Optimizing Your Endocannabinoid System: Insights from Experts

Adapted from our Full Spectrum Living with CBD podcast, episode 5: “Your Endocannabinoid System – The Basics Part 1”. Listen to the full episode for a deep dive into the endocannabinoid system.

The Endocannabinoid System Explained

Our hosts Meredith, Jessica, and Adriane, along with guest expert Amanda, explore the complex world of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). They discuss its role in maintaining body balance and how it interacts with various elements, including Omega fatty acids.

Significance of Omega Fatty Acids in ECS Health

  • Importance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 balance, as discussed with Dr. Dustin Sulak at the CannMed conference.
  • Impact of Omega ratios on the ECS and overall health.
  • Advice on achieving a balanced intake of Omega fatty acids.

Nutritional Tips for ECS Optimization

Guest expert Amanda shares her insights on nutrition and its critical role in supporting the ECS. Learn about:

  • Sources of Omega 3 fatty acids: Chia seeds, hemp hearts, and flax seeds.
  • The issue with overconsumption of Omega 6 in the Standard American Diet.
  • Lab testing for Omega levels and the importance of supplementation.

Discover more about nutrition and CBD and how they interact with your ECS.

FAQs on the Endocannabinoid System

Q: How can I naturally support my Endocannabinoid System?
A: Consuming a balanced diet with a proper ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is crucial. Incorporating foods like chia seeds, hemp hearts, and reducing processed foods can significantly improve ECS health.

Q: What is the relationship between gut health and the ECS?
A: Emerging research shows a strong connection between gut health and the ECS. A healthy gut may contribute to a more balanced and effective ECS.

Final Thoughts on ECS and Overall Wellness

The episode concludes with a discussion on the broader implications of ECS health, including mental health and lifestyle choices. For further insights into managing anxiety and depression with CBD, check out our resources.

Stay tuned for more episodes on Full Spectrum Living with CBD, where we continue to explore the fascinating world of CBD and its impact on wellness.

*DISCLAIMER: This is a transcript of episode 16 – Nutrition and CBD – Part 2 from our Full Spectrum Living with CBD podcast. Click here to listen to the episode or click here to watch the video.


Meredith [00:00:06] Welcome back to Full Spectrum Living with CBD. I am your co-host, Meredith, here with Jessica and Adriane. And you know what? We decided to bring Amanda back with us.

Meredith [00:00:14] This is Amanda Nighbert and she was in our last episode. We had a fantastic conversation about inflammation and choices and nutrition. Amanda is a dietitian. And so she brought just so much great detail to us. We thought we’d have her back again so that we could continue the conversation around nutrition and how it impacts our overall health. But in particular, how it dovetails in with the Endocannabinoid system. So, Jessica, I know you had a couple more questions you wanted to ask of Amanda, so why don’t we kick it off with you?

Jessica [00:00:42] Yeah, sure. So, you know, recently when we saw Dr. Dustin Sulak speak at the CannMed conference in L.A., one of the questions I got to ask him afterwards was about helping my son with his health and his Endocannabinoid system. And he said basically one of the best first steps you could take is really getting your Omega 3 to 6 ratios imbalance. And that that directly impacts the Endocannabinoid system as the Omegas are kind of essentially the building blocks of that system. And if you are intaking way too many Omega 6s, which I think you can speak to, how many more most people are taking, then they should me. But if you’re taking too many Omega 6s versus 3s you’re essentially building this entire vast system out of faulty bricks. If I’m if I’m understanding his teachings well. So I just wanted to ask, you know, what are some tips on getting a good Omega 3 to 6 balance? Where do you find those in healthy ratios and just general information about Omegas?

Amanda [00:01:49] Wow. I mean, actually, that’s super interesting to hear him make that connection and also to hear that to be kind of like the number one recommendation that he made. And I love that because I do feel like that Omega 3, Omega 6, balance people don’t realize how important that is for overall health. And our lack of Omega 3s in our diet is just really, really sad. So back in the day, you know, when we were hunters and gatherers or before kind of like this whole industrial revolution, the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 was 1 to 1. And that’s really, really healthy. Omega 3s really fight inflammation. They really help the body to be healthy. Omega 6s are necessary, but in large amounts they can actually do more harm than good. Fast forward to today and our actual ratio in some studies showed that we’re actually 1 to 15. So for every, you know, gram or whatever of Omega 3s, we’re getting fifteen of Omega 6s. And this is probably one of the biggest reasons why people are dealing with so much inflammation in their body. And ultimately it’s kind of an easy fix. I mean, it’s not an easy fix, but it’s definitely fixable. Where do we get a lot of Omega 6 fatty acids? That’s what we have to ask ourselves first and foremost. One thing, we’re not eating enough Omega 3s, but we’re over consuming on Omega 6 fatty acids and we see Omega 6 fatty acids prevalent in processed food, in industrialized foods. So we see them really high in like corn oil. We talked a little bit about seed oils and that ratio. So, for example, corn oil has a ratio of like 46 to1. So it has 46 Omega 3s to 1 ratio of Omega. Yes, I got to get six guys. OK. Two ones where as we mentioned, hemp oil is like three to one. So much lower ratio of that kind of Omega 6 to that that 3. So a lot of the oils that we use, corn oil, seed oil, you know, those processed vegetable oils are really high in Omega 6. So when we eat a lot of processed foods, they’re going to be loaded with those types of oils, which means that they have a much higher ratio of that Omega 6 that we’re consuming on a daily basis. I was also talking about even things like the meat we eat. You know, when we eat industrialized conventional meat, they’re fed grains, which are really high in Omega 6 is therefore making that meat really high in Omega 6. Whereas if you have like a grass fed cattle, that’s actually really high in Omega 3 fatty acids. So Omega 6s is are kind of like all over the place and we get way too many of them in what I call the SAD diet, the Standard American Diet, which is loaded with processed foods. So the other issue is the fact that we’re not consuming enough Omega 3s. So when we look at our diet kind of back in the day, you know, it was loaded in, you know, fish and, you know, again, our cattle back at or our wild meat, ate grass so it was loaded in Omega 3. So we actually had a lot more consumption of Omega 3s. It was more balanced. And now, like we avoid fish because it’s loaded with mercury, it’s polluted, you know. So a lot of the foods that we think are healthy for us, we don’t eat for other reasons. And so that Omega 3 intake gets really, really low. So it’s really out of balance. So there’s actually like lab testing that you can do to look at your Omega 3 levels. Did you did you know that?

Adriane [00:05:43] No, I didn’t know that.

Amanda [00:05:44] So there’s actually you can actually draw your labs and you can get your levels. You can see what you’re DHA is. You can see what your EPA is. It’ll actually break down all the Omega 3s and show you what your levels are. Ultimately, it’s not really necessary because almost ninety nine percent of the population, your levels are going to be super low. So it’s almost better to kind of appropriately supplement with Omega 3 fatty acids and then maybe test  your blood and see where your levels are. The unfortunate part is, is that insurances don’t cover this type of testing. Of course.

Adriane [00:06:24] Of course, right.

Amanda [00:06:25] Yes. So I love this topic.

Jessica [00:06:27] I always think, when I think Omega 3s, my go to thoughts are like walnuts and sardines. I don’t know what are some other like rich foods cause I’m not a big sardine fan.

Adriane [00:06:37] Not a big sardine fan, right

Amanda [00:06:39] Unfortunately like your small fish, like sardines and mackerel and things like that are some of the highest in Omega 3 fatty acids. I love chia seeds. Are really good in Omega 3. Hemp hearts are a good source of Omega 3. Flax seeds have Omega 3. So a lot of those seeds, kind of like you said, walnuts, almonds, things like that are gonna have your Omega 3 fatty acids. So those are kind of my go tos.

Jessica [00:07:10] Chia seeds, I love because it goes back to a previous topic. Does does it not help you with your glycemic index and keeping it more stable? I’ve always made that association. Is that accurate?

Amanda [00:07:21] Yeah, absolutely. We talked about that, you know, on the last episode. But the fiber in chia seeds, the protein and there’s Omega fatty acids will help reduce that glycemic response.

Adriane [00:07:34] Again, those Omega 3s and Omega 6s or more so the 3s than anything else, like Jessica said, essentially the building blocks. Right. So you’re going to build either the straw house or faulty bricks if you’re constantly building with the Omega 6s. And because that’s what your body has in abundance. That’s what your systems are being built with. So again, to help build and enhance and nurture your Endocannabinoid system, really try to consume more Omega 3s, which is hard, but let’s do it right.

Amanda [00:08:01] It really is. So, and I I’m not a huge proponent of tons of supplements, but there are three supplements that I think that most people need. I mean, I always say consult your physician, but my top three are magnesium, vitamin D and Omega 3s. You know, just because of the the state of our diet, it’s just really hard to get. And when you’re looking for Omega 3 supplement, you want to find one that’s got more EPA than DHA. We hear a lot about DHA, you know, with regards to like when you’re pregnant and it’s enhanced in milk. But actually across the board when we do that lab testing, everyone has much lower levels of that EPA than DHA. So making sure your supplement is almost double EPA to DHA is a good idea.

Meredith [00:08:52] Well, I think that’s such a such a great point in this whole conversation around the Omegas and even the conversation around inflammation, because I think, Jessica, you and Adriane, your goals are really for your clients and your customers to have fully well-rounded health. And you definitely believe that CBD plays a major, major part in that. But I think it’s great that you guys are bringing to light that it’s not stand alone, that if you really want CBD to impact your life, you can, you can also make sure to allow that to happen through great nutrition. So, Amanda, are there other areas of nutrition that you really see with your clients? I mean, we’ve talked about inflammation and we’ve talked about the Omegas, what’s another hot topic for you when it comes to overall nutrition?

Amanda [00:09:38] Yeah, I mean, definitely, you know, the umbrella topic is always about reducing inflammation. And I think at the end of the day its just really focusing on as much whole food nutrition as possible. I’m like, don’t overthink it. You know, just aim, we talked about the difference between like always trying to take things out of your diet versus adding them in. And I’m all about just adding more. And I think, you know, looking at the foods that you’re eating and making them as whole as possible, like they grow in the ground, they have a mother type of thing, is really this the easiest way to, you know, walk towards that overall better health for sure.

Meredith [00:10:16] It seems like we’re hearing a lot, sorry, about about pre and probiotics, too. Is that something that you can talk about?

Amanda [00:10:25] Yeah. And I mean, that comes back to, you know, everyone the big buzzword is gut health. And looking at our microbiome and how our gut is working and how that impacts over health, our overall health. And it’s really huge, you know, in so many ways. And so a lot of people will come back to probiotics and prebiotics with regards to that. Probiotic, I mean, probiotics are not a catch all. You know, some people respond really well to them and some people don’t at all. If you start taking a probiotic and you find that your symptoms actually get worse, like you have more bloating, you have more abdominal issues, more constipation. It could be a sign that you’ve got some unhealthy bacteria, yeast, candida, that kind of stuff going on that you’re probiotic is actually feeding into that negative stuff. So it’s not always probiotics are not great for everybody.

Adriane [00:11:25] They’re not the silver bullet.

Amanda [00:11:26] They’re not the silver bullet. Yeah. So, you know, incorporating those and seeing how you react to them is really good. I think the thing with probiotics is that there are over one hundred and fifty beneficial strands of bacteria on the market and you may get a probiotic with one strand. So another suggestion that I always make to my clients is it’s not a bad idea to rotate the types of probiotics that you’re using so that you have access to as many different strains as you possibly can because, you know, one probiotic may have one or two strands and another may have, you know, 10 to 15 different strains. So having access to all of those different strands is a really good thing. I also love to incorporate foods that have natural probiotics, like I love like kimchi, kraut, fermented foods, Komboucha, kiefer, for you know, those are ways to incorporate probiotics without a supplement into your diet. So just using a little bit of that on a daily basis will, you know, inoculate your gut with healthy bacteria.

Adriane [00:12:36] And so is that would you, I’m assuming that’s what you would recommend first and foremost before any kind of added supplement period, because your body would then just take what it needs from that kimchi, from that kombucha and you’re not focused on one specific strand.

Amanda [00:12:49] Exactly. You’re going to get a lot more variety. Yeah. But it’s. But then it also comes down to the client because some people are like “I’m not eatin kimchi”.

Adriane [00:12:58] Yeah exactly.

Amanda [00:13:00] “I don’t like kraut”.

Jessica [00:13:02] You’ll grow to love it. I lived in Korea for two years. I feel like kimchi just saved my life. Like while I was there, I went from insanely unhealthy before I came there to I lost 70 pounds without really trying. And I know that kimchi was a really vital part to that health and recovery journey for me.

Amanda [00:13:21] Yeah. Did you ever eat, did you ever eat natto, I think is what it’s called?

Jessica [00:13:26] Natto, do you know what that is?

Amanda [00:13:27] Natto it’s like fermented, I think it’s like a type of fermented soy bean. It’s like, the superfood of probiotics.

Adriane [00:13:38] Really?

Amanda [00:13:38] It’s like really like stinky and it’s very cultural.

Jessica [00:13:43] So fermented soybean is in a lot of soups. And that actually was one of our first … our very first soups there was a soup that smelt like wet dog. And it’s notoriously a joke that foreigners don’t like it. So we went to a restaurant without knowing English [Korean] and ordered something and they gave us that because they were ticked at us for for something. That was our first meal ever. It was a fermented soy bean soup, which I can’t think of the name, but.

Amanda [00:14:11] Miso is usually at least some sort of miso.

Jessica [00:14:15] Yeah, this is ugh, gosh, it’ll come to me when the show is finished probably. I’ll link it in the bio.  But no I know that was a huge part of my weight loss. Everything was fermented or pickled. And there were so many vegetables in proportion to your meat and and carb intake. But I wanted to actually ask your thoughts on something along those lines. So what do you think about yogurt? Because, you know, it’s it’s like the go to probiotic, but it’s a dairy. So what what are your thoughts on like yogurt as a probiotic?

Amanda [00:14:52] Well, I mean, this is my personal opinion, but I always say that the dairy council is the most effective marketing agency in the world, you know, because they have definitely convinced us that without dairy, you can’t get your calcium you cant get your probiotics. And actually yogurt, it’s just it’s not a great form of probiotic, you know. I mean, it’s got small amounts depending on how the yogurt is actually produced. You can actually lose all the probiotics in it. It … Labeling for probiotics can be very deceptive because a lot of, there’s not a lot of regulation on it. So they can actually label how many probiotics they put in before they actually heat the product, manufacturer it, get it on the shelf, and get it to you. So a lot of times what you see on the label is not exactly what you get in the final product. So I don’t encourage people to use yogurt, as, you know, their main source of probiotics. Like whenever I have a client that comes back and says, oh, my doctor told me to eat yogurt for my probiotic. I’m like, that’s not great recommendations. Kiefer is a lot better. Kiefer has a much higher probiotic count to it. I mean its still dairy, but everything in moderation. If you can find organic grass fed kiefer then I mean, that’s what I would kind of refer to.

Meredith [00:16:12] And yogurt so much sugar too.

Jessica [00:16:15] Flavoring usually. So often there’s all the flavoring.

Adriane [00:16:19] But there’s fruit at the bottom.

Jessica [00:16:20] Right. The fruit at the bottom. The granola and the chocolate.

Adriane [00:16:24] Yeah, it’s great. But again, all of this is important, right? Gut health. And I think that science is still trying to complete the connection between gut health and the Endocannabinoid System, but there’s definitely research that shows that a healthy gut does equate to a healthier Endocannabinoid system. So all of these things, probiotics and making sure that your gut health is in check will also help the benefit of your Endocannabinoid system, your overall health, how CBD works for you, et cetera.

Jessica [00:16:51] I certainly see that. I mean, not like to predict the future, but I really feel that gut health and the Endocannabinoid system are going to be more and more of a topic that’s talked about here in the next few years as we grow to understand it. But it certainly seems like if you can maximize gut health, you can maximize the ECS. And I just wanted to add we recently had a wellness coach come here to Spokane for an event we did. And she kind of made a lighthearted joke about how she prescribes a pickle a day. And so she teaches people how to do there own pickling. And then she insists, you know, just at least start with eating a pickle a day and says, you know, just starting there is a great way for many people and not your like, you know, standard grocery store pickle, but a quality know one.

Amanda [00:17:37] Well, again, I mean, when you think about the way that we stored food before refrigeration, I mean, you know, you go back to the amount of fermented and, you know, pickled food that we used to consume, a lot of it, especially like in the wintertime. So it’s just about getting back to like our roots, for sure. And you’re definitely right. I mean, gut health is at the forefront. You know, I mean, you guys are the experts and, you know, the, say it again…

Adriane [00:18:09] Endocannabinoid System.

Amanda [00:18:11] I’m going to definitely get that word down. But, you know, gut health is at at the forefront of, you know, all disease processes. Leakey gut is huge right now. You know, we feel like a lot of the things that people are dealing with with regards to like autoimmune and Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus and MS and, you know, even like heart disease and diabetes is all due to these junctions in the gut that are, you know, kind of separating and creating. It allows basically particles to kind of seep through the gut and that creates this what inflammatory response. And so it all comes back to that. A lot of times they’re connecting gut health to mental health. You know, a lot of that is kind of going on with regards to depression and schizophrenia and anxiety. So and we know that those are all improved or, you know, addressed with the use of CBD. So you’re I can’t imagine that the two are not going to be super connected moving forward.

Meredith [00:19:12] Well, I feel like we could probably talk with you for, you know,a number of more episodes, Amanda. You’ve got so much great information. And I think we’re definitely seeing how there’s a relationship between good nutrition and good diet and the impacts that we can have with utilizing CBD. But for this episode, I’d love Adriane or Jessica to share with us if we wanted, if someone was listening and wanted to know a little bit more about the work that you do, where would where would they be able to find that?

Adriane [00:19:40] Absolutely. On our website. But when it comes to the nutritional expertise, I’d encourage you to reach out to Amanda. So I’m going to let her kind of let you know where to find her.

Amanda [00:19:48] Well, I mean, I’m at AmandaNighbert.com, and I’m really active on social media. Instagram is kind of like my main platform. And I try to give out just like free, relevant nutritional content on a daily basis to help people, you know, optimize their health. Similar to what you guys are doing.

Adriane [00:20:06]  And I think that what we’re going to try to do honestly, is if your question wasn’t answered, please send us an email comment on one of our blogs. We’re gonna, of course, input Amanda’s expertise on that and we’d love to have you back. Honestly, I think there’s a lot of information around not only nutrition, but lifestyle choices and how else you can, you know, boost your Endocannabinoid system through exercise or meditation. So lots of lots of information to come.

Meredith [00:20:32] Fantastic. Well, from this episode of Full-spectrum Living with CBD, I’m your co-host, Meredith here with Jessica, Adriane and our special guest, Amanda. Everybody have a fantastic time day and we’ll see you again next time.