Updated: May 12
In our fast paced, perfection driven culture it is getting harder and harder for men to meet the sometimes-unrealistic expectations they and others put on themselves. It definitely is no coincidence that there are supplements targeting men’s stamina and energy issues as products that boost testosterone on every major channel and various advertising outlets. They know there is an interest, but, more importantly, there is a NEED!
As the world is changing with ever-increasing demands on time, there is less reserve for men’s bodies to feel optimized. As we have less time to exercise… As we make poor food choices because we are on the run… As we are running between work and going to kids’ practices and ball games at night or on the weekends… As we are answering emails late at night or first thing in the morning… You can fill in the scenarios for your particular stressors, but the end result is likely a system that is out of balance.
Nothing will take the place of the basics of self-care. This includes cleaner eating, prioritizing exercise, and learning about mindfulness and stress management. However, there are additional steps you can take beyond the basics to help restore proper balance, starting with optimizing the endocannabinoid system (ECS) as a foundation for this wellness focus. The endocannabinoid system plays a significant role in creating and maintaining homeostasis between various major systems in the human body.
Our bodies naturally produce endogenous cannabinoids that interact with the receptors in the brain and throughout the body. In addition to these naturally occurring compounds, phytocannabinoids – such as those found in the Cannabis sativa plant – can also beneficially interact with the ECS. By supplementing the endocannabinoid system with phytocannabinoids, like we recommend with other important supplements such as Vitamin D, we can further support its widespread homeostatic functions. Here are some of the common problems I encounter with patients in my practice, and how ECS support can help your patients find balance and relief:
Resetting the Sleep Cycle
As we age and the demands on our time and energy seem to only grow, truly restful nights can stretch few and far between. While diagnosed insomnia is an issue that millions of Americans deal with on a daily basis, there are tens of millions more who suffer from just “alright” sleep. Over time, repeated nights of not-quite-so-great sleep takes their toll. In fact, study participants with good quality sleep patterns “had a 15% lower risk of terminated health span” compared to other groups, underscoring the importance of healthy sleep behaviors. We can look to the endocannabinoid system for help balancing out the circadian rhythm. CBD has been shown to reduce the severity of insomnia symptoms in numerous studies, including an open label observational study performed by myself and my fellow board members last year, which demonstrated a 64.3% average decrease in insomnia severity. Additionally, a double blind study from 2018 revealed that CBD had no acute effects on the sleep-wake cycle of healthy individuals, indicating it is an excellent first-line option for treating even mild insomnia.
Anxiety and Stress
Anxiety and stress are no strangers to most men. For all of its joys, the daily wear and tear of life’s lower points can occasionally combine into more dangerous scenarios such as panic attacks or uncontrolled outbursts. Focusing on endocannabinoid system support can help to relieve much of that pressure, as shown by a wealth of peer-reviewed studies. One systematic review of CBD studies on anxiety and stress found that “…CBD was well-tolerated and associated with minimal adverse effects… [and] has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders.” Our own Formula30A observational study demonstrated a 72% decrease in anxiety scores after 8 weeks and statistically significant decreases after just 2 weeks.
Over half of men over the age of 40 report having moderate to extensive hair loss. It may just be the most common problem that no man wants to talk about. As I’m sure you are aware, there are an abundance of hair loss products promising the world (and hiding a paragraph of side effects at the end). Alternatively, recent studies have shown that the “ECS cannabinoid type one (CB1) receptors are well expressed in the hair follicle cells” indicating potential for hair loss treatment. Further investigation demonstrated a 93.5% increase in hair over 6 months with topical CBD application with no reported adverse effects. Additionally, the scientists reported that, “since the CBD works through novel mechanisms different from finasteride and minoxidil it can be used in conjunction with these current drugs and would be expected to have synergistic effects.”