CBD is a therapeutic, non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. CBD and its famous cousin THC are the two most well-known and widely used cannabinoids on the market. While some of the beneficial properties of the two cannabinoids are the same, many people prefer using CBD over THC. This is because they would like to experience cannabis benefits without getting high. Through various studies, CBD is proving to have a beneficial effect on the immune system. The human immune system and the endocannabinoid system are directly linked to one another.
The endocannabinoid system in a nutshell
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex cell-signaling system found in humans and animals. Much of the functioning of the ECS is still a mystery. From what scientists and researchers have discovered, it plays a role in regulating sleep, mood, appetite, reproduction and memory.
Endocannabinoids are molecules produced by your body. Cannabinoids are similar molecules that are found in cannabis. Both types of molecules interact with the ECS and help to keep things running smoothly in many of the body’s systems.
All throughout the body exist receptors called endocannabinoid receptors. Cannabinoids from cannabis and endocannabinoids produced by the body bind to these receptors to signal to the ECS that it’s time to act. The two main receptors are called CB1 and CB2. The resulting action depends on two things: the location of the receptor and the type of endocannabinoid (or cannabinoid) binding to it.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
The interaction between CBD and the ECS is still a bit of a mystery. CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 and CB2 the way that THC does. Some researchers believe that CBD prevents endocannabinoids from breaking down, allowing them to have more impact on the body’s systems. Others believe that CBD molecules bind to receptors that have yet to be discovered. More research is needed to uncover the actions of CBD on the body.
Despite scientists not knowing exactly how CBD works with the ECS, current research points towards CBD as being an effective support for the immune system.
CBD’s immunosuppressant qualities
The body’s immune system works to help fight off infections that cause illness and disease. Sometimes it mistakes healthy cells and tissues for an invading threat and starts to attack these cells. This can cause inflammation which in turn creates other problems such as pain and debility. Immunosuppressant drugs and remedies can help to slow this reaction. This can benefit those with autoimmune conditions such as:
- Celiac’s disease
- Hashimoto thyroiditis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Type 2 diabetes
Research shows that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive, making it a valuable treatment for autoimmune conditions. However, most of the studies regarding CBD’s immunosuppressant qualities have been performed in labs or on rats. More human studies are needed to identify the value of CBD in treating autoimmunity. Luckily this type of research is ongoing, as scientists work hard to find ways to remedy ever prevailing autoimmune conditions.
CBD as an immune-boosting sleep enhancer
A strong immune system can only be maintained with adequate, consistent sleep. Chronic insomnia and other sleep disorders can interfere with immunity and cause long-term health problems.
When we are sleeping, the immune system revs up certain actions. One thing it does is increase cytokine production, raising inflammation levels in the body. When someone is sick or injured, this inflammatory response may assist recovery, strengthening immunity as the body goes through the motions of healing and repair. This response happens even when there is no illness or injury. It’s thought to be a way for the body to strengthen and maintain strong immune function even in the absence of illness or injury. Research points towards the theory that the immune system’s memory is strengthened during sleep. Due to certain interactions of immune components, the immune system’s ability to recognize and react to harmful antigens is improved.
Chronic sleep weakens immunity and increases the risk of serious health complications such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and neurodegeneration. Luckily there are tools out there to help with sleep regularity, such CBD oil. CBD has been shown to alter serotonin production. Serotonin is the “happy” neurochemical that plays a part in maintaining stabilizing mood and sleep. CBD is known to decrease anxiety and promote healthy sleep patterns.
CBD as a solution to immune-busting stress
The immune system is highly sensitive to stress, especially if it’s chronic. Stress can reduce the number of lymphocytes being produced. Lymphocytes are cells that are necessary to fight off viruses. Stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol. This negatively affects the body’s inflammatory response, making it more susceptible to repeated infections.
Various studies have shown that CBD can help with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and phobias. All of these conditions greatly contribute to stress and lowered immunity. CBD is a safe, natural and effective way to maintain mental health equilibrium.
CBD for gut microbiome enhancement
The gastrointestinal tract hosts a large number of immune system cells and tissues. The collection of good and bad microorganisms in the intestines is called the microbiota. The microbiota plays a huge part in helping maintain a balanced immune response.
Sometimes the gut becomes inflamed. When the inflammation is chronic, it can lead to gut permeability, dysbiosis and an impaired intestinal immune response. These conditions contribute to disease and autoimmune imbalance. The endocannabinoid system helps to counteract gut inflammation. CBD in particular has been proven to support gut health and a strong intestinal inflammatory response.
Research shows that CBD is effective for treating inflammation related to autoimmune disease. It is also proving to be an effective immunosuppressive aid.
CBD has been shown to alter serotonin production. Serotonin is the “happy” chemical produced by our brains and it affects mood and sleep. Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining a strong immune system.
Stress lowers immunity. CBD has been shown to help manage anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and phobias. This naturally lowers stress levels and supports immunity.
CBD can help to reduce inflammation in the gut. Because the gut hosts many immune system cells and tissues, a healthy gut is directly connected to strong immunity.
CBD can be consumed in the form of oil tinctures, topical creams and patches, oil capsules and edibles such as gummies, lozenges and prepared foods such as brownies.
How to use CBD for immune function optimization
There are a few key components to maintaining a healthy immune system:
- Eat a healthy and balanced whole-food diet. Organic is best if accessible.
- Get outside. Sunshine and fresh air are crucial to maintaining immune health.
- Exercise. Movement helps blood to circulate and keeps things moving in the lymphatic system.
- Get adequate sleep. 6-8 hours of sleep is ideal, depending on your personal constitution.
- Keep stress levels at a minimum.
Sometimes our bodies and immune systems need an extra boost. CBD is an effective, safe and natural way to support and fortify your immune system.
CBD is highly versatile and there are several ways to reap the benefits to your immune system. These include:
- CBD oil tincture. CBD oil can be taken sublingually or mixed in with foods such as smoothies. Since the skin in our mouth is so thin and permeable, this is probably the quickest way to feel the effects of CBD upon administering.
- Vaping. Using CBD oil in a vape pen is a simple and tasty way to take CBD.
- Topical CBD creams and patches. If you are struggling with immune-related inflammation in a specific area of the body, then topical CBD is a great way to ensure that the benefits of CBD reach the painful area most effectively.
- CBD oil capsules. These are a great way to take CBD if you don’t like the feeling or taste of oil in your mouth.
- CBD edibles. Gummies, lozenges, and treats such as brownies, etc. are a simple and tasty way to consume CBD.
The Green Dragon CBD offers a wide variety of CBD products. If you are curious about using CBD to help support your immune system, the staff at The Green Dragon CBD are more than happy to answer any questions. They can also help you determine the right product and dosage for your specific needs and constitution. Contact us here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, JEN OLSON
Jennifer Olson is a copywriter with a deep knowledge of the cannabis industry. She was born and raised on an island in BC, Canada and currently resides in the Slocan Valley, BC. She is passionate about science and research and could potentially bore you with talk of mycelium, neurochemicals, you name it. Connect with her on Instagram or read other posts by Jen.