Cannabidiol, or CBD, comes from the cannabis plant, though unlike its cousin THC, it does not have psychoactive effects. Instead, CBD appears to have an extensive list of medicinal benefits. As research on CBD continues, scientists are understanding more and more about it. This will help show how it can be used properly therapeutically.
Most people know CBD for its potential to treat things like anxiety, pain, and sleep issues. However, there’s a lot more where that came from. CBD may also have a powerful impact on the human immune system.
How CBD Affects The Immune System
The human body has something called the endocannabinoid system (1)(ECS), which was only confirmed by scientists in the 1990s. The ECS plays a crucial role in many functions of the body. While there is still much to be discovered about the ECS, here is what is known so far.
The ECS helps maintain homeostasis in the body, balancing its different systems so that they all work properly. The body produces endocannabinoid to assist and modulate the function of our cells, which includes immune system cells. Specifically, the known receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2, are expressed around the central nervous system and the immune system.
CBD is what is known as a cannabinoid, a natural chemical found in the cannabis plant. It interacts with the ECS in ways that impact pain sensation, mood, memory, emotions, appetite, and lots of other of the body’s physiological processes. Two of the most substantial ways CBD seems to affect the body is with its immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory behavior.
Right now, more is understood about CBD as an anti-inflammatory(2). Its role in immunosuppression(3) is less clear. Potentially, CBD could decrease the inflammatory responses of the immune system, promote programmed cell death known as apoptosis, and prevent the rapid growth of cells.
CBD also seems to suppress cytokine, chemokine, and T-cell function, all of which are a big part of immunodefense to fight off illnesses.
Using CBD To Treat Autoimmune Diseases
Most healthy people don’t need to reduce inflammation, increase cell death, prevent the rapid growth of cells, or suppress other cell functions. However, in people with autoimmune diseases, these functions of CBD would greatly help to treat their symptoms and even improve their condition and quality of life.
When a person has an autoimmune disorder, their immune system doesn’t work as it should. It often attacks healthy tissues, cells, and organs, causing their bodies not to function properly or shut down entirely. There are currently 80 known autoimmune diseases(4), all of which do not have cures or adequate treatment options.
By acting as an immunosuppressant, CBD can potentially stop or modulate the unwanted behaviors of autoimmune diseases. For instance, when an autoimmune disease causes an overactive immune system, CBD could help to treat that condition by stopping the immune system from attacking itself.
Mounting evidence(5) shows CBD as an effective, natural, and safe treatment option for individuals who suffer from autoimmune diseases. Much more research is needed to fully understand how CBD can be used to treat autoimmune disorders, but what is known up to this point makes scientists feel hopeful.
FDA Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or prior to using any CBD products.