We’ve all had some kind of inflammation at some point. It might be inflammation around a nasty insect bite, or inflammation after a sprained ankle. Or, it might be more long-term, like arthritis.
But what exactly is it, and what does the research tell us about using CBD for inflammation?
Let’s dive in.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the process where your body’s white blood cells and the things they make protect you from infection from outside invaders, like viruses and bacteria. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, which causes swelling.
Yes, in this case, inflammation is good. It helps with natural healing. It’s the same when you hurt yourself – that inflammation is just part of the healing process. It usually goes away within a few hours, or a few days.
But other types of inflammation are not good.
With long-term inflammation, like arthritis, your immune system sends out signals that trigger inflammation when there are no invaders to fight off. In this case, your immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected or somehow unusual, causing damage.
Higher numbers of white blood cells and the things they make inside your joints cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and loss of cartilage over time, causing issues like arthritis.
Unlike acute inflammation that goes away fairly quickly, chronic inflammation can last months or years, even after the first trigger is gone. Conditions linked to chronic inflammation include:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Common symptoms of inflammation include:
- Warmth at the site of the inflammation
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, loss of appetite)
- Aches and pain
Can CBD help?
CBD for Inflammation
Over the years, the chemistry of CBD, as well as cannabinoid receptors and other components of the endocannabinoid system with which it interacts, have been extensively studied.
And what those studies tell us is that CBD has many beneficial pharmacological effects, including anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, “clinical studies have confirmed that CBD reduces the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, inhibits T cell proliferation, induces T cell apoptosis and reduces migration and adhesion of immune cells.”
In your body, you have a system called the endocannabinoid system. It runs throughout your entire body – from the brain, through your nervous system, and all throughout your major organs. In this system are various receptors, and when you introduce CBD, it interacts to bring about some type of change.
For example, looking specifically at CBD for inflammation, “the activation of the CB2 receptor leads to a decrease in ROS and TNF-α levels, which reduces oxidative stress and inflammation… CBD can also affect redox balance and inflammation by modulating mammalian transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, which affect cellular inflammatory responses.”
Other research has shown the potential of CBD for inflammation with such conditions as:
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Liver disease
- Allergic asthma
To date, we’ve seen a treasure-trove of research on CBD for inflammation, of various types. The potential for using this compound for therapeutic use is well known, and continues to grow. Onwards and upwards friends!