CBD is even showing promising results as a way to help people fight cancer as well as HIV and AIDS.
While CBD might seem like a relatively new discovery because of its recent popularity, people have actually been using cannabis for centuries to help alleviate all kinds of immune disorders and conditions, as well as strengthening their overall immune systems.
The latest science backs up traditional wisdom, and hundreds of studies in the last decade show numerous benefits of taking CBD. While CBD helps people in all manner of ways, the way it interacts with our immune systems is particularly promising.
The benefits of CBD on our immunity are wide-ranging and diverse. Every month a new study appears showing exciting new ways CBD can help us get and stay healthy. But first, let’s remind ourselves exactly what our immune system does.
What is the immune system
The air around us is full of potential dangers. As we move through the world, pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and parasites land on our skin and enter our bodies through the mouth, nose, and eyes. While some are harmless, some pathogens make us sick and can even kill us.
This is where our body’s immune system comes in. The human immune system is made up of cells, organs, proteins, and tissues that are spread throughout the body. It’s the role of the immune system to detect damaged and dead cells, as well as foreign tissues and pathogens.
Once the immune system detects an invader, it mounts an immune response. Immune responses are made up of cytokine substances and white blood cells (WBC), also called leukocytes. The two types of WBC are phagocytes, which attack pathogens and break them down, and lymphocytes, which remember and recognize harmful pathogens.
Immune system disorders
Our immune system is incredibly complex. This complexity helps defend our bodies from a whole range of bacteria, viruses, and more. On the other hand, our finely-tuned immune systems sometimes go wrong in harmful and even life-threatening ways.
Immunodeficiency disorders happen when there’s a partial or full impairment of our immune systems, making them unable to work correctly. Primary immunodeficiencies are caused by a person’s genetics, while secondary immunodeficiencies are linked to the environment.
There are plenty of environmental factors that can affect a person’s immune system. Age and weight affect our overall health, as does exercise, diet, and exposure to alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful substances.
Treatments for immunodeficiency disorders range from courses of antibiotics and antivirals to dietary changes and even surgery. With hundreds of known immunodeficiencies, it can sometimes take time and trial-and-error to find a treatment that works. Treating immunodeficiency disorders with CBD is a growing area of research which we cover in more detail later.
An autoimmune disease is a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks your body. Instead of targeting foreign invader cells, your immune system mistakenly targets your own healthy cells. Common autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, epilepsy, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS).
With over eighty known autoimmune diseases, there are numerous different treatments, including steroids and blood transfusions. CBD shows more and more promise of being an effective treatment for multiple autoimmune diseases.
Endocannabinoid system and immune system
One of the most important systems in our bodies is the endocannabinoid system. It’s made up of cells, receptors, and neurotransmitters in our brains, limbic systems, immune systems, and major organs. The endocannabinoid system is involved in regulating our emotional state, mood, and behavior, as well as things like smell and memory.
The human endocannabinoid system also plays a key role in our immunity. One recent study found that the endocannabinoid system is involved in immune regulation and protecting the brain (called neuroprotection) as we age, and that CBD could potentially treat certain inflammatory diseases.
Factors that affect the immune system
The body’s immune system is influenced by our genetic makeup, our past, and our daily decisions. For example, genetic factors contribute to the body’s ability to fight off diseases. In 2013, researchers discovered nearly 90 gene variants associated with regulating the production of immune cells.
Environmental factors also play key roles in our immune system’s ability to keep us healthy. Some things are difficult or even impossible for us to control, like gender, age, and the levels of air pollution where we live. Other factors, however, are well within our ability to control, at least a little.
Physical exercise is inexorably linked with immunity, as is diet, personal hygiene, the quality and quantity of your sleep, and stress levels. Activities like regularly smoking tobacco, drinking large amounts of alcohol, and eating lots of fatty, sugary foods are known to harm our immune systems.
Getting plenty of exercise, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, eating a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, and getting plenty of sleep have all been linked through numerous studies to healthier, more durable immune systems more capable at warding off infections and diseases.
CBD and the immune system
People have been using the cannabis plant for millennia. Historical uses include processing hemp to make rope, sails, and clothing, as well as drinking cannabis-infused tea for pain relief during childbirth. Modern science helps us understand the huge range of therapeutic benefits and effects from the phytocannabinoids found in Cannabis sativa, especially cannabidiol (CBD).
One study from an Italian university found that CBD and the cannabinoid system ‘significantly affect almost every component of the immune response.’ CBD’s positive effects on the cytokine network give scientists hope that it will become an influential treatment for cancer, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and brain injuries.
One of the areas of our immune system where CBD shows the most promise is in treating certain autoimmune conditions. Because CBD is an immunomodulator, it helps regulate the body’s immune responses. Studies show that the way CBD triggers the CB2 receptor can help an over-vigilant, as well as a deficient immune system and thus restore homeostasis, i.e., a balanced state.
CBD boosts the immune system by being a powerful antioxidant. This means it helps protect our cells against harmful free radicals. Free radicals are known to play a role in heart disease and cancer and can be exacerbated by eating process food, smoking cigarettes, and exposure to radiation.
CBD is also known to have neuroprotective properties. As a neuroprotectant, CBD helps reduce damage to the brain and nervous systems and encourage the growth and development of new neurons. Research into the potential benefits of phytocannabinoids has gained more and more traction in the last few years.
Numerous studies have been done on treating a variety of physiological disorders influenced by the endocannabinoid system, including malignant brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and MS. CBD has also shown tremendous promise in treating certain types of epilepsy, including two particularly harsh childhood seizure disorders, Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
CBD and HIV/Aids
HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, specifically attacks and destroys the immune system’s T cells. If left untreated, HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a condition where the immune system is so compromised that many diseases and infections become life-threatening.
While scientists continue to make progress every year, there is still no effective cure for HIV. Once a person gets HIV, the focus of treatment is on trying to control the virus and prevent it from progressing to AIDS.
Antiretroviral therapy is the most common and effective way to stop HIV from progressing to AIDS. However, antiretroviral therapy also brings with it some pretty considerable side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are often accompanied by weight loss and a loss of appetite. Heart disease, weakened bones, muscle breakdown, and neuropathic pain are also side effects of antiretroviral therapy.
CBD is particularly beneficial at helping HIV-positive patients manage these more adverse side effects of their antiretroviral treatment. Studies into cannabis as a treatment for HIV patients show it reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite, and reduces nausea, anxiety, and depression.
CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it beneficial for HIV-positive patients undergoing antiretroviral therapy. Studies show that oral cannabinoids can help reduce the inflammation accompanying the therapy.
More and more studies are published every year, showing CBD’s potential benefits for people living with HIV and AIDS. Nearly every state in the United States has approved medical cannabis products for the treatment of HIV and AIDS, and it’s become one of the most promising areas for alleviating the adverse side effects of antiretroviral therapy.
CBD and cancer
CBD and its ability to help people living with cancer is another fast-growing area of research. Studies have been done into CBD’s effectiveness at stopping the growth and spread of cancerous tumors, as well as helping reduce the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
While research into CBD’s benefits for cancer patients is relatively new, there are already plenty of promising studies. Self-administering CBD, in one case, helped enhance the body’s immune response to lung cancer.
Another study using animals showed CBD helps fight cancer by inducing cancer cell death, inhibiting tumor growth, decreasing cancer cell migration, and enhancing the immune system’s anticancer activity.
One of the most promising areas of research is into CBD’s therapeutic benefits for people living with cancer. CBD and other cannabis-based treatments are often used as a part of palliative care to alleviate pain, relieve nausea, and stimulate appetite, all of which are common side effects of cancer treatments like radiation and chemotherapy.
While legislation varies from country to country, the scientific community is pretty unanimous when it comes to CBD and cancer. CBD has helped countless people live better lives with cancer and improve their cancer treatments, and there are more and more signs that CBD may actually help combat the condition.
How to take CBD for immunity
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle comes down to practicing healthy routines. Once you build an exercise regime or a new diet plan, it becomes easier to incorporate into your daily life. It’s the same with CBD.
Taking CBD is a great way to help your body strengthen and boost its immune system. CBD oil, also called CBD tincture or CBD extract, is a great, convenient, and easy way to take CBD. By dropping individual drops of cannabidiol mixed with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil, coconut oil or almond oil also helps regulate dosage.
When it comes to choosing the strength of CBD oil for improving your immunity, the best thing to do is start low and slow, then increase the dosage over a period of weeks. Higher doses don’t necessarily mean better effects as everybody’s bodies and immune systems are different.
Pros and cons of CBD for immunity
For most people, taking CBD for immunity is an easy, straightforward, and effective way of boosting your body’s ability to fight off infections. It can also help people live better lives while fighting some of the world’s toughest diseases and conditions.
For the vast majority of people, CBD is well-tolerated. However, CBD can cause side effects, including dry mouth, diarrhea, reduced appetite, and fatigue. CBD can also interact with certain medications like blood thinners, and it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re interested in incorporating CBD into your medication plan.
For most people, taking CBD is a great way to strengthen the body’s immune system using a natural product. Due to the fact that the CBD industry is relatively new and unregulated, it’s important to always check the ingredients and company info regarding the purity and dosage in their CBD products.
Hempika CBD and your immunity
From reducing inflammation to protecting your brain to getting a better night’s sleep, CBD can improve your immune system in a whole number of ways. Whether you’re trying to get and stay healthy or trying to improve your quality of life, CBD is one of the most promising immune-boosting compounds we know about.
Author: B. W.