Does CBD help the immune system? This is a question many ask. Immune health has been the focus of a lot of medical research for the past decades. There as been a spike in the public interest on how to boost immunity, what to take for a robust immune system, and how to keep our immune systems healthy. Much research has also gone into the CBD immune system, the potential for CBD in improving immune health, and the possible treatment of auto-immune diseases. This article focuses on CBD and the impacts it could have on your immune system.
What is CBD?
CBD (Cannabidiol) is one of the 113 cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant. It accounts for up to 40% of the extract from the cannabis plant. Although it has many of the same medical benefits as THC (the most notable cannabinoid in the plant), it does not have the same psychoactive effect. Because of this, it is a good choice for those looking to enjoy its therapeutic effects without feeling ‘stoned.’
CBD can be used in various forms, including CBD oil, inhalation of the smoke, or an aerosol spray. It is also associated with numerous health effects and was approved by the FDA to treat some forms of treatment-resistant epilepsy. Research is also continuing on other CBD, and CBD oil uses to treat several neurological disorders, anxiety and depression, and pain management.
The Immune System
We are continually being exposed to viruses, bacteria, and other diseases and infection-causing germs in our daily interactions. The immune system is the defence system comprising of numerous biological structures and processes that provide immunity against these pathogens. This system functions by detecting pathogens and distinguishing them from healthy tissue. Since pathogens adapt and evolve quickly to avoid neutralization by the immune system, the body’s defence mechanisms also adapt, so that they can recognize these pathogens.
There are two major subsystems of the immune system; the innate immune system and the acquired immune system. The innate immune system is the older and dominant one in most organisms, and it offers non-specific defences (respond to pathogens generically). The innate system does not offer long-lasting immunity against pathogens. The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, provides a more robust response than the innate system.
This system’s response is antigen-specific and allows for custom responses and is effective if a pathogen invades more than once. Their antigen-specificity is due to the memory cells, which specifically remember encountered pathogens and mount a vigorous defence in the event of a repeat invasion.
The immune system’s main parts are the white blood cells, antibodies, bone marrow, thymus, spleen, and the lymphatic system.
The endocannabinoid system.
In the early 1990s, researchers who were exploring THC identified the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis. Unlike Phytocannabinoids, which occur naturally in plants, endocannabinoids occur naturally within the body. So far, the two main endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). The endocannabinoid system (ECS) includes the endocannabinoids, the enzymes which synthesize the endocannabinoids, and the cannabinoid receptors.
The two primary endocannabinoid receptors are the CB1 receptors, which are found predominantly in the central nervous system, and the CB2 receptors, predominantly found in the peripheral nervous system, especially the immune cells.
How does CBD and CBD oil interact with the Immune system and the ECS?
The CB2 receptor, which is the peripheral receptor in cannabinoids, is expressed predominantly in the immune tissues. The ECS thus has a part in immunomodulation in the body. The CBD immune system can have a massive impact on our immune health.
Some of the roles of CBD and CBD oil in the immune system are:
- To provide anti-inflammatory properties
When ingested, CBD, and CBD oil have been found to interact with the CB2 receptor found in your Endocannabinoid system. When there is inflammation in the body, the CB2 receptor activity inhibits the inflammatory signalling pathways. This inhibition helps in bringing the boy back to a non-inflammatory state that reduces damage to tissues. Using CBD oil for colds might help relieve some of the symptoms such as aches, pains, and a stuffy nose.
The anti-inflammatory effects of CB2 receptors can be particularly useful to patients who are living with inflammation-related disorders. Research published by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association found that the activation of CB2 plays a role in minimizing stroke symptoms since inflammation is responsible for a significant portion of the neural damage caused by strokes.
- Stops the resurgence of adenosine
Adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. It can act as a central nervous system depressant and promote sleep and suppressing arousal.
Intake of CBD and CBD oil also increases the brain’s production of adenosine. This will make the receptors trigger the reduction of inflammation naturally.
Immunosuppression is a reduction in the efficiency of the immune system. While this effect of CBD and CBD oil may seem counterintuitive to the healing process, immunosuppression is not without its benefits. Since CB2 selectors have minimal binding to CB1 receptors, they do not have psychotropic effects and could therefore prove ideal for clinical use in immunosuppressant drugs. Some of the benefits of immunosuppression include
- Organ transplant- The immune system views a transplanted organ as a foreign object and would therefore attack it like all other foreign bodies. Immunosuppressants work to weaken the body’s immune system to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ and to allow it to remain free from damage.
- Treatment of Graft vs Host Disease. This disease is characterized by inflammation in different organs after a bone marrow transplant.
- Treatment and management of auto-immune diseases such as lupus, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
CB2 receptors can also reduce pain. Hence medical professionals can use CBD and CBD oils in the treatment of some diseases.
CBD and CBD oil and Auto-immune diseases
Auto-immune diseases arise when the body has an abnormal immune response to an otherwise functioning body part. Scientists are aware of at least eighty auto-immune diseases. The cause of auto-immune diseases is unknown, though there are some considerations on the combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Medical professionals can consider CBD and CBD oil therapy in treating auto-immune diseases due to their functions in decreasing inflammation, modulation of the immune system, and balancing the immune system. According to current research, CBD and CBD oil can be beneficial in treating auto-immune disorders in three ways; modulation of the immune system, decreasing general inflammation and assisting in the digestive system.
Research has shown that CB2 receptors are key in regulating many complex pathways of the body’s immune system. The different ways that CBD oil can be used in the treatment of auto-immune diseases include.
- CBD and CBD oil can be used to bring back the immune system in balance. If the immune system is overly vigilant, it can be down regulated, and if it is deficient, by an increase in immune activity.
- CBD and CBD oil can inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and improve the anti-inflammatory cytokines.
- CBD and CBD oil also decelerate the production of T-Cells, which suppresses the immune system’s memory. This could cut down on the possibility of auto-immune attacks in the future.
- Research has found that CBD and CBD oil increase the expression of genes that deal with oxidative stress and can potentially deal and lower cell damage because of auto-immune attacks.
CBD oil immune systems are changing how we look at things in the field of immunology. Though more research is needed in the field, CBD has overwhelming therapeutic potential in this field.