Inflammation is not the only underlying cause of chronic pain but it is the most common cause. The purpose of pain is to alert the person that all is not well and there is a potential or actual risk of (tissue) damage somewhere in the body. If we remove acute traumatic events such as fractures, burns, sprains and tears etc, which usually will heal and resolve over time, pain of long standing generally becomes chronic.
The endocannabinoid system is a complex signalling system that was only identified in the 1990s. It is linked to a range of functions associated with maintaining homeostasis in animals, which include:
- Appetite and digestion
- Memory and learning
- Motor control
- Muscle formation
- Liver function
- Cardiovascular system
As an example, this system has been found in human breast milk and is thought to stimulate appetite, sleep and suckling in the infant.
This is a receptor site system that we are only beginning to learn about and in fact we are only at the beginning of this discovery. There are two main endocannabinoid receptor sites in our nervous system, one involving the peripheral nervous system and immunity, whilst the other involves the central nervous system. Chronic pain is expressed through sensation reaching our conscious awareness through these nervous systems. Cannabinoids are found in plant-based substances and attach to these receptor sites with a positive effect. The result may be seen in mood (feeling happy), appetite (hunger) and in pain relief, or speculatively, where homeostasis does not exist. A 10 year study looking at specific chronic conditions suggested that some endogenous chronic pain may be due to a deficiency of endocannabinoids in an individual.(1)
Cannabimimic substances (are cannabis-like substances) may bind to these receptor sites also and relieve some of the symptoms, if deficiency is the problem. A cannabimimic is a substance that is attracted to endocannabinoid receptors and has cannabinoid type response once attached.
Some plant-based cannabinoid-like substances in our diet are(2):
- Flax seed and oil
- Chia seed
- Black pepper
- Black truffles
- Cinnamon, Basil, Rosemary, Oregano (spices or apply topically after a test dose)
And many more…
PEA (palmitoylethanolamide)(3) is a cannabimimetic compound that exerts both an anti-inflammatory and analgesic effect by modulating mast cells and transcription factors. It was observed as early as the 1930’s that children with reoccurring infections responded better when fed wholesome eggs, and then in 1957 this beneficial state was again observed and was attributed to a similar substance isolated in soy lethicin.
PEA offers a great deal of hope for use in those not only in chronic pain but other neuroinflammatory states.
All chronic pain needs to be investigated to identify its cause and this should be done with your health practitioner.
As PEA is restricted to a ‘practitioner only product’ but can now be obtained through your practitioners at Ranges Integrated Health.
- Crystal Raypole. Endocannabinoid System [Internet]. healthline. 2019 [cited 2019 Sep 29]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system-2
- AUNG-DIN R. NON-CANNABIS THERAPY – Cannabinoid Therapy Without Using Cannabis: Direct EffectsTM Topical β-Caryophyllene. Drug development and Delivery. 2017.
- Biomedica. PEA: A novel neuroinflammatory compound. 2019.