Cannabinoids are a core part of the RM toolkit because they are such powerful natural molecules for creating change in so many different aspects of wellbeing, health and resilience as well as helping enhance life experience for many people. The reason cannabinoids are so helpful is because they work within our natural endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. The ECS function is so crucial to our brain and body balance, or homeostasis.
Our endocannabinoid system controls some of the most critical systems in our body, from movement, pain control and immune system to our gut, mental health and sleep. It does this by controlling homeostasis, which is the overall balance of our brain and body. Endocannabinoids are chemicals made by our bodies similar to CBD, THC and other cannabinoids from the cannabis plant.
Like breathing, the endocannabinoid system takes care of itself, working away in the background without us thinking about it. However, research tells us that many diseases and symptoms may be related to or involve something going wrong with the endocannabinoid system- like chronic pain, anxiety and depression and IBS. This is why it can be helpful to add cannabinoids from the cannabis plant to help restore balance and reduce symptoms with very few side effects.
If you are well already, many people find cannabinoids can be used to enhance mental and physical wellbeing and life enjoyment and are healthier alternatives to alcohol for many people.
In the UK, medical cannabis was made legal in 2018 and is now available as a prescribed medicine. In addition, it is legal for medical use in Canada, Israel, Australia and parts of the USA. We know that cultures across the globe successfully used cannabis for medical reasons throughout history to significant effect, but much of this knowledge was lost. The research is finally catching up now that it is again legal to research cannabis as a medicine in many parts of the world. We are rediscovering its many benefits for maintaining health and fighting disease.
It’s fantastic to see that medical cannabis use is becoming more widespread globally and providing life-changing relief to people living with chronic conditions, including epilepsy, pain and mental health conditions. In places where adult cannabis use is now legal many US states and Canada, many people are utilising cannabis for a wellness purpose outside of the medical model too as part of self care, especially for stress, sleep and womens health.
Cannabinoids, medical cannabis and CBD are incredibly powerful tools, especially when combined with other synergistic tools to support our brain and body balance. Cannabinoids are a pillar of RM for this reason since Dr Dani found that in most chronic conditions, cannabinoids in some combination offered enormous benefits in terms of symptom control and quality of life even when many other drugs and approaches were not effective.
Each person’s ideal dosage and the combination will be slightly different, but the main principles are the same-start low and go slow and track your symptoms and how you feel (which you can do using your R score) to assess what is working best for you over time.
Many of you will be very aware of one of those cannabinoids – CBD – as millions of people now use it worldwide for health, wellness and beauty. THC, which at high doses has an intoxicating effect, is the compound that can make people feel ‘high’ when taken recreationally. However, when used in medical cannabis, usually in low doses as part of a whole plant extract, it is highly beneficial for conditions such as chronic pain, muscle spasm and helping control symptoms in conditions such as multiple sclerosis, insomnia and nausea and vomiting as a side effect of chemotherapy, among others.
Preliminary research shows that THC in ultra-low doses or microdoses are taken daily may also help prevent Alzheimer’s dementia and other diseases of brain aging in healthy older adults as part of a preventative strategy.
Cannabis is a very safe medication that is used to significant effect by doctors as a quality of life medication, as it is so good at reducing pain and alleviating the symptoms of severe health conditions. Though people with a history of psychosis, schizophrenia and mania generally should avoid medical cannabis containing more than trace amounts of THC, medical cannabis and CBD is safer than many over-the-counter medications and herbal remedies that many people take without a second thought.