affects the body is far from over. Neither is the potential of cannabinoid-based medicines to alleviate the suffering of millions of patients. The work of scientists such as Dr. Russo is critical in the promotion of naturally occurring remedies found in the cannabis plant.

Most findings suggest that CBD and medical cannabis are effective in alleviating numerous conditions. However, excessive levels of endocannabinoids in the body could lead instances of hepatic fibrosis and obesity. This could be damaging to the health of patients and further research should be conducted in this area.

Studies have shown that isolates may not be ideal treatments because they contain one chemical. Whole plant tinctures may be more effective in managing endocannabinoid imbalances for a well rounded and healthy lifestyle.

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