Are you suffering from an endocannabinoid deficiency?


All vertebrate animals have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a series of receptors throughout the body that are responsible for regaining and maintaining homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a fancy word for balance or making sure the body is functioning normally in its day-to-day operations.

As part of the ECS system the body creates substances called ‘cannabinoids’ or more precisely ‘endocannabinoids’ … ‘endo’ referring to within. These endocannabinoids fit into the cannabinoid receptor sites found throughout the body.

There are cannabinoid receptor sites in areas of the brain that influence our moods and how we perceive pain; on our organs involved with immune function; and even on our skin, reproductive organs and throughout the brain. Everywhere we find a cannabinoid receptor we know that our endocannabinoids can influence how that system works in the body.

In the early 2000s Dr. Ethan Russo started noticing similarities in common ailments, such as migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and irritable bowel disease.  He also noticed that when people suffering from these conditions used cannabis medicine, their symptoms lessened or in some cases even went into remission.

Because the cannabinoids from cannabis medicine affect the same receptor sites as our internally produced endocannabinoids, Dr Russo proposed that the cannabis based cannabinoids were acting as supplemental cannabinoids, especially when the body’s ECS isn’t producing enough, or in other words when there is an endocannabinoid deficiency.

The Endocannabinoid Deficiency theory makes sense given that when people who suffer with fibromyalgia, migraines, and irritable bowel syndrome use supplemental cannabinoids (cannabis medicine) their conditions improve

Researchers have started looking at other health conditions with similarities to fibromyalgia, migraines and irritable bowel syndrome and proposed that an endocannabinoid deficiency may be responsible for several common health conditions such as:

  • sleeping disorders

  • unexplained nausea

  • chronic inflammation

  • autoimmune disorders

  • chronic pain

  • accelerated aging

  • MS, Huntington’s & Parkinson’s

  • Anorexia (lack of appetite)

  • PMS

A lot more research needs to be done before we can definitively say that cannabis medicine will help with these common health conditions, but for those who don’t want to wait for the research to be complete, cannabis medicine is safe to try … and it just may help!


Russo EB. 2008.  Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD): can this concept explain therapeutic benefits of cannabis in migraine, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and other treatment-resistant conditions?;  The Endocannabinoid System 2014 Medical Cannabis Institute. Dustin Sulak, DO