The eCB receptors are widely expressed in the body and associated with the nervous system cells and immune system cells. The basic messages of the eCB system are “relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect.” The system modulates neuroplasticity, neuroprotection, immunity, inflammation, apoptosis, and carcinogenesis. Cells of obese people have increased eCB tone, and eCB antagonists are being tested to treat obesity. eCB deficiency may be involved in depression, schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinsonism, irritable bowel syndrome, and multiple sclerosis.
There is an endocannabinoid (eCB) deficiency syndrome (due to reduced stimulation of the system) which can cause migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and some psychological problems. The eCB system includes chemical receptors on the surface of cells, ligands and enzymes. There are ways to increase eCB activity and alter the eCB deficiency syndrome as reported in this article.
NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) enhance eCB activity, and acetaminophen increases the activity of eCBs as do synthetic cannabinoids. (As well, a number of different pharmaceuticals are reviewed in this article.)
Alternative treatments for eCB deficiency include dietary omega-3, which is needed for proper eCB signaling. An omega-3 deficient diet blocks signals in the eCB pathways. The EPA and DHA fatty acids in krill oil are in forms that may absorb well. Prebiotics and probiotics containing L. acidophilus increased cannabinoid receptor RNA. Eating organic foods without pesticides may also increase eCB function, while phthalates in plastics inhibit eCB systems.
Copal incense (Protium sp.), related to Boswellia, stimulates eCB activity, as does absinthe from wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). As well, Salvia divinorum has eCB stimulatory effects in the gastrointestinal tract of rodents. The following show eCB stimulation: flavonoids from red clover (Trifolium pretense), genistein from soybean (Glycine max), kaempferol from tea (Camelia sinensis), kavalactone from kava (Piper methysticum) and curcumin from curry powder.
Yangonin, a kavalactone from the herb kava (Piper methysticum), curcumin from curry powder as well as marijuana stimulate the eCB system, while chronic stress inhibits the eCB system. A number of healthy lifestyle changes increase eCB activity.
CONCLUSION: This article is an exhaustive review of the literature of modalities that increase and decrease eCB activity. They address pharmaceuticals, as well as alternative approaches.
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