Studies have increasingly documented the health implications of insufficient sleep, which include increased risk of diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. But despite such findings, more than a third of us still need to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Many have lives and dynamics that don't allow it - our home is a primary example.
Mom is often up at night, as Genevieve doesn't sleep well. She never did, but the Pandemic threw off her day/night calendar so severely due to the lack of school, services, and the ongoing decay of the system to care for the most vulnerable members of our society - those with moderate or more developmental delays and all other disabilities.
Whether lack of sleep is due to stress, late nights out, or a sleep disorder, many people who fail to get sufficient shut-eye may have an increased appetite the following day, with a particular craving for unhealthy foods. We're learning that the Endocannabinoid system needs healthy foods to create more neurotransmitters that run our body, and it's just our nature to grab at the first thing to fill us up instead.
Erin Hanlon, Ph.D., a research associate in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at the University of Chicago, IL, and colleagues may have shed light on why this is and shared it with Medical News Today back in 2016.
2016? Yes, that's right, we need to catch up in learning about the Endocannabinoid System, Endocannabinoids, Endocannabinoid Tone, and most importantly - ECS Balance Control - how to keep it all in check.
Knowing what our body produces, how, and what happens when it doesn't is far more critical than what product is for sale on a website - or what new strain of Cannabis or Fungi came out. How we eat and what we do in our lives to treat our body kind - or not, will all be crucial in how our Endocannabinoid System treats us.
"We found that sleep restriction boosts a signal that may increase the hedonic aspect of food intake, the pleasure, and satisfaction gained from eating," says Hanlon. "Sleep restriction seems to augment the endocannabinoid system, the same system targeted by the active ingredient of marijuana, to enhance the desire for food intake."
Endocannabinoids play a pivotal role in regulating various physiological and pathological processes in the human body. Scientific evidence does more than suggest this signaling system is associated with energy intake and storage; it also shows it modulates when to shut down the release of energy and allow sleep.
We're at a point of knowledge about Endocannabinoids, the ECS, and Endocannabinoid Tone and Balance, and we must learn more.
It gets even more complex, but let's keep this simple. Factors such as physical exercise, disrupted sleep patterns, inflammation, and pain can significantly affect the concentrations of circulating endocannabinoids.
As humans with busy lives, we have a catch-22 effect here - specifically with the Endocannabinoid 2-AG, which modulates sleep. What's fascinating is how the body responded in the research study done by Hanlan and the University of Chicago.
Sleep deprivation increased circulating endocannabinoid levels by 33%
The team enrolled 14 healthy volunteers in their 20s, who were required to sleep in the University's Clinical Research Center over two separate 4-day periods to come to this conclusion. The beautiful thing about Endocannabinoid research is we're not talking about plants for sale, extracts, or a vape cart - we're discussing what our body makes, and there are no laws against that. Research can also be done on humans regarding Endocannabinoids without the issues and blockades in studying us with plants, such as those with THC, due to prohibition and extraneous regulation.
Facts about sleep:
- Americans sleep an average of 7 hours and 36 minutes a night. But, this drastically changed with the onset of the Pandemic in 2020.
- On weekends or non-workdays, Americans sleep for around 40 minutes longer.
- Women are likelier to report insomnia symptoms than men, often attributed to reproduction and hormone balance. (A mom stays up watching over her family while a working dad sleeps - nothing has changed as this is fundamental human nature)
- During the Pandemic, sleep-related disturbances in both Men and Women rose by over 5% - parents were the single highest cause, rising from nearly 10% to almost 50% of all people.
This uptick is huge; before the Pandemic, below 40% of the population (37%) had sleep disturbances. The research shows how the Endocannabinoid System stepped into play. But it could have done a much better job for those with poor ECS balance.
Role in Energy Intake and Storage: Research directly links endocannabinoid signaling to increased energy consumption and storage. Research implies a potential connection between poor endocannabinoid levels to many conditions we all want to avoid. When we use them up due to sleep deprivation, we get headed down a path we should avoid.
Physical Exercise: Exercise leads to both production and the release of endocannabinoids, which has a vast potential to restore one's energy reserves and also offer analgesic and mood-enhancing benefits. Like our Opioid Receptor system, our Endocannabinoid system can ease our minds when we have a good Endocannabinoid Tone.
We are all unique, and for this reason, I teach about ECS Balance Control. For each person, it can be different; we all have much to learn.
Sleep and Endocannabinoids: The concentration of certain endocannabinoids, like 2-arachidonoylglycerol, follows a circadian rhythm and gets disturbed by disrupted sleep patterns.
So, if we have diminished our 2-AG levels - we're also going without both 1-AG and 3-AG - and we need them all.
Sleep Deprivation can drastically impact endocannabinoid tone, disrupt receptor availability, and more. Our body uses our Endocannabinoids to work overtime when we're tired.
When we inhale high-THC cannabis, research already demonstrates how 2-AG production diminishes, quickly showing us why smoking a joint before bed can sometimes keep us up thinking about the meaning of life - or Netflix Binging.
Research also shows us that our ECS is overworked when we're exhausted - and we need to balance it out after that workout to handle a day without sleep. That's comparable to not feeding yourself after a long day of work to build up muscle and stamina for the next day.
Inflammation and Pain: Researchers show altered levels of circulating endocannabinoids to exist under pain and inflammation conditions. When our 'Endocannabinoid Tone' isn't quite right, it's either giving the body too much of one of the many endocannabinoids we have or too little and when that's the issue, it can cause increased signals that tell us our body hurts.
Quickly we can see that being 'out of balance' on the inside causes issues, ones we're trying to fight with various plants, doctors visits, and other ways we need to. And when we go without rest, our body uses them at a hyper-speed, so having available endocannabinoids is necessary for our quality of life.
Stress Response and Homeostasis: Endocannabinoids respond to stress, and sleep deprivation causes terrible anxiety. Their altered levels are also a research finding in disorders arising from excessive stress, such as PTSD.
When stressed, we start chewing into the Endocannabinoid Tone, and the balance becomes essential. We need to feel happy, and Anandamide is on low due to using it up after a poor night's sleep. Our happiness gets robbed from us for one reason or another, and we grab for THC, mimicking the bliss molecule, and we use it and laugh again.
The stress in our lives chews up endocannabinoids, namely Anandamide, the bliss molecule that makes us all happy.
The Potential to use Endocannabinoid levels and receptor availability, known as Endocannabinoid Tone, as diagnostic tools:
The Potential to be used as biomarkers in blood tests to detect human disease is one of the most significant advances in the discovery of Endocannabinoids - including Cancers. Researchers have already uncovered that the Endocannabinoid Tone, or the Receptor expression and availability, can be an indicator coupled with other factors to point out a malignancy.
Cannabinoid Receptors are at a high concentration in these areas, making both endocannabinoids and exogenous ones (grown/made outside of the body) as having a high potential in future treatments of issues that Endocannabinoid Tone alone can detect.
Sources and Roles: Circulating endocannabinoids derive from multiple sources, such as the brain, muscles, fat tissue, and circulating cells. Their release into the bloodstream serves specific purposes, like regulating energy after exercise.
With its exciting and oh-so-diverse roles and origins, the endocannabinoid system and circulating endocannabinoids offer a promising path for excited researchers to understand its involvement in various human diseases and conditions.
However, while their circulating concentrations provide essential information, relying solely on them as biomarkers pose challenges due to many influencing factors.
But, when we examine how Endocannabinoids naturally increase in our body to compensate when we lack sleep, it's easy to see that it will take quite some time before measurement of our bodily cannabinoids can be effective. There are so many other factors that also change our levels we will be discussing in future articles.
How do Researchers measure endocannabinoid levels - where are they found?
Endocannabinoids found in biological samples obtained from humans in studies include saliva (Matias et al, 2012), hair (Krumbholz et al, 2013), semen (Amoako et al, 2010), breast milk (Lam et al, 2010), and amniotic fluid (Lam et al, 2010).
Data from endocannabinoid measurements in these biological samples are far less frequent in the literature than measurements in circulation. However, they could have significant advantages. For example, their stature in hair could provide a retrospective picture of endocannabinoids, and saliva is more accessible than blood, particularly in a non-hospital setting.
What will the future bring as far as Endocannabinoid Medicine?
The concept of treating the ECS seems to be, by far, second to that of researching how plant cannabinoids work in the body. Due to breakthrough findings in new Endocannabinoid System discoveries and the continued push to learn about how Anandamide and THC are nearly the same, this oversight that continues is primarily due to marketing and new laws passed in states legalizing cannabis.
When California, then the West Coast, and Colorado legalized it, everyone learned how an Endocannabinoid looks just like THC and how THC operates just like the Endocannabinoid Anandamide in our bodies. So, new states legalize, new bloggers and educators step on board - and if you think about it, it's much like a school with different grade levels.
It's time we all joined the same class with Mike - and learn more about ECS Balance Control...
We need to concentrate on the system that we have, how to enhance it, and how we can also hurt it - as nobody ever told me when I was using copious amounts of strong cannabis oil daily from morning to night loaded up with THC as the mainstay, that I was creating an overexpression.
ECS Balance Control is a concept that can change lives as much as a plant - or far more. This article is a reproduction of information coming from that educational website.
We can do many things to help our Endocannabinoid system, but the first thing is learning what it consists of; it's far more than THC, CBD, or even CBGa - as our body doesn't make them. So buckle up and get ready as learn more about Endocannabinoids - then move on to other parts of the ECS and how it affects different systems in your body.
*** WARNING: Please do not shop for "Endocannabinoid supplements" (such as AEA/Anandamide) on the open market - or at all; many of our body's chemicals are duplicated and sold over the counter, on websites, and more. Serious consequences can occur when an individual attempts to manipulate an ECS with what I call 'Endocannabinoids in a bottle' without the oversight of a medical expert who monitors them and knows the ECS can advise as well. If I'm giving this warning, you know it's something to pay attention to. (I hope).