Omega-3 Cannabinoid Research

Omega-3 Research Dashboard


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CannaKeys has 16 studies associated with Omega-3.

Here is a small sampling of Omega-3 studies by title:

Components of the Omega-3 Research Dashboard

  • Top medical conditions associated with Omega-3
  • Proven effects in clinical trials for Omega-3
  • Receptors associated with Omega-3
  • Individual study details for Omega-3

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Overview - Omega-3

Description of Omega-3

Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are essential building blocks. Since the human body does not make its own PUFAs, we must consume them to survive and thrive. In the brain PUFAs omega-3 (DHA and EPA) fatty acids are primary building blocks (or precursors) the body uses to make its own endocannabinoids (as are omega-6). Omega-3-based endocannabinoids are multi-functional molecules acting at various receptor sites. 

And here is an important insight: a healthy ECS is dependent on the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6.

Excess of omega-6 and a lack of dietary omega-3 are implicated in a poorly functioning ECS.

The findings have practical implications in the setting of chronic illness (especially those with chronic pain, inflammation, and oxidative stress). We can choose to consume foods that prevent or treat ECS-based dysfunction or impairment.

More specifically, omega-3’s are considered anti-inflammatory while omega-6 is a precursor to a number of potent pro-inflammatory mediators.

When we consider that our modern diet is heavy in omega-6 and low in omega-3 at an estimated ratio of 20:1 (respectively), we can more easily make a connection between the foods we eat and a low bioavailability of endocannabinoids, with direct consequences for a number of chronic conditions.

Research suggests that a healthy ratio is 5:1 (omega-6:omega-3).

Foods and oils rich in omega-3 include fish such as salmon, mack- erel, and sardines; also cod liver oil, hemp seed oil, flax seed oil, and chia seed oil are good sources (as are the seeds them- selves).

In direct contrast, omega-6-abundant food sources include numerous oils (e.g. corn oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil), but especially corn chips or most fast foods (due to being fried or in processed oils abundant in omega-6).

Other Names:

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

IUPAC name for docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): (4Z,7Z,10Z,13Z,16Z,19Z)-docosa-4,7,10,13,16,19-hexaenoic acid

IUPAC name eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA): (5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z,17Z)-icosa-5,8,11,14,17-pentaenoic acid

Both DHA and EPA have numerous other supplier-based synonyms.


Omega-3 Properties and Effects

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and Omega-3:

  • Omega 3s extend lifespan (I. Abi et al., 2022)

  • Maternal omega-3 intake alters ECS in mother and offspring of test animals (A. Isaac et al., 2021)

  • Lack of omega-3s may be associated with an altered ECS contributing to the progression of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, depression, Alzheimer' s disease (H. Freitas et al., 2018)

  • Abundant omega-3s induce anti-inflammatory effects via crosstalk between ECS and enzymatic metabolic pathways (D. McDougle et al., 2017)

  • Omega-3 inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells in vitro (R. Gastón et al., 2017)

  • A deficit in dietary omega-3 is been associated with numerous diseases (C. Bosch-Bouju et al., 2015)

  • The ideal dietary ratio is of about 5:1 omega-6:omega-3 (C. Bosch-Bouju et al., 2015)

  • DHA and EPA reduces peripheral endocannabinoid overactivity in obese patients, and as such may mitigate some aspects of metabolic syndrome (K. Berge et. al., 2013)

  • Omega-3 deficiency alters cannabinoid signaling resulting in anxiety-like behavior in test animals (T. Larrieu et al., 2012)

  • Chronic omega-3 deficiency alter cannabinoid signaling with relevance to obesity, impaired emotional behavior, and diverse psychiatric disorders (M. Lafourcade et al., 2011)

  • Endocannabinoids may modulate the ability of omega-3s to reduce ectopic fat and inflammatory mediators in obese test animals (B. Batetta et al., 2009)

Omega-3 Receptor Binding

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and DHA-derived DHA-EA Epoxides:

Ki legend:

  • Full/strong agonist Ki ~1-9nM

  • Moderate agonist Ki ~10-99nM

  • Weak agonist Ki ~100-999nM

  • Very weak agonist Ki ~1,000-up nM

(The reader is reminded that a smaller Ki is associated with the strongest effects.)

Disclaimers: Information on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. You should not use the information contained herein for diagnosing a health problem or disease. If using a product, you should read carefully all product packaging. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, promptly contact your health care provider.

Information on this site is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented health care practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.