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CBD and your Immune System

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CBD produces a range of indirect anti-inflammatory effects on the central nervous system, which amplify its therapeutic benefits. Cannabinoids, such as CBD, have been shown to inhibit the production of cytokines.

Cytokines are proteins released by immune cells in response to stress or trauma. Inflammation, both acute and chronic, is mediated by cytokines.

CBD can help manage autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), HIV/AIDS, and Parkinson’s disease. Autoimmune disorders are triggered by an overactive immune system in response to benign internal occurrences, causing it to target healthy cells in the body.

CBD and Your Immune System Cytokines -

The resulting inflammation can manifest itself in the form of redness, heat, discomfort, and swelling. Traditional anti-autoimmune drugs are immunosuppressive and synthetically created. Unfortunately, while these medications may suppress an overactive immune system, they also increase an individual’s susceptibility to infection and sickness.

On the other hand, CBD may manage certain autoimmune disorders by inhibiting specific immune system components. 

There is, however, evidence that CBD oil might have the opposite effect. CBD oil has been demonstrated to strengthen a weaker immune system, protect the body, and prevent illness more effectively.

CBD has been shown in trials to improve the immune system of cancer patients with a severely compromised immune system, implying that persons using cannabidiol are better equipped to fight cancer.

For instance, according to one study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, certain clinical trials revealed that CBD might be beneficial at slowing tumor development in some types of cancer.

Another study discovered that high doses of cannabinoids induced the body to eliminate cancer cells via a mechanism called apoptosis which is activated in a healthy immune system when infectious cells are discovered in the body. The study’s findings are crucial because cancer cells are naturally resistant to apoptosis, which allows them to spread throughout the body.

Although the precise mechanism by which cannabinoids cause this reaction is yet unknown, the fact that CBD oil may be able to stop cancerous cells when the immune system is unable to, is promising.

The results of a 2020 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research strongly support the hypothesis of CBD being immunosuppressive. CBD’s immunosuppressive properties suggest that it may have beneficial benefits when the immune system becomes overactive or weakened.

Additionally, the review reveals that the methods directly inhibit numerous immune cell types of activation, induction of apoptosis, and encouragement of regulatory cells. These effects have a cascading impact on additional immune cell targets.

Cannabis is known to be immune-modulating, which means it can help restore balance to an over-or under-reacting immune system. As indicated in the research already mentioned, CBD can treat autoimmune illnesses or symptoms by relaxing an overactive immune system or strengthening a weak one.

However, more long-term research is necessary to properly understand the distinction between CBD’s “immune-modulating” and “immune-boosting” properties.

How CBD Oil Aids in Immune System Strengthening

Understanding how CBD works to aid immune boosting is vital first to understand the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The therapeutic benefits of CBD are achieved through its interaction with the body’s ECS and its specialized cannabinoid receptors.

The ECS plays an essential part in the body’s physiologies, and it is responsible for various physiological processes, including pain perception, immunological response, sleep, anxiety, mood, hunger, memory, and metabolism. For instance, anandamide, an intestine cannabinoid, acts via its contact with cannabinoid receptors. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter that affects hunger and stress response. CB1 and CB2 receptors are located in distinct areas of the human body, and each receptor type plays a unique role in the ECS.

The majority of CB1 receptors are found in the brain and central nervous system. These receptors are involved in motor control, memory processing, hunger management, pain perception, mood modulation, and sleep. 

CB1 receptor activation has also been associated with neuroprotective effects. This action indicates that cannabinoids with a higher affinity for CB1 receptors may be beneficial in treating and preventing neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.

Meanwhile, CB2 receptors are predominantly found on immune cells and their related structures. When the CB2 receptor is activated, it triggers a response that fights inflammation, alleviates pain, and minimizes tissue damage. 

This anti-inflammatory reaction is beneficial in the treatment of illnesses associated with inflammation, including chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), Crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS).

CBD indirectly affects cannabinoid agonists, which bind to a cannabinoid receptor and exert the same effect as the drugs that generally attach to the receptor. Furthermore, CBD interacts with several other receptors in the body, including the 5-HT1A receptor, which is associated with serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with emotions of well-being. These cannabinoids promote healing and equilibrium through this interaction.

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The Pro and Cons of CBD Oil for the Immune System

The Pros

  • As previously stated, studies suggest CBD’s potential therapeutic benefits in treating autoimmune illnesses or their symptoms by calming an overactive immune system and strengthening a compromised one.
  • CBD has been well-received by many health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO), claiming CBD “is typically well-tolerated and has a favorable safety profile.”
  • CBD oil may be safer than most over the counter and prescription medications, which can have various adverse effects.
  •  CBD is non-addictive, according to a 2015 op-ed by Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This property makes CBD suitable for everyday use.
  • CBD oil is available without a prescription

The Cons

  • Research on CBD’s efficacy for ailments other than those approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration is lacking (FDA).
  • As with any natural chemical substance, there are risks associated with CBD consumption. The Mayo Clinic reports that probable CBD side effects include tiredness, dry mouth, diarrhea, exhaustion, and decreased appetite.
  • CBD can interact with other pharmaceuticals and modify how some medications are metabolized by the body, as a 2017 study demonstrated. Please consult a physician familiar with cannabis usage before beginning a CBD regimen or mixing it with existing prescription drugs.

Effects and Mechanisms of CBD on the Immune System

The immune system evolved to distinguish between self-proteins produced by the body and those created by pathogens (disease-causing organisms) to mount a healthy immune response in the presence of foreign organisms.

A healthy immune response involves normal reactions against non-self-proteins but few or no responses against self-proteins. When the innate response is insufficient, specific innate cells can trigger the adaptive immune response, mainly composed of T and B cells.

T cells (thymus cells) and B cells (bone marrow-derived cells) are the adaptive immune response’s key biological components. Immunity against pathogens (antibody-mediated) is dependent on B cells, whereas cell immunity is dependent on T cells. T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes are two kinds of white blood cells (also called leukocytes or WBC). White blood cells can be utilized to detect infections, inflammation, allergies, and leukemia. A high white blood cell count typically suggests illness or a malfunctioning immune system.

T cells can then signal other immune cells to recruit and activate them, or they can directly kill or trigger apoptosis (cell death) in infected cells. T-cells play a critical part in cancer patients’ detection and elimination of cancer cells. The various cell types communicate the innate and adaptive immune responses via proteins called cytokines or chemokines.

Inflammation is typically associated with the body’s normal immunological response, as pathogen destruction can also result in tissue damage. A variety of cell types produces cytokines in response to inflammation. One crucial route by which CBD exerts its immunomodulatory effects is by generating regulatory T cells (Tregs). Regulatory T cells inhibit the immunological response, hence preserving homeostasis and self-tolerance. Tregs have been found to limit T cell and cytokine production and play a critical role in avoiding autoimmunity.

Autoimmunity is a term that refers to an organism’s system of immune responses directed against its healthy cells and tissues.

Autoimmune illnesses occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly assaults and kills healthy human tissue.

CBD’s immunosuppressive and neuroprotective properties make it an option for treating multiple sclerosis (MS) however additional study is essential to fully understand the potential benefits of CBD use in treating this disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Immune System

The easiest way to maintain a strong and healthy immune system is to stick to general health guidelines. The immune system works more effectively when it is shielded from environmental assaults and boosted via healthy-living practices such as:

  • Not smoking.
  • Controlling stress levels.
  • Consuming a nutritious diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
  • Obtaining an adequate amount of sleep.
  • Adding a multivitamin to your diet 
  • Maintaining a regular exercise regimen.
  • Keeping a healthy weight.
  • Controlling blood pressure 
  • Consuming alcohol in moderation.

Take precautions to avoid infection, such as often washing your hands and avoiding touching your face, as dangerous pathogens can enter through your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Look after the system protecting you

The immune system comprises a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that work cooperatively to protect you from pathogens. Its mission is to keep these alien invaders out or to track down and eliminate them,” according to a National Library of Medicine (NLM) publication.

While certain immune illnesses are incurable, there are methods to improve the immune system’s performance by shielding it from environmental assaults and strengthening it via healthy lifestyle choices. CBD’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory qualities have been proposed to enhance immunity and protect the immune system. 

CBD may aid in reducing inflammation, modulating the immune system, and rebalancing the system. However, before using CBD to support the immune system, always seek guidance and advice from a physician or qualified health practitioner.

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