Inflammation has been a focus in medical research for a number of years, but scientists have recently focused on the body’s natural endocannabinoid system, cannabinoids from hemp, and how these two fight inflammation all over the body. Mostly using studies on mice, medical researchers have been studying how the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) supports and regulates the immune system so it doesn’t cause inflammation, but they’ve also been taking a close look at how cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical derived from hemp, can supplement both the ECS and our immune systems just like other anti-inflammatory supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids.
This fascinating new research points to a whole new world of natural supplements for inflammatory disease sufferers, from Omega-3 fatty acids to cannabidiol (CBD) derived from hemp. With the help of CBD hemp oil supplements, patients suffering from one of the many diseases caused by chronic inflammation can find hope. Let’s look first at how an overexcited inflammatory response can harm the body, and then we’ll learn how our own bodies can fight back with the help of some Omega-3 and CBD supplements.
The ECS, Cannabinoids & Inflammation
Before we get into all the research surrounding the ECS, cannabinoids, Omega-3 fatty acids, and anti-inflammatory responses, let’s take a quick look at exactly what inflammation means and what problems it can cause when it becomes a chronic condition.
What is Inflammation?
In its very basic form, inflammation is the body’s immune response to a real (or simply perceived) threat. When it’s benign, called acute inflammation, it’s tissue experiencing swelling, pain, redness, and heat. A good example is what happens if a tiny cut gets infected, but typical fever symptoms are also considered inflammation because the whole body gets flooded with immune cells and experiences heat, pain, and other symptoms.
What harm can it cause?
While the inflammatory response is supposed to help our bodies get rid of viruses and other things that are bad for us, inflammation can cause disease if it becomes chronic. The trouble starts when the immune system thinks it sees a threat that simply isn’t there, and it sends all those cells and blood and fluid to the cells it thinks are attacking the body. These cells can be all over the body, including in the joints, causing arthritis; in the colon, causing IBS and colon cancer; in the blood, causing lupus; and in the pancreas, causing type 1 diabetes. Even if these cells are perfectly healthy, the immune cells continually attacking them will cause damage, leading to disease.
How the Body Fights Inflammation with Endocannabinoids
Luckily, our bodies have other systems besides the immune system that help to keep us healthy and keep everything working smoothly. One such system that works with the immune system, brain, and nerves is our Endocannabinoid System. Unlike anatomical discoveries like the nervous system, the Endocannabinoid System (or ECS) was only discovered within the last few decades. The ECS includes receptors all over the body and even in the brain, as well as chemicals that work with those receptors. The chemicals that the ECS uses are called endocannabinoids, and they’re very similar to the chemicals found in hemp and cannabis, called cannabinoids, but they’re made by our own bodies out of Omega-3 fatty acids.
When the immune system goes haywire and causes a chronic inflammatory response, the Endocannabinoid System kicks into high gear and starts making endocannabinoids out of Omega-3 fatty acids, a recent study found. The ECS has cannabinoid receptors in the immune system that respond to cannabidiol, found in hemp, as well as these natural cannabinoids made by the body. According to the main scientist in the study, “Our team discovered an enzymatic pathway that converts omega-3-derived endocannabinoids into more potent anti-inflammatory molecules that predominantly bind to the receptors found in the immune system,” Das said. “This finding demonstrates how omega-3 fatty acids can produce some of the same medicinal qualities as marijuana, but without a psychotropic effect.”
In plain English, what the good Dr. Das is saying is that the Endocannabinoid System takes Omega-3s and turns them into endocannabinoids, then converts those endocannabinoids into powerful anti-inflammatory chemicals that get sent directly to the immune system. When these anti-inflammatory signals are sent by the Endocannabinoid System, the immune system slows down and stops sending unnecessary blood, fluid, and immune cells to the tissues it thinks are infected. These very important anti-inflammatory chemicals are all created from Omega-3 fatty acids by the body’s natural Endocannabinoid System, but you can help your body out with Omega-3 and cannabidiol supplements as well.
Omega-3s and CBD Hemp Oil Supplements Reduce Inflammation
Though the research into the anti-inflammatory effects of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids is still relatively new, there are several new studies that explore how the Endocannabinoid System and these chemicals react with the immune system to stop inflammation. In order to kickstart this anti-inflammatory action, individuals can supplement with Omega-3s and/or cannabidiol (CBD) found in hemp oil.
Scientists aren’t exactly sure how these specific fatty acids help regulate the immune system, but current clinical trials have shown that taking Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help your immune system regulate itself and reduce inflammatory responses. On top of that, the metabolic action just explained above can turn those fatty acids into endocannabinoids, and then into immune cells that reduce inflammation.
CBD Hemp Oil Supplements
In addition to fish oil or Omega-3 supplements, CBD hemp oil might also offer some relief for inflammation sufferers. Supplementing with cannabidiol directly supports the Endocannabinoid System so that it can regulate the inflammatory response. CBD is particularly good for anti-inflammatory effects because the receptors for this particular cannabinoid are located directly in the immune system, where they can do the most good. CBD oil made from hemp is best because it usually contains the lowest levels of other cannabinoids like THC and the highest concentrations of CBD.