Have you ever wondered why cannabis works for so many different issues?
Have you ever flip flopped on whether or not cannabis was actually healthy for you?
Do you want to be able to confidently talk about your cannabis use while busting the stoner stigma and stereotype?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, THIS is your episode.
This week, on the Wake + Bake Podcast, we’re going beyond the same ole boring overview of the Endocannabinoid System. We’re diving deep into what the science means for you – someone who wants to use cannabis to be your healthiest self.
In today’s episode, we cover:
🍃 How and why cannabis works in the human body
👤 What happens in your body when you develop a tolerance
🌱 How to avoid developing tolerance
🔄 how to reset your Endocannabinoid System if you’ve been using too much THC
🤢 What is Cannabis Hyperemesis Syndrome (and how to make sure you don’t get it)
🏃♀️If we can confidently say “Cannabis is Healthy” in 2022, given everything we know
This one is not to be missed. Share it with your friends and family who don’t quite “get it” yet when it comes to cannabis and health.
Themes: cannabis, healing, the Endocannabinoid system, cannabis as medicine, cannabis hyperemesis syndrome
Show Resource Links:
Become a Certified Cannabis Educator in as little as 12 Weeks and get paid to talk and write about cannabis: cannabiscoachinginstitute.com/ccep
Get 10% off your first order using the code WAKEANDBAKE at Wake + Bake Hemp Co. – www.wakeandbakehemp.co
Visit Andrea at Reveal Cannabis: www.revealcannabis.com
Visit Corinne at Wake + Bake: www.wakeandbake.co
Email us with questions and requests at [email protected]
Watch the Wake + Bake Podcast on YouTube
EPISODE 104 – Why Does Cannabis Work (and how does it work for so many things)?
This week, on the Wake + Bake Podcast
This is the one where I get to talk about how I thought you were a stoner trying to foist your stonerness on everybody by pretending there was an endocannabinoid system.
Yeah, luckily I didn’t have to make up a system because it actually does exist.
You know, these last 20 years of innovation have brought us amazing products and amazing things, and some of them are scary as hell.
Why is it that cannabis seems to work for all of these different things and how is it doing that? How is it actually, helping someone with epilepsy and also ptsd?
are we blowing the heck out of our endocannabinoid system by doing things like, um, really potent dabs or really potent cannabis products?
Why? What are they doing, ? Why are they in my toenails, in my hair follicles?
most of this could be solved if the US would legalize cannabis and regulate it
Oh, did you guys have a perfect up in Canada? You guys have figured it out. .
We have it perfect
Yeah, right dude.
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You have ever held a thought in your head about how cannabis is bad for you or a cannabis is a drug or you’ve ever felt a little bit sticky for using this plant I encourage you to listen to this episode. Corinne and I talk about how and why cannabis works. And for many people, this is the key to unlocking a stigma free life in the cannabis world. Because once you understand how intricately involves the cannabis plant can be with our body you don’t have to walk around feeling bad about using the plant anymore.
We also talk about things like THC tolerance and what to do if you have it. And we discussed the question. Is it okay for us to talk about cannabis being a safe, natural non-toxic plant, when we have more and more people getting sick from it.
But before we dive in, let me tell you about one of the programs that we offer over at the Cannabis Coaching Institute. It’s called the certified cannabis educator program. And in it, we give you a really firm foundation in cannabis science. So that you’re able to talk about this plant in a way that’s backed by science and in a way that other people can understand and use.
Plus we teach you how to take that knowledge and that passion and turn it into a side hustle or even a full blown career by being a cannabis educator . By creating things like blogs or podcasts or YouTube videos or workshops to help other people understand what’s going on with this beautiful plant.
We’ve had hundreds of students through our doors and they are out there in the real world right now, making a difference. Please come join us. Head to www.cannabiscoachinginstitute.com/ccep
📍 This is the one where I get to talk about how I thought you were a stoner trying to foist your stonerness on everybody by pretending there was an endocannabinoid system.
I know. I thought about that and I was like, she’s gonna tell that story.
And I was like, I don’t remember ever explaining the endocannabinoid system back then?
I don’t even think that you explained it. I think that it was just like a mention in a post or something about the endocannabinoid system
Probably cuz I didn’t understand it very likely because I did not know what exactly was happening there. That’s why I’m so excited about this episode
Why Does Cannabis Work?
Why does cannabis work? Now, you’ve heard that cannabis can work for so many things. Pain, anxiety, epilepsy, sleep issues, gastrointestinal disorders, migraines, Parkinson’s, stress release, period cramps, acne, cancer, and more. That feels like such a big list.
It feels like I’m standing on a corner being like, This thing can cure all of y’all ailments, you know, like the tip of my hat. Uh, but why? Why is it that cannabis seems to work for all of these different things and how is it doing that? How is it actually, um, helping someone with epilepsy and also ptsd?
Very, very different things, very different ways that they show up in the human body. Today we’re gonna dive into how and why cannabis works. The main way that we’re gonna discuss that today is by talking about the endocannabinoid system. So Andrea, I’d love to know what the science says about the endo cannabinoid system and how it can explain how and why cannabis works.
A Stoner Introduced Andrea to the Endocannabinoid System
Yeah, for me this was a really pivotal moment in letting go of some of the stigma that I had about consuming cannabis and feeling better, um, when I was suffering with really bad depression. And I would feel better using cannabis and then I would feel worse cuz I knew I was a druggie and I was using a dangerous drug.
Um, and so learning about just this like one piece in the puzzle was really, um, exciting for me, and lets me go ahead and like, talk about cannabis loud and proud all the time. And I am going to tell the story of how I first found out about the endocannabinoid system, which was just after figuring out that this was working for me.
And I was online doing some research. I was on Corinne’s awesome website, Wake + Bake and she mentioned into a post somewhere that the reason that THC, you know, maybe helps you feel better is that you have a system in your body that is designed to quote unquote catch the molecules in cannabis. And I thought that was the funniest freaking thing I had ever heard.
That there was a stoner on the internet who, you know, was just trying to make up ways to, you know, alleviate her, her feeling bad about using cannabis or something. I didn’t know what you were doing, . So, yeah, I like closed my computer and went downstairs and told my husband and I was like, ha ha, listen to what this lady thinks.
And then immediately, you know, went back upstairs and started researching more and realized that actually you are right. So yeah, this is a huge topic that we’re gonna make, hopefully really easy to understand so that you can also go out in your life and talk about why and how cannabis makes you feel better, um, and hopefully help some other people along the way.
Yeah, luckily I didn’t have to make up a system because it actually does exist. Um, and we are learning more and more about it every day, and that’s what I’m so excited about. I think this is our biggest key to unlocking the stigma around cannabis, but also allowing us to use it in a way that’s, um, effective and impactful and meaningful in our own lives.
At the same time, like the more we learn about this one particular system, whether or not it was designed to catch the, the THC molecule or not, um, the more we can really separate this idea of like oh, shoot, this is this bad thing. Or is it really working? Or is this a placebo effect? All of these different things.
And when we understand how this system works, even to a very basic degree, I think it allows us to do that. Now, I think what one of the things we talked about was that when you saw this, you were like, maybe it was just a brief mention. You were like, Oh, there’s this system. And it’s probably because I didn’t understand it.
And still to this day, there’s so much to learn about the endocannabinoid system. There’s a new science that is really starting to deepen into this endocannabinoidolgy I think is what they’re calling it currently. Um, so let’s dive in. Let’s talk about the real basics of this, because I think if we understand the real basics and then we can geek out super hard.
Exactly How Does the Endocannabinoid System Work?
If I were completely new, I knew nothing about it. Um, I had the same hangups about cannabis that, that we used to.
What would you tell me about the endocannabinoid system So I could like get it.
Okay, cool. We’re gonna dive into this, but I do wanna start with the history of it really quick, because understanding how this system was actually discovered is really important. So humans have been consuming cannabis for thousands of years, and we’ve known without having a laboratory that cannabis makes us feel better, it helps us sleep, it helps with pain, et cetera.
And in the 1960s, there was a researcher who was also interested, like, what is in this plant that’s making us feel good? So he isolated THC and fed it to dogs. And dogs did not like THC, fed it to humans as well. And through this process, he was able to say like, Hey, it’s this one molecule, THC in cannabis that makes us feel different.
But of course, Why? How is that working? If THC is doing it, how is it doing it? Um, it actually took two full more decades of study before researchers uncovered or found the first receptor that THC is attaching to. It’s called a cannabinoid receptor. And when THC attaches to this receptor, it sets off this whole flood of signals in your body that help to do all the things that you were talking about, you know, calm epileptic symptoms or help with ptsd, et cetera.
Turns out that these receptors are on cells all over our body, primarily in our brain and our central nervous system, but also like everywhere on our body, which of course begs the question, well, why the heck do we have these receptors?
Hang on, hang on. Everywhere on your human body. Let’s be clear about that. Eyeballs. Are they in there?
In my toenails?
I don know about your toenails specifically, but I know that yeah, like that endocannabinoids are implicated and actually even growing your hair, so maybe they’re implicated in growing your nails as well.
I was just gonna ask if they are my hair follicles. Okay. Okay, So they are literally everywhere.
Because it’s so widespread, the ECS can help with so much!
In fact, that’s kind of the key is that the reason that cannabis can work for glaucoma in your eyeball cells and also help with gut health in your gut cells, and also help it when you stubbed your toe that has the toenail in it is because these receptors are on cells everywhere. In fact, this system of receptors is the largest receptor system in the human body, meaning we’ve got way more endocannabinoid receptors than any other kind of receptors.
Okay, Why? What are they doing, ? Why do we have some, Why are they in my toenails, in my hair follicles?
Right, right. Again, because they’re not there in case we smoke weed. So it took more time before researchers were able to find a compound that our body makes naturally, that attaches to these receptors and sets off that flood of signal. So we know now about a couple of these different homemade molecules that are called endo cannabinoids, which means like homemade, Yeah, homemade cannabinoids. And that’s why this system is there. This system is there with receptors on cells all over because it is responsible for, the endocannabinoid system is responsible for balancing out all of your other systems, which is insane when you think about it, that it is kind of like the master control system or the volume knob or the master puppeteer of your reproductive system, your endocrine system, your gastrointestinal system, your cardiovascular system, your digestive system, all of these things that we learned about, you know, in grade four at school.
The thing that’s helping them all stay in a state of balance is the endocannabinoid system.
But HOW is Cannabis Working?
How? How? How is it like, so what is it doing in there? Because you say, okay, it’s in this system and it’s a receptor in this system.
Okay. So in my digestive system, how is this endo cannabinoid system regulating the whole thing, what does that actually look like in any of these other systems? Is it always looking the same? Does it look different for every system?
No, it’s different. What’s going on? Yeah, it’s different in every system and it’s different in each kind of location in your body, but it doesn’t matter because the exact same thing is happening. Endocannabinoids are produced on demand, which is different than serotonin and dopamine, which gets stored in your brain, and then you could have like a dopamine release where you feel great, but then you feel terrible after. Endocannabinoids don’t work like that. If I hurt my hand, the endocannabinoid system that’s operating in my hand is going to immediately create endocannabinoids that are telling, let’s say, my pain signaling to calm down a little bit.
Um, for example, in your gut, if you are not processing food fast enough, maybe the endocannabinoid system in your gut is gonna gently nudge your system to process or digest food more quickly. If you are suffering from depression, we don’t have like great ideas about what’s causing depression, but let’s say that it’s a lack of serotonin, the endocannabinoid system even can interact with your serotonin receptors to help move you back into the state where you’re supposed to be, which is like, you know, a happy, balanced state.
So homeostasis. You know, what I love about this is like, the idea that I just think is important to think about when we talk about cannabis and health and all of these things is like, what’s the point?
Is it to feel like woo, the best ever where you’re talking about dopamine dumping, Like, yeah, that’s possible. That’s possible even with cannabis, you know, we know it’s dopaminergic as well. Or is it to find that place where you are naturally in that homeostatic place when you found that balance, when you’re all of your systems are operating at their highest. And to me that’s what was so interesting about learning, and what is still so interesting about learning about this system is that it’s a mechanism for that.
What If You Never Use Cannabis?
Uh, can we talk really quick about how it’s like, it’s obviously if you have endogenous cannabinoids that it’s not cannabis. It’s not just cannabis. Can we, Is it time? Can we talk about it ?
Yeah, absolutely. If you never touch a cannabis product in your life, your endocannabinoid system is still working in there. And for me, the question that was really interesting was, we know how we can keep our cardiovascular system in good shape, for example, but how are we gonna keep our endocannabinoid system in good shape so that it can do all of these different processes?
And the way to do that is super, super simple and also incredibly hard, especially if you happen to be living in 2022. Because in order to keep this master regulatory system in good shape, you need to do these things. Manage your stress well. Like I don’t know anybody who’s able to do that right now. Um, eat really well and move your body. Lots of us are not doing that well, and none of us are designed to live in this frenetically paced world that we live in. So for many people, along with managing stress, eating well and moving your body are supplementing their endocannabinoid system with cannabis, things like CBD, THC, and a lot of the other molecules that the plant creates.
But I think you’re bang on because our body evolved with this plant over time. And the whole point is to keep us into a state of balance. But what lots of people do, myself included, is we find THC and we’re like, Oh, this makes me feel really good. And then we take more and more and more THC and what is that doing to the receptors that are hanging out on our cells?
And what’s that doing to the molecules that our body creates on its own? And is that a good idea?
Hang on, hang on, hang on. Don’t blow past that because I, you know, I’m obsessed with this. What is it doing when you start taking high amounts of THC knowing what we just talked about, you have these receptors. This is in control of every system in your body. Um, so what does it do when you take a bunch of THC?
It does a whole bunch of things, but the thing that taking too much THC can do to this, to these cells in your body is that when you’re overloading this system that’s meant to keep you in balance, when you’re overloading it with this one compound, your system actually compensates for that.
And the way it compensates for that is either by pulling those receptors back into the cells so that THC can’t bind to them, or by creating kind of like a plaque like substance on it so that the molecule can’t bind as firmly and cause such an explosion, um, in the cell when it does this. So that’s great that we have this compensation mechanism in the body, but that also means that your own endocannabinoids that you’re producing naturally, that are meant to do that job for you are not able to bind to the receptors.
So we can see, um, not massive problems. This isn’t like consuming too many opiates or consuming too much Tylenol or nicotine or something like that. But yeah, definitely if you’re consuming too much THC you can find yourself in a state of imbalance that you’ve done to yourself rather than it just being 2022. That kind of imbalance.
What If You NEED a Lot of THC?
Yeah. Yeah. Oh man. There’s so much that we can talk about here, I think too, because the implications of that, right? And when it comes to selecting a product, um, is, is there a way for you to buffer that? So say maybe you have something that requires a higher amount of THC in order to feel good consistently over time. Um, is there a way that you can protect your endo cannabinoid system so that you can still, uh, you know, keep that function alive while consuming more THC.
Yeah, absolutely. The first thing that you’re gonna do is, before you even get yourself up to a high level of THC is start with a really low dose. And people talk about low dosing all the time, but nobody ever tells you what a low dose is.
So a low dose of THC, the thing that you’re gonna try to start with is like one or two milligrams of THC. So look on the package and find out how much is in there, or one puff of your joint or one pull of your vaporizer. And try to find the minimum effective dose of THC that will work for your condition. So don’t just smoke the whole joint or take the whole gummy, um, see if there’s a smaller amount of THC that will help you. Because we know that when people consume small amounts of THC daily or often, tolerance doesn’t build even close to the same way as high amounts of THC will do it to you.
And the second thing that you can do is incorporate CBD into your cannabinoid diet. Historically, all of the cannabis that we consumed had a pretty decent balance of CBD and THC in it. But when the whole war on drugs happened, we collectively bred cannabis to have only THC. So most of the cannabis products that you’re finding on the market right now are really heavy in THC but humans actually probably do much better with a good mix of both compounds.
So doing both those strategies together can really help you not wind up in a situation where you’ve blown out your endocannabinoid system by thinking you’re helping it. So I think that’s where cannabis consumers are often like, But it’s healthy cuz I’m helping my endocannabinoid system. So just thinking about those things.
I love it. I’m so glad you mentioned the, the adding in CBD because most people will blow right past that like, uh, start with a low dose thing. And so at least if you can incorporate the other cannabinoids into your cannabis diet, like you said, um, I think you can mitigate a lot of those. Well, let’s talk about if you’ve already done it, if you’ve already blown out your system is there anything you can do?
What if You’ve Already Developed THC Tolerance?
Are you screwed? Are you like, now your receptors are living inside, you’ve got this plaque. Like is there something you could do?
No, our body is amazing. And so if you cease THC consumption, even within about 48 hours, your receptors kind of start peeking back out again. So for most people, even just a two day break, a tolerance break from THC can help allow your receptors to come back into their own state of homeostasis and balance.
For more chronic consumers, um, a longer tolerance break is probably needed. But for some people, a tolerance break isn’t tenable. For me, I use it for my depression. A tolerance break scares the shit out of me. You can do things like lowering the amount that you’re taking or increasing the other molecules that you’re consuming from the plant. We see it all the time in CCI where people learn about CBG or CBN or CBDA and they start taking it and they find that having this like concert or this entourage of different molecules really helps make them feel good without having to consume so much THC.
Can Too Much THC Make You Sick?
Yeah, I never take it as solo anymore. So let’s go back really quick because you were just talking about, um, how we can overload this system, but it doesn’t really have that many implications for our overall health, aside from having a higher tolerance and those kinds of things and throwing the system off balance.
But are there more serious things? Um, we’ve, we’ve heard about things especially recently like cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. Is there a, a correlation to that and can you explain cannabis hyperemesis syndrome as well?
Yeah, so Cannabis Hyperemesis syndrome, CHS is, um, it’s becoming far more well known.
It seems like it’s chronic cannabis consumers, and again, those are people who are consuming daily and multiple times a day, in most cases, over a long period of time, develop this phenomenon where they are only barfing, like they’re only feeling really, really sick all the time. And the only thing that alleviates their sickness is by being in a hot shower or a hot bath. So they’ll wind up in the emergency room. And for a long time it was like it still is a diagnosis of exclusion. Like you have to exclude all these other things and then maybe you’re left with CHS. The implication for people who have CHS is often that they can never consume THC again because it will instantly trigger this bout of vomiting. I’m really interested in this as well. Cause I’m always terrified that I’m gonna get it. Over the years they’ve heard a whole bunch of different proposals of what’s happening here. Is it neem oil, which is like sprayed on cannabis plants often to help with I think bugs.
Or is it possible that we’re just consuming too much thc? Like are we blowing the heck out of our endocannabinoid system by doing things like, um, really potent dabs or really potent cannabis products? You know, taking a lot of THC. But lately I’ve been hearing a lot more about how this might be actually a genetic anomaly in your body that makes you more susceptible to getting CHS. So we don’t really know what the cause is, but we do know that if you wanna get CHS consume a hell of a lot of THC on the daily over a long period of time, and that will increase your risk significantly. So again, for most people it’s about finding a much smaller dose of THC that makes you feel good.
But if it, if you stop using THC, will it, does it go away? Like if you have CHS and then you stop using THC, it goes away?
It goes away. It takes like a few days for this, for the, for the symptoms to like disappear and then as you take THC, again, for most people, like I said, they can never use it again.
I mean, I think it’s interesting that it might be a genetic anomaly, but at the same time, if it’s like people blasting off multiple occasions, like, and then it happens and then they stop doing it, you know, it seems like there’s a real correlation there.
But we don’t know for sure whether or not that’s an endocannabinoid system related issue.
Not yet. Okay. This does bring up lots of important issues though, for like the general public. Now that we have access to these super concentrated THC products, are we gonna get ourselves into a position where we’re no longer able to talk about cannabis as a safe, non-toxic, therapeutic medicine as people are, you know, really messing with how we’ve been using the plant for thousands of years? You know, these last 20 years of innovation have brought us amazing products and amazing things, and some of them are scary as hell.
And that’s the thing is that like we can talk about why and how cannabis works all day long, but if the cannabis changes and we still have the same system, then I think maybe we need to, if we need to figure that out and understand it. Because like you said, we didn’t need science to know that it was doing these things for us before. But the plant was completely different. The plant was mostly CBD, where was mostly these other compounds and a little bit of THC. Now we’re talking about upwards of 90% concentrations, like in using inhalation, which is just going directly into your bloodstream, into your system.
Can We Still Say that Cannabis is Natural and Healthy in 2022?
I mean that’s, to me is like concerning as well. It’s like, no, I don’t think we can already today in 2022, say cannabis as a blanket statement is a natural, healthy, effective thing. Because when we’re talking about the system, like, yes, this plant interacts with the system, but when you talk about what’s happening in the cannabis industry, isolates, um, like you said, uh, high concentrations, the the gunk and chemicals things that people are putting on the plant, I already don’t feel like we can say that, which is crappy cuz I, I love this plant so much and I love what it does to this system.
I think we’re gonna hear more and more about people suffering really serious consequences from too much cannabis or the wrong product, or a contaminated product, et cetera. And again, most of this could be solved if the US would legalize cannabis and regulate it and have it run through a regulated system where we’re not forced or encouraged to create these weird cannabis products to get around regulations,
But do you have that in Canada? You guys legalized. Oh, did you guys have a perfect up in Canada? You guys have figured it out. .
We have it perfect
Yeah, right dude, .
But if we’re gonna talk about the difference between the products available to us in a totally legal system and the products that are available to many Americans who are living in various states of legality, a lot of these scary products are showing up only in illegal markets. Cuz again, they’re trying to skirt regulations.
All right. All right. All right. We’ve gotten way too off topic. We will cover that in another podcast, but right now, let’s recap. Andrea, tell me in a nutshell, what is the Endocannabinoid system and what do I need to know about it as I move forward as a cannabis consumer?
Awesome question. The Endocannabinoid System is a master regulatory system in your body that helps keep all of your bodily functions in a state of balance. We are creating cannabinoids in our body all the time to help us deal with stress and injury, et cetera. We can support and supplement the system by using cannabis, but we just have to be careful about how we’re doing it so that we are actually supporting the system and not making it worse in the meantime.
I love that. I think that’s the most succinct way to say it. And what I’d love to do in, in this Wake and Bake podcast is dive in on how to exactly do that. How do we use cannabis judiciously? How do we navigate this crazy system, this crazy industry that we’re currently in, so that we can support this system in a way that will allow us to have the best function, be closer to homeostasis, be closer to that natural state of living that we were talking about before, which is health.
Um, so we would love to hear from you. Please send in your questions, [email protected]. Make sure you comment, like, and subscribe to this podcast. We’re so excited to continue to explore these topics with you. So let us know what you wanna know. Let us know what questions you have. We are here to help and we’re so excited to be here with you.
We’ll see you next time.
See you next time.
It’s Andrea here at the end, popping in to remind you to please email us your questions. We want to know what’s been your experience with THC tolerance. Do you know people who are suffering from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome? What do you need to know about this beautiful plant? What do you want to hear us talk about? . So post your questions wherever you’re watching or listening to this, or email us at [email protected]. See you on the next one.