By James Ainsworth
As we have seen before, our society is in the midst of a transformation with the use of CBD and cannabis medicine for the treatment of many different kinds of human ailments and illnesses. While many people are discovering and exploring the amazing healing potentials of CBD, in many ways scientific research and knowledge of the human endocannabinoid system is lagging behind societal acceptance and use of the cannabis plant.
Interestingly enough, it appears that certain aspects of the interaction between CBD and the human endocannabinoid system fit very strongly within the framework and elements of traditional Chinese medicine, which include acupuncture, acupressure massage as well as movement, breathing and meditation practices relating to Tai Chi and Qigong. In fact, the oldest text that references to use of cannabis for healing, comes from a book written by Emporer Shen Nung, in 27 in his guide to Chinese medicine. This text mention cannabis uses for pain and its anti-inflammatory properties. The rich parallels and commonalities of the healing properties of CBD and traditional Chinese medicine are beautifully outlined in the 53-minute Qiological podcast, “CBD from the perspective of Chinese Medicine,” through an interview of acupuncturist Chad Conner, by moderator Michael Max.
One of the fundamental commonalities between Chinese medicine and the interaction of CBD and the human endocannabinoid system is that both systems are based on balance or homeostasis. An acupuncturist or a Chinese traditional herbalist or medical practitioner seeks to balance the yin and yang forces within specific organs and various systems and parts of the body, much in the same way that the endocannabinoid system itself seeks to maintain homeostasis throughout the body. However, much like people are discovering with CBD – Chinese medicine is intuitive and interactive – and it does not operate by standard doses and formulas in a “one size fits all” approach.
It is through this intuitive, interactive approach that Chad Conner believes many breakthroughs can be made and that we are potentially laying the foundation for a new approach or modern branch of Chinese medicine.
“It is a whole medicine that is just developing,” Connor says, emphasizing that more education is needed. “Cannabis medicine is a personalized medicine that nobody is personalizing. They’re doing it all over the counter, a shotgun approach. Most people are overdosing on THC and they’re not getting the (healing) effect. That is the negative side we hear about.”
Connor points out that in terms of the contrast between cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the two main healing molecules in the hemp and cannabis plants, CBD is more of the yin, feminine aspect and THC is more of the yang aspect. He says that it is important to find the “sweet spot” with just the right amount of CBD and THC in the body to get the healing effect; however, only a very small amount of THC is needed to activate the CB1 receptors (in the central nervous system) and CB2 receptors (in the lymphatic, immune and peripheral nervous system) that are found throughout the body. Many people do not understand this balance and are therefore flooding their bodies with too much THC, which then mitigates the full healing potential of the CBD.
This is also why dosage is extremely important and must be approached from very small levels and gradually increase the level of CBD, while keeping THC at a minimum. (This is why the hemp plant is a good choice for cannabis medicine, because it only has .3 percent THC and therefore does have the more “yang” “psychoactive” properties of the high associated with THC.)
Connor suggests that there are two theories from Chinese medicine model that can be applied toward the endocannabinoid system – an excess or deficiency – which again corresponds with the Chinese polarities of yin and yang. According to Connor endocannabinoid and neurotransmitter deficiencies are the most common, which is associated with illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, PSTD, serotonin deficiencies and problems with sleep and depression.
On the other hand, endocannabinoid excess leads to obesity, people having trouble losing weight and problems with different types of diabetes. However, Connor also suggests that we are only in the beginning stages of research and hence there are opportunities for scientists, researchers and practitioners to create a whole treatment theory of how to work with Chinese medicine and the cannabis plant.
Connor also describes a research study that shows that putting an acupuncture needle into the body also stimulates the endocannabinoid system. He suggests that this study may provide the link the between acupuncture and the endocannabinoid system and how both CBD and acupuncture work to create homeostasis within specific targeted organs as well as the body as a whole.
Through his own product line Pure Ratios, Connor produces a CBD 96-hour patch, which can be used topically to treat pain. He believes that using CBD to stimulate acupuncture points can be a highly effective method of healing through the endocannabinoid system. Connor did a pilot study where he treated 6 women with severe menstrual cramps; three days before their cycle he put a patch on the liver and after menstruation began he added a patch to the uterus. Connor says that 5 of the 6 women experienced tremendous relief, while only one woman did not experience much relief.
The discussion between Michael Max and Chad Connor is an excellent podcast interview that provides a wonderful introduction to Chinese medicine and CBD. For many people, the use of acupuncture and mind-body practices such as Qigong and Tai Chi can be a powerful way to fine-tune and augment the innate healing potentials of CBD.