Omega-3 Fatty Acids Could Be the Key to Unlocking the Maximum Benefits of Medical Cannabis
There is so much to learn about how cannabis works in the human body.
The growing body of knowledge we have is constantly increasing and evolving, revealing new breakthroughs and insights about our endocannabinoid system, cannabis, as well as the many other things we consume regularly. One of the most fascinating discoveries recently is how omega-3 consumption enhances the therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids.
What is Omega-3?
Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the most important fats we need to be consuming.
There are 11 different types of them, though the most of important are DHA, EPA, and ALA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) makes up the structures found in your eye’s retinas and in your skin. It’s necessary for proper brain development both in childhood as well as in adults. DHA deficiencies have been linked to quicker onset of Alzheimer’s disease and impaired brain functioning. Making sure you get enough DHA helps with certain conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, and certain cancers.
EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) is used by the body to produce eicosanoids, molecules that play an important role in reducing inflammation as well as promoting physiological health. EPA supplementation has helped women treat hot flashes.
Last but not least, ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which is the most common type of omega-3 fatty acids. It’s usually found in plants, and it is a precursor to DHA or EPA. Diets rich in ALA have been linked to reduced fatalities from heart disease, and protection from certain cancers.
These fatty acids are vital to maintaining many functions and improving overall health. Since the human body cannot produce its own omega-3 fatty acids, we need to obtain this from our diet. The best sources are fatty fish (salmon and sardines, for example), flaxseed oils, chia seeds, flax seeds, and walnuts. However, taking omega-3 supplements is recommended for individuals who are unable to get these foods from their diet.
How Omega-3 Works With The Endocannabinoid System
There has been recent research showing that when we consume adequate amounts of omega-3 in our diet, it helps us properly metabolize cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. In fact, omega-3 fatty acids can even help the body produce its own cannabinoids more efficiently, which is fantastic news for anyone who wants to improve their own overall health or is trying to cure a condition.
The endocannabinoid system is responsible for helping regulate many important functions including stress response, inflammation, pain, hunger, energy, muscle control, and mood among many others. That’s why when we have an endocannabinoid deficiency, we feel completely out of whack. And the omega-3 fatty acids are extremely helpful for helping in these functions. Additionally, studies show that omega-3 fatty acids convert into endocannabinoids in the human body, helping people who suffer from sleep and mood disorders, inflammation, pain, and much more.
Our own endocannabinoid system feeds on omega-3 fatty acids so in the human body, they work extremely well together. The endocannabinoid system is much more regulated with adequate omega-3 fatty acid levels in the body, and enables it to metabolize cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and all the many other valuable cannabinoids in the plant that help us heal and stabilize our own systems. It’s also important to note that the active ingredients within the cannabis plant are fat-soluble, which means that they need fat to properly metabolize (this is also why cannabinoids bind so well to fat when making edibles!).
Furthermore, omega-3 deficiencies have also been found to be linked to obesity, anxiety, and other conditions because the endocannabinoid system is also dysregulated. These deficiencies can also explain why people respond to CBD products so well, and why consuming it as a supplement makes so many of us feel so much better.
So, eating more omega-3 fatty acids help to make your cannabis consumption more efficient and helps it do its job even better.
Aditi Das, a professor at the University of Illinois specializing in biochemistry and comparative biosciences, led a study digging deeper into how cannabinoids and endocannabinoids support the immune system. “Some cannabinoids, such as THC in marijuana or endocannabinoids can bind to these receptors and elicit anti-inflammatory and anti-pain action,” Das said. “Our team discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3 derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules that predominantly bind to the receptors found in the immune system,” she explained. “This finding demonstrates how omega-3 fatty acids can produce some of the same medicinal qualities as marijuana, but without a psychotropic effect.”
Other benefits of consuming omega-3 include helping to repair and maintain cannabinoid receptors, helping the body synthesize cannabinoids efficiently, ensuring that the ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are optimal, which ensure healthy receptor membranes. It also helps convert one type of cannabinoid to the other, and regulate the endocannabinoid system by producing enzymes that help the body make more of these cannabinoids.
Getting More Omega Fatty Acids
If you want to maximize your cannabis consumption and its healing properties, it’s in your best interest to eat more sources of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Aside from the sources mentioned earlier, healthy sources of eggs, fish, nuts, and meat are also excellent ways to ramp up your fatty acids, which the body will then convert into endocannabinoids.
You may also want to consider taking fish oil supplements to get these nutrients in, if your current diet doesn’t enable you to get enough of these foods.
Not only will it help cannabinoid conversion in your body, but omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also have their own powerful healing properties especially when it comes to fighting inflammation and disease.
The research primarily focuses on specific types of omega-3 and omega-6 fats, which are DHA and EPA.