For thousands of years, cannabis has been one of our most valuable crops. Throughout recorded history in the UK and Europe, hemp has been at least as common as wheat, barley or any other grain crop.
Around 100 years ago, for reasons that are now known to be misguided, governments started to introduce a ban on the plant that has led to exactly the same problems, divisions in society and criminal activity that we saw with alcohol prohibition in the USA.
Not only have we lost access to the use of cannabis as a medicine but also as food, for humans and animals, as nature’s strongest fibre, as a building material and as a crop that has immense ecological and environmental benefits.
It has been an enormous mistake, a failure of policy for which we are only now beginning to understand the consequences. It’s only 30 years ago that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was discovered and we now realise how important cannabinoids are in our diet. Some researchers now believe that the removal of hemp from our diet has led to an upsurge in disease, possibly caused by endocannabinoid deficiency.
Historically, hemp was fed to cattle, sheep and poultry. By eating meat or other foods derived from these animals, humans would have benefited from the cannabinoids they had ingested.
Hemp Seed was also a staple food ingredient for humans, often milled into flour or pressed for oil. In the 20th Century all this was taken away.
What is an endocannabinoid deficiency?
Researchers believe that some illnesses may actually be caused by an underlying endocannabinoid deficiency.
Renowned cannabinoid researcher Dr. Ethan Russo first proposed the theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CED) in 2004.
In a study, published in Neuro Endocrinology Letters, Russo suggested that deficient cannabinoid levels might explain why some conditions develop.
The theory of clinical endocannabinoid deficiency suggests that in some cases the body doesn’t produce enough endocannabinoids or enough receptors for the endocannabinoid system to function properly. As a result, the many functions aren’t regulated properly and the body becomes unbalanced, allowing diseases to develop.
Thankfully there is now a potential way to support your body’s cannabinoids, and that is by adding CBD oil food supplement in your diet.
While more research needs to be done before endocannabinoid deficiency can be proven, the theory could open the door for methods to prevent and manage certain conditions.
Dr. Ethan Russo believes cannabinoids from cannabis plants like hemp are essential nutrients that can minimise illness by assisting the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and ensuring that it functions properly.
It is thought that CED could be at the root of an increase in autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Crohn’s Disease.
An interesting theory and one which could lead to improved treatments. Let’s discuss this further.
CBD oil for auto-immune conditions?
It is theorized that an underlying endocannabinoid deficiency could be the cause of many illnesses including autoimmune diseases. But what is an auto-immune disease?
An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.
The immune system normally guards against germs like bacteria and viruses.
When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.
Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.
In an autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body — like your joints or skin — as foreign. It releases proteins called auto antibodies that attack healthy cells.
Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ. Type 1 Diabetes damages the pancreas. Other diseases, like Lupus, affect the whole body.
There are more than 80 different autoimmune diseases.
Here are a few of the most common ones:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
- Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (or IBS)
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Celiac disease
What are the current treatments for autoimmune diseases?
Current treatments can’t cure autoimmune diseases, but they can support the overactive immune response and potentially help with inflammation.
At this time, prescribed drugs are the best course of treatment, these drugs include:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) and naproxen (Naprosyn)
- immune-suppressing drugs
Treatments are also available to relieve symptoms like pain, swelling, fatigue, and skin rashes.
Eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise can also help you feel better.
So currently, the main treatment for autoimmune diseases is with medications that bring down inflammation and calm the overactive immune response.
Treatments can also help relieve symptoms. But could CBD support treatment?
So why CBD oil for autoimmune conditions?
What impact might CBD and our endocannabinoid system have on these conditions?
The key to understanding this is with the endocannabinoid system’s role in regulating the immune response.
Before we delve into this topic, let’s first discuss Crohn’s disease (UK).
Does CBD oil help with Crohn’s Disease?
One of the many avenues being discussed with regards to endocannabinoid deficiency is CBD oil for Crohn’s disease (UK).
Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system or gut.
Crohn’s can affect any part of the gut, though the most common area affected is the end of the ileum (the last part of the small intestine), or the colon.
The areas of inflammation are often patchy with sections of normal gut in between.
A patch of inflammation may be small, only a few centimetres, or extend quite a distance along part of the gut. As well as affecting the lining of the bowel, Crohn’s may also go deeper into the bowel wall.
It’s one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). The other is Ulcerative Colitis.
There’s currently no cure for Crohn’s disease, but treatment can control or reduce the symptoms and help stop them coming back.
Medicines are the main treatments, but sometimes surgery may be needed.
The endocannabinoid system, CBD and the immune system
Naturally, this opens up the question about its potential to treat auto-immune disorders.
The active compounds in cannabis are not only responsible for the herb’s psychoactive effects.
It is now understood that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce various effects.
Of particular interest is cannabis’ effect on the immune system.
Cannabinoids are known as immunomodulators, which means they help regulate and influence the function of the immune system.
Understanding how cannabis interacts with the immune system could open up many promising avenues to use cannabis as a natural treatment of various health conditions.
Today, it is accepted that cannabinoids can alter the functioning of the immune system. However, exactly how this happens is still up for debate.
CBD and Auto-immune disorders
With certain autoimmune disorders, an overactive (or weakened) immune system is often at the root.
The result of an immune response that has gotten out of control can manifest in chronic inflammation, which we see with health conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and allergies.
It’s possible that cannabis could be useful to treat these and other health conditions where the immune system plays a critical role.
In times gone by, cannabinoids from hemp would have supplemented our endocannabinoid system and helped to keep us healthy.
Thankfully the new CBD industry is now reintroducing cannabinoids as a food supplement and, just as you take vitamin or mineral supplements, you can now use CBD oil to help in supporting a healthy, balanced diet.
Much more research is needed into the possible applications of CBD oil for Crohn’s disease (UK) and CBD oil for auto-immune conditions.
But it’s an exciting time for cannabinoid science as we look forward to new developments in this field.
You can now consume hemp, containing CBD and other cannabinoids, as a food supplement.
We offer a variety of different products which can be consumed in various ways.
All our products are manufactured from legal, low-THC varieties of cannabis that are grown under licence, either in Europe or the USA.
All our products are backed up by certified laboratory test results which demonstrate their cannabinoid content and the absence of contaminants.