Certain health conditions like inflammation have been getting a lot of press lately, but research scientists have recently discovered a chemical to add to our arsenal of anti-inflammatory medicines: Cannabidiol, or CBD. This is the non-psychoactive chemical found in cannabis, but found in higher concentrations in the hemp plant. Since the 1990s, medical scientists have been doing experiments using mice to see exactly how CBD works with the brain and the body.
All this past research has shown that cannabidiol has antioxidant, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety properties. The newest research into the emerging field of cannabinoid studies explores the newly discovered anti-inflammatory benefits of CBD.
Before we get into the complex action of cannabidiol in the body, let’s explore what exactly inflammation is and how it can disrupt the body’s systems.
What is inflammation?
In general, the term inflammation refers to the body’s immune response to a trigger, whether that’s a virus, bacteria in a wound or a foreign substance. Sometimes there isn’t a trigger, and inflammation occurs because of any problem that the immune system thinks is there. At the very basic level, an inflammatory response is our body sending immune cells (white blood cells, etc), fluids, and blood to the site of the trigger. The accepted signs and symptoms of inflammation used by doctors for centuries are heat, redness, swelling, and pain.
Doctors and scientists agree that there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
- Acute Inflammation – This type is a swift immune response to an injury, or a bacterial or viral threat. For example, if you step on a rusty nail, the wound will swell and be red because the immune system sends fluid and blood to the wound to kickstart the healing process; there may be heat to kill off the bacteria, and pain as the nerves react to this immune response.
- Chronic Inflammation – This type is a slow, ongoing immune response to a trigger that is internal, but it can also occur as a result of the immune system going haywire and attacking the body’s healthy cells. These are called autoimmune diseases, and a good example is rheumatoid arthritis, which is chronic inflammation around bones and joints.
Because cannabinoids, including CBD, take a while to influence the immune system, chronic inflammation is the specific kind of inflammation a CBD supplement treatment addresses. Let’s take a look at what diseases chronic inflammation contributes to, since those are the diseases CBD can help treat.
What diseases can chronic inflammation cause?
According to many doctors, if inflammation goes on too long inside the body (especially inflammation caused by that autoimmune response), then several diseases and conditions can develop:
- Flu-like symptoms – Inflammation can often happen all over the body, as in the case of a virus, causing a high temperature, headaches, fatigue, and muscle stiffness, among other responses.
- Arthritis – Since this disease literally just means “inflammation of the joints,” technically all types of arthritis are caused by inflammation. However, the main inflammation-caused types are rheumatoid and psoriatic arthritis.
- Lupus – Technically called systemic lupus erythematosus, this autoimmune disease causes the immune system to attack various organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and even nerves and blood cells. Inflammation in the areas where the immune system is sending antibodies causes flu-like symptoms, among others.
- IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease – Also known as IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), IBD is caused by inflammation in the lower intestines, colon, and bowel. The inflammation interferes with the normal function of the digestive system, causing pain, constipation, and other issues. Crohn’s Disease is another example of an inflammatory bowel disease.
- Psoriasis – This skin condition is caused by immune cells attaching to skin cells because the body thinks they are foreign. This inflammatory response results in scaly patches on the skin.
- Diabetes mellitus, type 1 – In this autoimmune disease, the body attacks the cells that make insulin in the pancreas. Inflammation of the pancreas eventually causes it to stop functioning, and the patient must take insulin supplements. Inflammation can also contribute to eye disease associated with diabetes.
Medical scientists have discovered that, in addition to these known autoimmune diseases, there are many more disorders that can be traced back to chronic inflammation. Other conditions that some doctors think are caused by chronic inflammation include asthma, fibromyalgia, cancer, Parkinson’s, asthma, hypertension, and some cardiovascular diseases.
Current Treatments for Inflammatory Disorders
Traditionally, most doctors fight inflammation with a variety of drugs, some of which have been used for centuries and some of which are relatively new. Some anti-inflammatory medications are available over the counter, such as ibuprofen, but doctors often prescribe steroids to control inflammation in many cases. There are some anti-inflammatory foods that those with autoimmune or inflammatory diseases should work into their diet, including turmeric, ginger, green tea, vegetables like broccoli and beets, as well as fruits like blueberries and pineapple. Fresh fish with Omega-3 fatty acids can also help control inflammation, as well as walnuts.
The newest anti-inflammatory supplement is CBD hemp oil, which helps support your immune system by giving your body more cannabinoids. Your body naturally makes its own cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, and these chemicals support the immune system and reduce inflammation in various parts of the body. Let’s look at how this works.
How CBD Fights Inflammation
New research into the effects of cannabidiol on mice has shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, the newest research by medical researchers involves CBD and pancreatitis, a disease of pancreas inflammation like diabetes. Another study shows that CBD can fight inflammation in mice with arthritis as well, suggesting that cannabidiol can be used as an anti-inflammatory supplement.
The main way that CBD can help reduce inflammation, especially that caused by the immune system, is by supporting and regulating our body’s immune system. The receptors for CBD, called CB2 receptors, are located mostly within the body, specifically in the immune system. This internal cannabinoid system, called the endocannabinoid system or ECS, makes sure the immune system doesn’t mistakenly cause inflammation in various areas of the body.
When combined with this chemical’s other properties, CBD hemp oil can be a powerful supplement for your health. CBD has been shown to not only be anti-inflammatory, but also antioxidant, anti-nausea, pain relieving, and anti-seizure. All of these effects combined with this immune support make hemp oil with natural CBD a great treatment for many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.