Inflammation is our body’s automatic response to something harmful. It’s one of the first immune responses, and our body has a “better safe than sorry” type of attitude when it comes to potentially harmful bacteria entering our system. For example, if you bump your head or stub your toe, within minutes you have an inflammatory response such as pain, swelling, or soreness. Over several hours or days, this response fades away and the body goes back to normal. This is a great response as long as the stimuli is harmful, but we’re not always that lucky.
Sometimes our body will trigger an immune response to something it can’t fix, such as an ulcer on the colon or a small tear in cartilage in your hand. Our immune system sends antibodies to the spot of the problem, be it our colon or our joints, to fix the problem. Because it can’t fix the problem, it inspires more inflammation and more antibodies. This cycle leads to chronic and acute (sudden) inflammation.
The immune system has a helping hand, too. Our endocannabinoid system helps regulate our body’s immune response. This important system is supplemented by cannabidiol, or CBD, found in hemp seeds. Cannabidiol acts as many things in our body, including an anti-anxiety drug, an antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory agent. This makes it especially useful for patients suffering from diseases caused by inflammation. Let’s look at the current research into cannabidiol and inflammatory disorders.
Cannabidiol & Acute Inflammation
What is acute inflammation?
There are two different types of inflammation: chronic and acute. Chronic inflammation is ongoing and takes a long-term toll on the body because the immune system is constantly sending cells to try to resolve the perceived threat. Acute inflammation is that initial response to injury. Acute inflammation isn’t the sign of infection, it’s just the automatic response until the immune system sorts out the problem.
Acute inflammation is the first line of defense in the immune system, but requires constant stimulation to continue. The immune cells have a short life-span and are quickly destroyed in the body. Acute inflammation begins to go away once the bacteria or other stimulus is gone. The pain associated with inflammation is supposed to be a good response to let you know that there is something wrong, but if the nerves suffer from inflammation themselves, they can continue to send pain signals, causing nerve disease like fibromyalgia.
The most common treatment for pain from acute inflammation is to take an over-the-counter NSAID, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. NSAIDs are usually prescribed to relieve the pain associated with an immune response, but they are not without risk. These drugs tend to work within a few hours, but long-term use can lead to the body adjusting to the dosage and the user eventually needing more to satisfy. However, the major problem is the potential side effects and the long-term damage these drugs can do to the body. Besides the risk of renal damage from dehydration, NSAIDs can cause stomach upsets, heartburn, rashes, and headaches. They can affect the kidneys, liver, and immune system.
In searching for new treatments for inflammation, medical researchers have started looking into plant-based treatments like CBD hemp oil.
Study on CBD and Inflammation
This new research study on cannabidiol and its anti-inflammatory effects examines what receptors and chemicals create the immune response in the body, including pain. The two-part study starts by administering CBD to rat models of acute inflammation. The second part involves giving the rats various receptor-blocking chemicals to reverse the effects of the cannabidiol.
Why use rats?
Medical researchers prefer the use of rodents for a variety of reasons. Rats and mice are small, easy to house, and easy to maintain. They are very adaptable to new situations, and they reproduce quickly. The rapid reproduction allows researchers to breed rodents with the absence of various genes. The rodents are inexpensive due to commercial producers breeding them specifically for research. Breeding also makes each rodent so genetically similar that the medical trials with them are more accurate. Last, rodents closely resemble humans in behavior and biology, so human conditions can be easily replicated in these creatures.
Why do we block receptors?
When it comes to figuring out exactly what cannabidiol does in the body, it can be overwhelming because CBD can be used in so many places. The body’s natural endocannabinoid system regulates mood, appetite, pain, and even has a hand in the body’s immune response. With all these positive effects, the only way to be sure what receptor CBD is connecting with is to block one and see if the cannabidiol results change.
Scientists’ desire to know exactly which receptors respond to cannabidiol to have antihyperalgesic effects led them to focus on three receptors: CB1 receptors found primarily in the brain; CB2 receptors found in the immune system; and transient receptor TRPV1. The first step in this process is to simulate acute inflammation in the rats. They were induced with a time-sensitive internal inflammatory response. The response peaked at three hours and then decreased. At two hours in, CBD was given to the rats and it ended the inflammatory response.
At this point, the researchers administered chemicals to block receptors CB1 and CB2, which did nothing to the cannabidiol’s antihyperalgesic effect. When researchers administered a chemical to block the TRPV1 receptor, the positive effects of cannabidiol was reversed, meaning that for the antihyperalgesic effects, cannabidiol works with receptors other than the known CB1 and CB2 receptors.
CBD Hemp Oil Supplements for Inflammation
Cannabidiol is known to work with CB1 and CB2 receptors, found in the brain and the immune system respectively. However, there are so many receptors all over the body that researchers are routinely finding new receptors that interact with CBD, producing all sorts of beneficial health effects. While still experimental, cannabidiol is a handy supplement to add to your diet to combat inflammation and pain. Cannabidiol works with the body’s endocannabinoid system to support our immune and neural function. When any part of that system is off, CBD hemp oil steps in to regulate wherever it is needed.