Does CBD Oil Need Omega-3 to Work?
Every day, there seems to be a new article about the growing popularity of CBD oil. Some articles speculate on the enormous economic growth that is expected from CBD products over the next few years, while others focus on CBD’s potential for reducing chronic pain and alleviating anxiety. The third type of article comes from researchers who cite discrepancies between users’ glowing accounts and clinical testing that does not support these anecdotes.
So is CBD oil a massive hype or a science-based gift from nature? And if it happens to be the latter, what’s the best way to maximize its effects?
What Is CBD and What Does It Do?
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is a substance extracted from the flower and leaves of the hemp plant. Discovered in the 1940s, CBD is one of over 100 identified cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant, accounting for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. Unlike another prevalent cannabinoid (THC), CBD does not appear to create the psychoactive effects associated with marijuana (1, 2).
The bulk of the research on CBD has focused on its ability to affect cell metabolism through what is called the endocannabinoid system. This system is involved in a wide range of physiological functions, including the regulation of our mood, inflammation response, immune system, and metabolism.
The precise mechanisms of how CBD works are not entirely clear; however, the main hypothesis is that CBD has a significant influence on the endocannabinoid system by mimicking the body’s own endocannabinoids.
What Are Endocannabinoids?
Found in every organ and tissue of the body, endocannabinoids are important lipids made naturally from the cells’ content of omega-3s and omega-6s. These lipids stimulate specialized cell membrane receptors, which in turn prompt the cell to perform specific tasks.
For instance, when certain types of endocannabinoids activate the endocannabinoid receptor CB1, the cell increases energy storage. Similarly, when endocannabinoids activate another receptor (CB2), they help to reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines (3). Note: These are the same receptors that cannabinoids (like CBD) act on, too.
THC, CBD, and CBN are three cannabinoids found in Cannabis. Mimicking the body’s endocannabinoids, they “unlock” the receptors CB1 and CB2, creating a variety of effects.
There are numerous types of endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid receptors, all of which have multiple impacts on the cells. Therefore, it can be incredibly difficult to generalize about their effects. However, this multi-purpose functionality helps to explain why the endocannabinoid system is believed to have an influence on many different diseases and health conditions.
How Are Omega-3s Connected to the Endocannabinoid System?
As mentioned above, endocannabinoids are lipids made from the cells’ omega-3 and omega-6 content. Once cells build up a sufficient inventory of these fatty acids, endocannabinoids are created rapidly and as-needed in response to brain activity and stimuli (like stress and exercise).
Omega-3s are directly involved in the synthesis of endocannabinoids, and also react with existing endocannabinoids to create omega-3-derived endocannabinoid epoxides (which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties)(4). Due to the important role that omega-3s have in the cell membrane, researchers believe that omega-3s also serve as crucial anchors for endocannabinoid cell membrane receptors (5).
To put it simply, omega-3s and endocannabinoids are totally dependent on each other in a healthy brain and body. This connection can also help explain why the noted anxiety and pain relieving effects from taking CBD oil are similar to the results achieved from receiving adequate omega-3 supplementation over time (6).
What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Omega-3s?
Omega-3 deficiency is widespread in today’s world, impacting some 95% of adults in the United States (7). As researchers have demonstrated, this deficiency has serious consequences for the healthy functioning of our endocannabinoid systems.
Omega-3-deficient diets don’t just limit the creation of beneficial endocannabinoids and the omega-3-derived endocannabinoid epoxides. Studies have also shown that omega-3-deficiency creates dysfunctional endocannabinoid receptors, uncoupling them from the protein and altering signaling pathways in the brain (8).
Health Consequences of Omega-3 Deficiency
Consequences of dysfunctional endocannabinoid receptors (due to omega-3 deficiency) include increased anxiety and impaired behavior, according to one mice study from the University of Bordeaux (9). In addition, studies also show that omega-3 deficiency plays a role in increasing the development of obesity through the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system (10).
Chronic deficiency of omega-3s in our diet may partly explain society’s enormous craving for CBD products. What’s more, it may also help to explain the widely-diverse experiences that CBD users have. After all, if one person’s endocannabinoid receptors are dysfunctional, throwing lots of cannabinoids at them won’t necessarily produce the results users are hoping to achieve.
While more research is needed to address these important topics, the above studies raise pressing questions.
Most people in the United States do not get enough omega-3s, either from diet or supplements. This is in stark contrast with other countries, like Japan, where omega-3 intakes are much higher.
Why Do People Prefer CBD to Omega-3 Supplements?
Considering the deep involvement of omega-3s in the endocannabinoid system, you would think that anyone fascinated by CBD’s effects would also have a dual interest in fish oil. However, when compared to most omega-3 supplements, CBD has clear advantages.
While CBD’s effects appear quickly, omega-3s take longer to work – often many weeks of consistent consumption. These rapid effects probably explain why CBD is creating such a buzz. With CBD products, people are also willing to take an adequate dose, but that often isn’t the case with omega-3 products.
CBD, however, does not solve the underlying omega-3 deficiency problem.
Many people have asked us if we make any products with CBD oil in them, but as of the time of publication, we do not. Please also note that the FDA has made it clear that combining CBD into existing supplements is currently not allowed.
Is CBD a Panacea?
Some years ago, I attended a meeting on the effects of a new molecule that had potential for treating Alzheimer’s. The presentation was inspiring, and left attendees with a feeling that this new molecule could be a major therapeutic tool.
Afterwards, I had the chance to discuss the science with the presenter one-on-one.
“Do you believe that a single molecule will do the whole trick in curing or preventing this disease,” I asked.
“Of course not,” he answered. “But the investors may believe it.”
Most physiologists and biologists know that single molecules are rarely a cure-all for complex health issues. Unfortunately, this point often gets missed when we get too focused on isolated substances — either because of the pharmaceutical industry’s desire for patentable products or the appeal of easily understandable buzzwords. The human body and cell metabolism are extremely complex and dependent upon the interactions of a multitude of factors (e.g. genes, environment, nutrition, microbiome, age, gender, etc). Therefore, it’s highly unlikely that changing just one factor will solve chronic conditions for most people.
There isn’t a single substance – whether that’s CBD or even omega-3s – that will ever give us a one-way ticket to good health. But when we understand the underlying mechanisms of the body and employ a synergy of wholesome efforts, we’ll be able to carve a better path forward.
This is the philosophy that guides us at Omega3 Innovations. It’s the reason we’ve created a full-spectrum oil, and the reason we’re passionate about the combination of our Omega Cure oil with melatonin and vitamin D3. It’s why we care about not just increasing our consumption of omega-3s, but also decreasing our intake of omega-6s, and why we like to share advice about how to improve sleep hygiene.
Combination therapy, in our book, is where the biggest medical innovation will come from in the future, and we’re excited to be exploring these principles as a company.
The Benefits of Combining CBD & Fish Oil
CBD and fish oil can each provide potential benefits to people who take them. And many people choose to take one or the other. However, new studies show that taking these supplements together leads to additional benefits that are unique to the combination. What advantages can you expect when combining CBD & fish oil? In order to understand how and why they work well together, it’s important to first understand how each works alone.
What Can You Gain From CBD?
CBD is an acronym for cannabidiol. It is a cannabinoid, or a compound we extract from the Cannabis sativa plant. The Cannabis plant has over 100 cannabinoids, but only a few, like CBD and THC, are well-known. CBD makes up around 40% of the total volume of cannabis extracts. And we typically find it in the plant’s flowers and leaves.
CBD acts on the cells that make up your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system regulates various systems, including immunity, metabolism, the inflammatory process, and your mood. The ECS is much like a road for CBD to travel on. Along the path, it connects with cell molecules, plays a role in their metabolism, and interacts with your ECS body to deliver effects that may ease anxiety, reduce inflammation, improve overall mood, and more.
Cannabidiol does not create psychoactive effects. (That means you won’t get “high” from it.) Only compounds like tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, produce this result because of a different chemical construction. Because, while CBD and THC come from the same plant, they are two different substances.
CBD can regulate the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, in the brain. Serotonin affects your mood. A healthy level of serotonin results in a more stable and pleasant mood. But a low level can make you anxious and uneasy. As a result, many people now turn to CBD to manage stress and anxiety.
Other potential CBD benefits include anti-inflammatory effects, relief from nausea, pain and acne management and much more.
What Can You Gain From Fish Oil?
Fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are good fats that your body needs but does not create on its own. Instead, you must eat omega-3 rich foods or take supplements in order to maintain your good health. Now, fatty fish like salmon and sardines are great natural sources. But Omega-3 supplements are ideal for those who aren’t getting enough from diet alone.
Omega-3 acids can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing inflammation in your blood vessels. In some cases, a high dose may even normalize irregular heart rhythms. (But only under a doctor’s supervision.) Taking Omega-3 can reduce fat, or triglyceride levels, in your blood. This will slow down plaque accumulation, helping prevent clogged arteries. It may even help you manage arthritis, depression, or dementia.
Added fish oil benefits
Other benefits include improving eye health, reducing the risk of strokes, relieving depression and anxiety, protecting the brain from mental decline due to aging, improving skin health, and more. Why are all these effects possible?
Well, lipids, or fatty acids, support your ECS. In fact, it requires Omega-3 to produce endocannabinoids. Plus, Omega-3 nourishes cell membranes and maintains your cannabinoid receptors’ health, even helping repair them when necessary. So, if your diet lacks sufficient omega-3, your ECS can experience negative effects. And, since your ECS regulates mood, the immune system, metabolism, and more, any negative impact can lead to poor health. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy endocannabinoid system, you must meet your omega-3 requirements. And you can do that through diet or by taking high-quality supplements.
How Does Combining CBD & Fish Oil Produce Added Health Benefits?
CBD and fish oil provide many similar benefits, and they work exceptionally well together. Since both CBD and fish oil interact with the ECS, combining these two supplements seems like a good idea. CBD requires a healthy endocannabinoid system in order to deliver its benefits to the body and brain. Fish oil, because it’s high in omega-3s, nourishes the ECS. So, combining CBD & fish oil provides a holistic support system for your body.
CBD interacts with and enhances ECS function. Omega-3 supports the network’s health. Even better? Omega-3 helps CBD support the ECS by stimulating endocannabinoid receptor growth. In other words, think of it this way: the healthier the ECS, the more efficiently CBD can deliver its benefits.
Conversely, studies show that when your ECS isn’t functioning properly, it can result in many medical conditions. These include irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, and fibromyalgia. This is another reason why this system must be kept in good health by nourishing it with omega-3.
Combining CBD & Fish Oil In Your Regimens
If you are interested in combining CBD and omega-3, look for products that use fish oil as a carrier oil. (Some CBD products use carrier oils that are lower in omega-3.)
Of course, you can also take CBD and fish oil separately. That way, you can control each individual dose size, fine-tuning your intake for both supplements until you discover what your body needs. You can increase or decrease one without changing the amount of the other.
So, you can combine CBD & fish oil by taking separate supplements daily. But you can also find one supplement that combines both substances. Regardless of the method you choose, you should always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements. Always obtain your supplements from a reputable dealer who is trusted in the industry to get the highest quality of product.
CBD and fish oil each provide numerous potential health benefits. However, when you combine them, they boost each other’s potency and benefits by working on your ECS synergistically. Remember, the endocannabinoid system plays an important role in your body’s internal functions. Fish oil nourishes this system by supplying it with a rich amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Combining CBD & fish oil can help CBD more efficiently reduce stress, regulate mood and sleep patterns, improve appetite, and much more. CBD and fish oil can stand on their own in providing important benefits, but when combined, they work together perfectly and complement each other almost seamlessly.