The number of ailments, conditions, and states of mind in which the endocannabinoid system’s role is being investigated grows ever larger. There’s addiction, Alzheimer’s, autism, endocrine disruption, gut dysbiosis, headaches, inflammation … and that’s not even half the alphabet. As two new studies highlighted below suggest, depression, loneliness, and grief – mental health conditions that have taken a prominent place in public discourse lately – should be included on the list, as well.
On its face the vast scope of endocannabinoid system (ECS) involvement in human health isn’t surprising, given what we already know about the distribution and function of the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, the endocannabinoids anandamide and 2-AG (our “inner cannabis”), and all of the other receptors, signaling molecules, and biological systems with which they interact.
But generating evidence of such effects through the scientific process is another matter. Then there’s the task of translating this data into practical information and potentially therapeutic interventions. This is the end goal of most modern cannabinoid science published on a daily basis in the scientific literature, but there’s still a long way to go before cannabis is tested, proven, and approved for the vast majority of these indications.