CBD for Inflammation

Have you been suffering from an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis? Or maybe you have painful musculoskeletal conditions like lower back pain, fibromyalgia, or osteoarthritis?

There can be a wide variety of reasons that cause these ailments. But according to some recent reports emerging from the medical community, one of the underlying causes common to all of these conditions is chronic inflammation.

According to a report from Harvard Medical School, chronic inflammatory response plays a critical role in some of the most challenging diseases currently, like rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s [1].

What is inflammation?

Inflammation isn’t always harmful. It is the immune system process through which our white blood cells protect us from harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria.

But in the case of autoimmune diseases, the inflammatory response happens in the absence of any foreign invaders. So, the body’s protective system mistakenly attacks and damages its own tissues and causes chronic inflammation, contributing to things like arthritis (inflammation of joints) and heart disease (inflammation of arteries).

You might have been prescribed different medications, depending on your symptoms. While modern medicine is incredibly useful in relieving symptoms, the problem is that they typically don’t address the root cause of the diseases, which could be inflammation.

CBD is a natural supplement

Recently, people with a variety of health and wellness issues have been turning to CBD, a natural supplement. Although it is not meant to cure any conditions, many people have reported feeling better after using CBD.

CBD, or Cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the hemp plant. It has been gaining in prominence after Congress lifted several restrictions on the cultivation and sale of hemp products in 2018.

To be clear, CBD is not meant to be a replacement for any medications you’re currently taking. It is a supplement that you can take to enhance your wellness in conjunction with your current treatment.

The research regarding cannabis’ and inflammation is currently ongoing [2].

In this article, we’ll take a more in-depth look into how CBD works, and if it might have an effect on the immune system.

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Table of Contents

What is CBD? And how does it work?

Understanding CBD & The Body

To understand how CBD works, we should briefly discuss the human endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS is responsible for maintaining balance within the human body by regulating various functions like sleep, mood, appetite, immune response, among others. 

The endocannabinoid system is made up of 3 components.

  • Endocannabinoids –  Chemical compounds produced by the human body that are similar to ones found in cannabis plants.
  • Cannabinoid receptors – The CB1 and CB2 receptors that get activated by endocannabinoids. 
  • Enzymes – Enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids when their job is done.

When something is out of balance, the ECS goes to work. Endocannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors to regulate functions that need attention. For example, if your body needs fuel, the ECS reminds you to eat by making you feel hungry.

Once everything is back to an optimal level, the enzymes break down the endocannabinoids since they are no longer needed, thus providing an accurate response.

CBD does not directly interact with the cannabinoid receptors. Although it isn’t clear how CBD interacts with the ECS, there is some evidence to suggest that CBD enhances the activity of the human body’s own cannabinoids.

Along with influencing the ECS, CBD also interacts with several non-cannabinoid receptors in the brain to affect a wide array of functions like sleep, mood, pain, and more.

 

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What we know about CBD and inflammation

We know that the endocannabinoid system is present throughout the immune system. The ECS plays a role in maintaining equilibrium in immune function [2].

If the endocannabinoid system can promote optimal immune function, it might have a positive effect on those suffering from inflammatory conditions [3].

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Pain found that CBD helped promote healthy immune function in rats [3].

Another 2011 study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology also showed that CBD  had a beneficial effect in mice and rats with acute lung injury [4].

While these animal model results are encouraging, human clinical studies are required to learn about CBD’s effect on inflammation.

How Much CBD Should I take for Inflammation?

If you’re thinking of taking CBD, you can start with a smaller dosage and increase the amount according to the results you get. For adults, a safe beginning dosage can be anywhere from 10mg to 25mg per day.

How to use CBD oil

Tinctures The most common method of taking CBD is through a tincture. It is the most convenient way to use CBD because you’ll know exactly how much you’re using. You’ll use a dropper to place the desired amount of CBD oil underneath your tongue.

 Topicals – Topicals usually come in the form of salves or balms. People often use topicals directly on sore or stiff muscles. Many users report that CBD topicals have a soothing effect. One of the advantages of topicals is that it is relatively fast-acting because it doesn’t have to go through the digestion process.

 Gummies – You can also take CBD as gummies or other edibles. They are convenient but may take longer to have an effect because they have to be metabolized first.

 

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Final thoughts on CBD for inflammation

Chronic inflammation puts you at a higher risk for several diseases. There are various causes of inflammation, including lifestyle factors like smoking, being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption, and chronic stress.

The best way to reduce inflammation is to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, get adequate rest, and avoid things like junk food and smoking.

If you’re considering CBD to boost your overall wellness during your treatment, be sure to consult with your doctor before you begin.