As CBD has come more into the spotlight, and as more and more people use CBD, we are hearing an increasing number of claims that CBD helps with a variety of conditions. Perhaps one of the biggest claims out there is that CBD can help reduce inflammation and, as a result, also reduce chronic pain.
But do these claims have backbone to them, or are they just that — claims? Well, if you talk to those who use CBD, their claims are backed up with personal experience. Unfortunately, official studies are still just getting started, so we don’t have too much research to back up what everyone is saying. However, there are some studies that are letting us peek into the reality that CBD can actually help with inflammation.
Here’s what we’ve been able to find out so far:
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural response in your body’s immune system. This response is actually extremely important, and it happens all the time both inside and outside of the body, even when we may not notice it. You see, your body is constantly exposed to free radicals, germs, viruses, and other harmful substances that your body doesn’t want. If not removed, these harmful substances can damage the proteins, fat, and even DNA inside your body.
Inflammation is a natural response that helps your body get rid of any foreign or harmful substances, constantly protecting us against infections, parasites, and more. Essentially, inflammation triggers white blood cells to flood the area where there are foreign or harmful substances. These white blood cells then flood the area with chemicals that are toxic to the foreign substances, thus killing them and keeping your body safe.
There are two main types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is often the result of an injury, and it often brings about swelling, pain, heat, and redness. This is your body’s natural response to an injury, protecting the injured area and starting the healing process. Acute inflammation helps clear the injured area of any debris, damaged tissue, harmful bacteria, and other unwanted substances. Chronic inflammation is when inflammation persists for longer periods of time, even months or years. This happens when your body’s immune system things that healthy tissue is actually a threat, and it starts to attack. The inflammation does not dissipate because your body perceives an almost constant threat from healthy tissue.
The Effects of Inflammation
Doctors and scientists know that inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation, plays a key role in several chronic conditions. As chronic inflammation attacks healthy tissue, you can begin to experience a variety of symptoms as a result. For example, if the inflammation is in the joints, you can experience arthritis. If the inflammation is in the brain, you can experience a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.
Studies have found that inflammation has a direct correlation with coronary artery disease, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, asthma, Crohn’s disease, neuropathic pain, sinusitis, and more.
CBD and Your Endocannabinoid System
Your body has its own endocannabinoid system (ECS), and it has two main receptors: the CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are found throughout the body, including immune cells. However, your immune cells have a significantly larger amount of CB2 receptors than CB1, and when your ECS or CBD activate CB2 receptors, it also activates an anti-inflammatory effect. While researches are still trying to figure out the details of just how CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system, studies show that CBD and other cannabinoids do interact with your CB1 and CB2 receptors and can directly influence your immune system.
Can CBD Help With Inflammation?
As mentioned before, there are limited studies with CBD and its effects on inflammation, so the information we have is limited and more conceptual. In short, studies so far are showing that CBD can help reduce both acute and chronic inflammation by mediating your body’s inflammatory response.
Completed studies about CBD and inflammation all seem to provide the idea that CBD can help with inflammation, although the method of how still remains somewhat of a mystery. Some studies say that CBD acts as an immunosuppressant, meaning it reduces the strength at which your body immune system responds. By suppressing your immune system, CBD can help reduce inflammation and reduce the side effects that you experience.
Other studies show that regularly using CBD can help increase your body’s natural white blood cell count, which can be especially helpful for those with immunodeficiency disorders. Additional studies are looking into how CBD may be an immunomodulator, which means that it modifies your body’s immune response to be more regular instead of suppressing it. This could come from stimulating the production of more antibodies or inhibiting white blood cell activity (which means your white blood cells won’t attack your healthy tissue, thus relieving associated symptoms you may experience).
Most studies show that CBD can help reduce the effects of chronic and acute inflammation by activating receptors other than just the CB1 and CB2 receptors. For example, some studies say CBD can activate the glycine receptors and reduce the pain caused by chronic inflammation. Other studies say that CBD can help reduce the amount of macrophages (a type of white blood cell in the digestive system) within your intestines, ultimately helping to reduce intestinal inflammation.
Even though there are not a lot of studies about CBD and its effect on inflammation, the studies that have been completed show that CBD does in fact help reduce inflammation. We are still learning just how it all works, but many people can add their personal testimonies to the study findings that CBD can help fight inflammation. As a result, those who experience side effects of chronic inflammation can find relief and live a fuller life.
If you choose to use CBD to help with your inflammation symptoms, we recommend first talking with your doctor to establish a dosage and determine whether CBD is the right choice. Remember to always start with a lower dosage and work your way up until you experience the effects you want.