Since the early 1940’s, all sorts of natural supplements have been introduced to help strengthen our immune systems. Lately, there is a lot of rumor about the ways cannabidiol (CBD) affects the body’s natural defense system. That is why today we are sharing more information specifically regarding CBD and the Immune System.
On the other hand, due to the pandemic of SARS CoV2 (aka: Coronavirus, COVID which hit the world hard at the beginning of March this year, we have a lot of opportunities to read about the immune system – what it is, how it functions, how it reacts to the virus, and so on.
The immune system plays one of the most critical roles in our bodies as it protects us from various external invaders – mainly viruses and bacteria. However, on most days, we don't pay much attention to it. We are healthy, it is doing its job properly, and everything is just fine.
Increasingly, people are searching for various supplements to strengthen their immune system in an attempt to avoid getting sick.
Surely, you already know about many things that can strengthen your immune system – vitamin C, echinacea, juice of fresh turmeric and ginger, probiotics, and so on. Even a cold shower now and then has been shown to be beneficial.
But something else is considered a kind of alternative medicine, and also gaining the interest of more people by the day including physicians practicing conventional medicine. If you are thinking about CBD oil, you are likely on a similar path of discovery.
The latest research into medical Cannabis shows that CBD has a lot of potent features that can significantly improve overall health. Among other things, it is super beneficial for the immune system.
How Does Immune System Work?
To understand how to strengthen the immune system, we first need to understand what it is and how it works. We know that it is crucial for our existence because it protects us from all types of bacteria viruses and other germs.
The immune system is made of different organs, tissues, and cells spread throughout our bodies and made to differentiate between our own and other types of tissue and organisms. Because of this ability, they can react immediately if any kind of pathogen occurs in our bodies.
In the case of adaptive immunity, we are talking about a different response - the system is now reacting against a specific antigen. What this means is it processes and recognizes an invader, and then creates cells aiming to destroy it. This is the “immunity” and immune cells that make it possible to recognize and react each time the same invader appears.
Some immune-system-critical cells are white blood cells also called the leukocytes. The others are phagocytes and lymphocytes. The purpose of the leukocytes is to map the germ and send a signal to other cells to react. They are prevalent in the spleen, bone marrow, lymph nodes, and so on. Phagocytes are designed to destroy the intruder – they break and eliminate it.
Lymphocytes are responsible for the memory of the immune system. Because of the lymphocytes, the defense system can recognize the specific type of germ before it creates the illness and reacts promptly.
Your Endocannabinoid System
In the 1990’s, scientists discovered another system in our bodies – the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). It is a relatively new discovery, so most people aren’t truly aware of its existence. Nevertheless, it is an important system identified not only in humans but in all vertebrates. It is a system consisting of different cells and affecting various physiological and mental processes, including immunity as well.
Some of you folks may be aware of the more popularly discussed types such as anandamide (AEA) and 2 arachinodonoygleryol (2-AG). These enable major organs to do their job effectively. The endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) are located throughout the body and serve as an alarm to act effectively. An external cannabinoid like CBD (cannabidiol) naturally connects to these two receptors and the effects depend on where they are returned to "homeostasis", or closer to the objective of healthy system balance.
Enzymes like fatty acids are breaking down endocannabinoids once they finished their job. With all these components, the endocannabinoid system helps balance the effects of inflammation by supporting the immune system in this most essential way.
CBD Oil for Immune System Balance
By now, most of us have heard about CBD health benefits in general, and because of that, people are starting to use it to treat all sorts of medical conditions. Compared to oils and edibles, there are many new product categories rapidly gaining popularity such as CBD topicals, CBD suppositories, and CBD vape products being used successfully to deal with conditions like arthritis, chronic pain, anxiety/depression, and even diet-induced (reversible) health issues like Type-2 diabetes. Our repeat customers’ re-orders at Cannabis Animus attests to all of these.
But what exactly is CBD, and how does CBD work? Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a compound found in the Cannabis plant (both marijuana and hemp). We know that marijuana also contains another cannabinoid, THC, which has wonderful health benefits as well. One of the important differences is that CBD doesn't produce a “high” or “stoned” effect. That is another reason why it is gaining more and more popularity and presence in mainstream channels even among the conventional health care providers.
Most commonly used are CBD for anxiety and CBD for pain relief, but what is lately becoming popular is also CBD oil for the immune system. Over a decade of research from the National Institute of Health shows that Cannabis has potent anti-inflammatory properties, which are good in cases when the immune system gets out of control and needs to be suppressed.
You might wonder how does CBD boosts immunity when suppresses it at the same time. It is relatively simple. You know that inflammation is the body's reaction to the invader – by creating inflammation the body is preventing the spread of the disease. Now, in some cases, the inflammation, which can be helpful in general, can make severe problems, and that’s were CBD can come into play.
When the process takes a lot of time or is too strong for some of our elders as it is in the case of COVID-19, their bodies are constantly alert and continually feels the need to fight harder against the intruders. This can make the immune system overworked, which then can lead to organ failure. This is something happening to some COVID-19 patients who then experience something called the Cytokine Storm. As an anti-inflammatory agent that helps to lower unwanted amounts of inflammation, CBD supports the immune system and prevents it from going into this overworking mode.
Besides this, if you are still wondering why CBD oil is good for immunity, we can say it has a strong pain relief effect. We all know that muscle soreness is one of the common flu symptoms that arrives from the inflammation. Usually, physicians recommend acetaminophen (like Tylenol) for pain and other NSAIDs (ibuprophen like Advil) to treat inflammation. But instead of putting chemicals in your body that can actually increase inflammation, you can now take CBD products for boosting your immune system.
As well as for other things, a significant feature of cannabidiol (CBD) is that it is an anti-inflammatory substance, which makes it at the same time an analgesic.
If you are wondering how CBD strengthens the immune system, it has been shown in clinical results from patients all over the world that it can also help the underactive immune system.
When the defense system is underactive, it is not working properly, and people can get ill easier. Now we are going to look in a bit more details on how CBD products can affect the immune system, and some conditions involving it.
CBD Oil and Autoimmune Disease
Autoimmune diseases are types of conditions where the body gets confused for any number of reasons, and then instead of attacking invaders, it attacks itself. This can happen anywhere in the body, and it often results in weakening of the defense system. Some of the most common conditions are HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and so on.
Autoimmune diseases are, in general, there to stay for life and can't be completely cured as yet. But, there are ways to alleviate the unwanted symptoms. The treatment offered by classical medicine usually involves the prescription of an immunosuppressive drug that aims to slow down the defense system.
CBD is an immunomodulator which offers the possibility of returning more balance to the system. Not only by modulation, but also by improving the health of the digestive system and decreasing general inflammation.
CBD and HIV
As it is a human immunodeficiency virus, you can only imagine to what extent this virus destroys the immune system. Many patients consider CBD and all the plant’s cannabinoids not only useful to alleviate symptoms, it also helps the body in other ways.
CBD promotes the production of cells such as CD4 and decreases the viral load. Its powerful anti-inflammatory features are also important for HIV patients. It promotes the release of T-cells that are known for their power to destroy pathogens.
Epilepsy and Immune System Disorders
There are plenty of scientific studies covering how effective CBD oil is for treating epilepsy patients. Even the FDA approved it to treat epilepsy in young adults (Epidiolex). But what does epilepsy have to do with the immune system?
Epilepsy is a neurological condition indeed, but there are plenty of other conditions that can make it worse. There is mounting research about the connection between epilepsy and the diseases of the immune system showing that epilepsy is more prevalent when there is something else going on.
This means that by using CBD oil for (re)building immune system strength, you are also reducing the probabilities that are correlated with onset of epilepsy.
CBD Oil for The Immune System When Pregnant
This is a rather controversial point. Some people are saying that it is okay to use CBD when you are pregnant as long as you make sure to take proper CBD dosage. They also say that it is important to choose a reliable seller to make sure that there is no THC in it. Refer to the image of the QR code on the label for independent lab test results of that exact batch including your product if you want to be sure.
However, others think that pregnant women shouldn't take it under any circumstances as it is often impossible to know that it doesn't contain THC. More or less, the same counts for CBD when breastfeeding.
If you want to use CBD, there are ways to dose effectively without ingesting it by mouth. You can use CBD products that you can apply directly to the skin or in suppository form without ingesting or inhaling it.
CBD oil has also become exceptionally important for skincare formulators. As you know, the skin is the largest organ of our bodies, and it plays an important role in protecting our body from all kinds of diseases.
If you are asking why CBD skincare products are popular, we know that many skin problems are caused by inflammation, and CBD has all the aforementioned anti-inflammatory effects. Besides these, CBD oil contains very powerful antioxidants, which are as important for skin health as any other organ or system.
How to Use CBD
Same as when you are taking other supplements, it is important to know how to take CBD oil and related products. By this, we mean that we should take care of the dosage. This generally depends a lot on what you are using it for, your body weight, the concentration of CBD in the product you are using.
The rule of a thumb is to start with smaller doses and then gradually increase if it is necessary. It also depends on whether you are using oil and/or other products like Gummy Bears, and so on. The good thing is that CBD has proven to be completely non-toxic and you likely won’t ever spend enough $$ to even get close to overly-dosing.
Clinical doses range from 50 mg/per dose three times per day (8 hour intervals on an empty stomach) to over 300 mg per day. You will choose the dosage by yourself and/or medical professionals that you trust.
CBD oil is a relatively new product in stand-alone forms. Researchers are continually finding proof that corroborates the more anecdotal claims by patients extolling its benefits. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why you should try CBD oil for the immune system.
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About Our Co-author: Rachael "Rae" Hudson is a journalist, blogger, and medical researcher from Boston. She came across the topic of Medical Cannabis a few years ago, got interested in it, and decided to research it a bit more. We're delighted with Rae’s second contribution to Cannabis Animus.
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