CBD and Your Immune System

Boost your immune system with CBD to help fight bacterial and viral infections.

Immune health is a hot topic in the best of times, but it is even more so these days. Usually, the term “immune health” applies to behaviors, habits, and products that keep your immune system strong and help you stay healthy.

CBD (cannabidiol) oil is the latest product to be identified as one that can boost your immune system.

Early research has shown that CBD and other cannabinoids may influence your immune system, resulting in improved health for you.

The immune system & how it works

Your immune system defends you against viruses and bacteria; it fights disease and infection as well. A network of cells, tissue, and organs interact to destroy foreign bodies.

The immune system keeps you healthy and helps your body fight disease and infection. In a healthy immune system, inflammation is a typical and expected response to the disease and infection. It’s a sign that the immune system is working correctly.

In people with poorly functioning immune systems, an inflammatory response is triggered much too easily. As a response, chronic inflammation becomes a problem, often causing chronic pain and autoimmune disease. Current research points to chronic inflammation as being a common factor in many conditions.

The immune system works in two ways to fight diseases: cell-mediated immunity and humoral immunity. Humoral immunity gets its name from a reference to the old-fashioned term, “humors,” which really just means body fluids.

White blood cells are a frontline defense. Lymphocytes and phagocytes are two types of white blood cells that are part of the cell-mediated immunity system. B-cells and T-cells are two of the most common types of lymphocytes. B-cells and T-cells work to destroy viruses, microbes, toxins, and harmful foreign bodies known as antigens. They also help “remember” those antigens so that if they reoccur, your immune system responds to fight them again.

Phagocytes are another cellular defense that’s part of your immune system. Phagocytes act to absorb and neutralize foreign bodies to prevent them from spreading. They also prevent antigens from causing additional damage.

It’s essential to maintain the correct balance between cell-mediated and humoral immunity in your immune system responses to keep optimal immune system function. Your immune system is also responsible for finding and destroying defective cells in your body. Once discovered, your immune system kills the damaged cells to prevent them from multiplying and becoming tumors.

What is autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease develops when your immune system does not work as it should. Immune system diseases are caused by either low activity or overactivity of the immune system.

With an autoimmune disease that overreacts, instead of attacking foreign microbes and viruses, your immune system attacks your body’s healthy cells, tissue, and organs by mistake.

Examples of autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, MS, and fibromyalgia, as well as HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s, and Huntington’s diseases. Autoimmune diseases can attack a single organ, such as Type 1 diabetes, which causes pancreas damage. Diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus can affect your entire body.

Immune deficiency (or immunodeficiency) diseases are because of under/low activity in your immune system. A low activity response from your immune system can decrease your body’s ability to fight antigens.

Your body’s inability to fight disease makes you vulnerable to infection. Immunodeficiency means your system’s ability to fight disease is compromised or absent. Most cases of immunodeficiency are acquired as a result of external factors, such as chemotherapy or malnutrition.

How your endocannabinoid system works with your immune system.

All mammals, including humans, have an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which includes CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors help achieve a balance of bodily function throughout your body. CB2 receptors are part of the immune and digestive systems. CB2 regulates the immune system’s inflammatory response, among other things.

The endocannabinoid system regulates and controls the balance between the humoral and cell-mediated responses discussed above. As CBD stimulates the ECS, it enhances your immune system’s health, balance, responsiveness, and functioning.

CBD and its benefits for the immune system.

Cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), collaborate with your endocannabinoid system. CBD oil inhibits the CB2 receptor and helps to regulate inflammation in your body. Additionally, cannabidiol has several indirect anti-inflammatory impacts on the central nervous system, which amplify its therapeutic effects.

Your immune system also releases cytokines (proteins) whose function is to initiate and continue inflammation when your body is stressed or traumatized, as in cases of illness. According to the research, cannabidiol disrupts cytokine release effectively, possibly preventing inflammation in the first place.

CBD also inhibits the reuptake of adenosine, a neurotransmitter in your immune system. That action increases the amount of adenosine in your brain, and it influences adenosine receptors to decrease inflammation throughout your body.

Some evidence suggests that CBD can strengthen your immune system, as discussed above.

Complicating matters is the fact that CBD can either strengthen or weaken your immune system. As an anti-inflammatory, CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation makes it a valuable tool when your immune system is overactive. Essentially, its anti-inflammatory properties act to reduce that overactivity.

When you fall ill, an overactive immune system will continue to overreact, causing additional harm to your body. Studies show that CBD can act as a suppressant and as a modulator of your immune system. Together with its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD’s suppressant properties can have a positive effect not only in decreasing inflammation but also by suppressing an overactive immune system.

So; what’s the bottom line? Does CBD improve your immune system?

While the definitive answer to that question is still unclear, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that says it does. Research also suggests that CBD can help boost immune responses, but the science is young. 

Depending on your condition, you’ll want to consult your health care professional about adding CBD to your health care regimen. Do your homework about the potential benefits of CBD and talk to your doctor about why you want to use it. Begin with a low dosage and slowly increase over time as necessary.

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Jack Studebaker

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