CBD and its effects on the Immune System
Can CBD Boost Your Immune System?
The endocannabinoid system is known to play an important role in regulating immunity and scientists consider it to be one of the “gatekeepers” of the immune system.1 The endocannabinoid system includes receptors known as cannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) as well as the endogenous cannabinoids anandamide (AEA) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and enzymes that influence the production of these endocannabinoids.
There’s scientific evidence that cells of the immune system express both CB1 and CB2, although CB2 concentrations are higher than CB1.2
How CBD Affects The Immune System
As we mentioned earlier, studies have found that CBD can influence your immune system. More specifically, studies have found that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and it functions as an immunosuppressant and immun
- CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the immune system’s inflammatory response. Inflammation is a vital response that isolates infected areas and prevents toxins from spreading.
- CBD can promote apoptosis, or cellular death.
- CBD can prevent proliferation, or rapid cellular growth.
- CBD can modulate or suppress the function and secretion of cytokines. Cytokines are large groups of proteins, secreted by specific cells in your immune system. Their function is to signal molecules that regulate your body’s immunity, inflammation, and white blood cell production.
- CBD can also suppress the production of chemokine, which is a group of cytokines that act as chemoattractants. They lead immune cells to an infection site so that the white blood cells can attack and destroy invading microbes.
- CBD can suppress T-cell production and function, ultimately suppressing the immune system’s ability to remember foreign invaders.
That’s a pretty impressive list, but for a healthy person, this list looks more like the things you want to avoid. Ideally, you don’t want to suppress your body’s inflammatory response, as toxins could then spread throughout the body. You don’t want to promote unnecessary cell death, nor do you want to stop healthy cell growth. You surely don’t want to suppress the proteins that signal your immune response and lead white blood cells to where they need to be. And you definitely don’t want to hinder your T-cell function and thus hinder your body’s ability to destroy antigens and remember those attackers.
Supporting a healthy inflammatory response
CBD is well known for its ability to maintain a healthy inflammatory response.* In animals, CBD supports a healthy inflammatory response in the lungs.6* It also improves lung function in mice exposed to a lung irritant.*
In one study, CBD enhanced markers of healthy lungs such as decreased total lung resistance and elastance, leukocyte migration into the lungs, myeloperoxidase activity in the lung tissue, and protein concentration as well as maintenance of healthy levels of cytokines (TNF and IL-6) and chemokines (MCP-1 and MIP-2).* This could potentially assist with respiratory function.*
We as a society still need to perform several more studies about the relationship between CBD and the immune system, but the initial findings look promising. With the information we do know, however, CBD has great potential for being an effective natural form of therapy for those who have autoimmune diseases.
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