Alternative ways to enhance your ECS
Brief intro to the endocannabinoid system:
The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a complex signaling system found within the human body. See our previous blog on Exploring the ECS here (Exploring the ECS). The ECS was only first identified in the early 1990s by researchers exploring how THC exerts its effects, so it is a relatively new concept to the medical and scientific communities. The ECS is active in a wide array of bodily functions, which is why the use of cannabinoids is showing to be effective in such a broad mix of medical conditions. The ECS is a natural part of the human body. It exists and is active even if you don’t use cannabis. Maintaining a healthy and balanced endocannabinoid system may help prevent some health problems. Research is showing certain diseases often attributed to aging, such as osteoarthritis, may be partly attributed to endocannabinoid deficiencies. 
Cannabis can stimulate your ECS, but it is not the only way, so let’s take a look at some other ways patients can potentially enhance their overall health and medicating experience.
Essential Fatty Acids : Omega 3’s and 6’s:
Essential fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids. There are two types of polyunsaturated fatty acids: ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid and LA (linolenic acid), an omega-6 fatty acid. These polyunsaturated fatty acids are sometimes also called “good fats”. These fatty acids allow the body to absorb and process fat-soluble plant cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. In fact, previous research has shown how important fats are for getting the most of your cannabis. 
You can get these good fats through your diet by eating the following foods:
- Hemp seeds and hemp oil
- Flax seeds (grind at home in a coffee grinder) and flax oil
- Chia seeds
- Sardines and anchovies
- Eggs (pasture-fed or omega-3 enriched only)
Cacao powder contains compounds, such as anandamide, “the bliss molecule,” which is identical to the natural endocannabinoid anandamide made in your brain. These compounds can engage the ECS on their own and can also inhibit the breakdown of your body’s own endocannabinoids, resulting in higher endocannabinoid levels. The content of cannabinoid-like compounds in chocolate varies widely and is highest in dark chocolate and raw cacao. Other compounds in chocolate may be able to help prevent heart disease, stroke, and dementia. Look for at least 70% dark chocolate.
Herbs and tea:
Numerous herbs and teas contain compounds that can enhance the ECS. Beta-caryophyllene is a terpene found in black pepper, lemon balm, hops, cloves, cannabis, oregano, cinnamon, and several other herbs. Beta-caryophyllene selectively stimulates the CB2 receptor, a sought-after property in the development of treatments for inflammatory disorders. Listed below are several herbs thought to interact with your ECS.
- Echinacea, often used by herbalists for up to two weeks to stimulate the immune system during infections, also contains CB2 agonists.
- Camelia sinensis, commonly known as “tea”, contains beneficial compounds that prevent the breakdown of endocannabinoids, and compounds known as catechins, that may increase the binding to cannabinoid receptors.
- Turmeric, the yellow spice in curry powder, contains curcumin. Curcumin can raise the body’s natural endocannabinoid levels and has numerous other health benefits.
Physical Exercises and Stress Reducing Activities:
Dr. Sulak’s Healer program suggests that not only can chronic stress deplete your endocannabinoid system, a highly tuned endocannabinoid system can protect you from the detrimental effects of stress.
It is believed that exercise can increase a person’s anandamide levels, which can increase the sensitivity of the CB1 receptor. Incorporating the following activities into your day will keep your ECS well-tuned, but only if you enjoy them! Animal studies teach us that if you force yourself to exercise, your ECS will interpret the activity as stress, but freely choosing and enjoying the same activity will increase endocannabinoid levels. So do what you love and enjoy yourself!
- Social interaction
- Unstructured play time (this is important for adults too!)
- Osteopathic Manipulation (OMT)
- Breathing exercises
- Any voluntary and enjoyable exercise
Follow the link to Healer.com and some suggested Exercises that may help enhance your ECS!