CBD is so versatile in what it can help alleviate in your body – stress, anxiety, it can help with eating disorders, depression, seizures, and Autism among other conditions, but one area that we’ve been getting questions about is the immune system – particularly since the pandemic started. So this month, we’re talking about how CBD can affect your immune system and how it can help you rebuild your immune system, specifically.
Before we dive into the main topic, though, let’s talk a little about what your immune system is, what it does, and where it’s located in your body. This is a very simple explanation to establish a base of knowledge because the immune system is a complex system of organs, cells, and systems throughout your body. The immune system defends against infection and keeps a record of every germ or microbe it has ever defeated so it can recognize and defeat it again quickly if it comes back into your system. Sometimes, your body has to fight infections over and over again, like the cold and flu, because there are different strains because it has mutated. When a virus mutates and it creates a new strain, it’s technically not the same germ that your body previously fought, so it’s like starting all over again and your immune system then records the new microbe from the strain. Catching a cold or flu from one virus doesn’t give you immunity against the other strains, unfortunately.
The main parts of the immune system are your white blood cells, antibodies, the lymphatic system, the complement system, the spleen, the thymus, and bone marrow. These systems and organs actively fight infections, but they’re not located in a singular place – they’re located throughout your body because your immune system also has other defenses against germs, like: the lungs, digestive tract, and bodily fluids. Your lungs create mucus (phlegm), which traps foreign particles and such and allows you to cough it up and get rid of it. Your digestive tract has a lining that contains antibodies as well as stomach acid, which can kill most germs and microbes. Your bodily fluids, like skin oil, saliva, and tears) contain antibacterial enzymes that contribute to reducing infection.
So now that we know a bit more about your immune system, let’s talk about what happens when you introduce CBD into your system, As always, because we’re at the beginning stages of learning about the effects of cannabis on the body, there are no long-term studies at the time of this writing, but this is what we know right now.
CBD is a great anti-inflammatory agent. What this means is that when you experience an illness or injury, your immune system starts an inflammatory response. This is why you get feelings of pain, swelling, and even a fever. Taking CBD when you experience an inflammatory response sends in agents to help reduce the pain, swelling, etc. Think of it as sending in backup to help your body fight whatever is going on. When you take CBD regularly, you help your body to maintain a healthy inflammatory response. The CBD interacts with your brain and interferes with the CB1 & CB2 receptors, which helps to control inflammation more quickly. You can always take more when you have pain or an injury, but if you’re taking it regularly, you’re making sure that your body has enough help to deal with what comes along unexpectedly.
Your body has a variety of cells and some cells, like T cells, B calls and Natural Killer cells prevent diseases from progressing. If your immune system is weak, you aren’t as able to fight off an infection as well as someone with a healthier immune system. What is a Natural Killer cell (or NK cell), you’re wondering? It’s a type of white blood cell that can kill tumor cells or cells infected with a virus1.
You’ve probably heard this before – part of your immune system lives in your gut. Well, it’s true. There are several microbes in your gastrointestinal tract (GI Tract) that control the majority of immune functions. CBD can help maintain the gut. Taking CBD regularly helps maintain GI tract flora levels and keeps immune functions working. It also helps to increase the volume of microorganisms in your intestines. Your endocannabinoid system also lives partially in the gut and controls emotions, motility, mood, and immunity, so taking CBD helps keep things stable and happy.
We’ve talked previously about anxiety and CBD and as we all know, stress goes hand-in-hand with anxiety. When our body is stressed or anxious, this also affects our immune system and our ability to fight infections. We all know the routine, everyone tells us to control our stress, and while we know it’s important, it can be a challenge. When we take CBD, it works on the CB1 cells and releases more serotonin in our brain. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood and feelings of well-being and it impacts our entire body. It also allows brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with each other. When we have enough serotonin in our system, we feel level, stable, and things flow better. When we’re feeling level and things are flowing, we’re generally less stressed and our immune system is stronger.
So what’s the bottom line? Right now, everything indicates that CBD helps to strengthen the immune system, bringing it into balance and helping you to fight whatever may come your way. While you can take CBD when an injury or illness happens, there seems to be plenty of evidence showing that taking it regularly to get your system into good working order and then adding as needed based on the situation is the best way to ensure you’re strong before the injury or illness happens.
As always, let us know if you have questions and we will do our best to answer. We wish you good health, as always.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.