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How many times have you heard people say they prefer a “natural high” when they’re offered pot or other herbal refreshments?
They’re not just blowing you off.
It turns out there’s a lot more to this phrase than people ever imagined.
Your brain actually creates 100% natural compounds called endocannabinoids (ECS) that have the same chemical structure as THC-the active ingredient in marijuana. (source: medscape)
While it’s easy to think that these compounds are the brain’s all-natural chemical weed stash or ‘brain candy,’ studies show that ECS play a very important role in maintaining our health. From helping maintain energy balance, convert and metabolize glucose, build fat, stabilize mood, help memory, and others.
The human body has a wide network of receptors that process ECS (and THC and other cannabinoid compounds) so they can deliver their benefits. These many ECS receptors fall into two rough classes. The first type, Type 1 cannabinoid receptor (CB1) can be found mostly in the our brain, liver, glands (adrenal, pituitary, and thyroid), reproductive organs, kidneys, lungs, retina, and segments of the human eye.
The second type of cannabinoid receptor (CB2) are mostly found in our immune system-mostly in the spleen, digestive tract, thymus, and tonsils.
When you smoke marijuana, both CB1 and CB2 process the THC in your system.
In terms of health effects, these two receptor systems work in very different ways. While studies indicate that CB1 receptors stimulate drug seeking behavior, process THC and ECS to produce damaging fat in the liver and scarring of lung tissue, CB2 has the opposite effects. CB2 also has a very powerful anti-inflammatory effect which boosts overall health. (Source: medscape)
Increasing your body’s endocannabinoid levels can lead to greater overall health due to improve metabolism (weight loss), leaner muscle mass, and improved heart health (less inflammation).
Psychologically speaking, ECS pack a lot of benefits due to their role in neurotransmitter regulation and overall nervous system health. Studies have suggested that maintaining optimal levels of ECS can help people overcome major depression, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and ADHD. Other studies suggest a link between ECS levels and Parkinson's Disease, Fibromyalgia, various sleep disorders, and multiple sclerosis.
Given the benefits ECS packs, it’s a good idea to boost your body’s ECS levels. While some people are tempted to vape some THC-heavy icky sticky herbal substances to get some plant-based cannabinoids, others would want to stimulate their body’s internal production of these compounds. If you’re looking for a ‘natural high’ solution, here are just some all natural ways you can boost your body’s ECS production or increase your CB1 or CB2 receptor sensitivity.
When the human body is exposed to freezing temperature, its ECS production process in brown and white fat tissue increases quite a big (source: JLR)
You don’t have to move to Alaska or Edmonton to get a nice cold shock daily, just take cold showers in the morning. The earlier the better.
You’re probably going to hate freezing showers at first but once you get used to short showers, you’ll get used to it and would be able to take longer frigid showers.
You can also try exercising with just a thin shirt and out of season light and thin shorts.
Drink some Java
Studies show caffeine stimulates CB1 receptors. (source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
By enhancing your CB1 network, you can make them more sensitive to the ECS your body naturally produces. This has the effect of making your CB1 network more efficient. It would be able to react optimally even with reduced levels of ECS.
Use more EVOO
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), according to at least one study, helps optimize the sensitivity of CB1 receptors. (source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Just like with caffeine, by loading up on EVOO, you can ‘train’ your CB1 to be more sensitive to ECS. By eating more healthy high fiber saldads with olive oil-based dressings, you not only get to enjoy yummy food but boost your overall health.
Take Kava supplements
Found in the Pacific, the Kava plant’s root contains a compound (yangonin) which binds with CB1 receptors to enhance your natural ECS’ anti-anxiety effects. (Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) Kava has long been known to naturally ‘mellow’ people’s moods.
Follow the tips above to boost the health benefits of your body’s naturally produced “THC”-Endocannabinoids. Get that healthy ‘natural high’ you’ve been looking for while vaping some of the good stuff in moderation!