Grateful for My ECS

Published 11/1/2017

Happy November! As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to express gratitude for my life, and the amazing people in it. I’ve been blessed with a new career in cannabis medicine, and enjoy the possibility of bringing real hope and change to my clients. Whether you’re treating auto-immune, chronic pain, neurological conditions, insomnia, or cancer, cannabinoids work to balance your system in a natural and gentle way. Because our endocannabinoid system rebalances at the cellular level, we can usher in healing without harmful side effects. I am thankful I help people find relief in a plant, and that I can help restore hope when it has been lost.

During Fall, we slow down, and prepare for winter, even in San Diego. We catch up on our sleep and relish how restorative it feels during this time of year to just relax. But for nearly 1 in 3 Americans, sleep is elusive. Sleep is a dynamic and critical process that helps us store memories, build immunity, repair tissue, regulate metabolism and blood pressure, control appetite and blood sugar, process learning, along with a myriad of other physiological processes – all of which are regulated by the endocannabinoid system (ECS). Poor sleep is a risk factor for serious illness. Compared to people who get enough sleep, adults who sleep less than 7 hours are more likely to experience chronic health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke and depression. Those with chronic illnesses are at greater risk for insomnia, which exacerbates their discomfort. Pills to help you sleep may make things worse, causing next day impairment, and a higher risk of falls, elevated cancer rates, and sudden death.

So, what does sleep have to do with our endocannabinoid system? Italian scientist Vincenzo DiMarzo summarized the function of this system in the phrase “Eat, sleep, relax, protect and forget.” Levels of our endogenous cannabinoids, Anandamide & 2-AG rise and fall in line with our circadian rhythms, showing that the ECS is related to basic physiology of sleep. Cannabinoids have been used to promote sleep for hundreds of years, and at least half of all medical cannabis patients report sleep as their primary target of relief. Chronic pain sufferers keep awake because they hurt, and it’s hard to know if it’s insomnia or the pain. Traditional medicine treats them separately with different medications, cannabis treats both at once. Separately CBD & THC can be either stimulating or sedating, and is dose and time dependent. Taking them together may be the best remedy, and up to personal experimentation with formulas. Add in some relaxing terpenes and you may be just be getting sleepy!

Neuroscience shows that a bit of gratitude resets your good brain chemistry, so make a short list of things you’re grateful for every day, or at least weekly. Practice good sleep hygiene with a relaxing bedtime ritual at the same time, exercise daily, keep a calm and cool environment, and be open to a supplement of cannabis if it might help you. If you’d like to explore your options with professional coaching, schedule an appointment online.

Holistic Caring would like to wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving season. I hope you enjoy more rest, relaxation, good eating, and protection. Cheers to your ECS!

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