You’ve probably heard the term “immune health” This term is used to describe products and habits that are believed to help your immune system stay strong and you stay healthy. One of the newer products believed to boost your immune system is CBD.
CBD is a fairly new product, however even with just a handful of studies on it, we have found that CBD and other cannabinoids can influence our immune system to help improve our overall health.
What is The Immune System?
Every day, we are exposed to many streams of diseases, infections, viruses, and bacteria — all of which would harm our body if it weren’t for our built-in immune system keeping these invaders at bay. The immune system is a network of cells, organs, and tissues that work together to destroy foreign cells or particles, this keeps us healthy and alive. The key players who make this happen are white blood cells.
There are two types of white blood cells: lymphocytes and phagocytes. Lymphocytes are more commonly known as B-cells and T-cells, and they destroy antigens. They also help your body remember these foreign substances so that your immune system can respond quickly and effectively when it detects another invasion. Phagocytes help absorb and neutralize the invaders, preventing them from spreading and causing more damage.
In addition to protecting your body against toxic invaders, your immune system is responsible for detecting and eliminating cells that aren’t functioning correctly. Once found, the immune system initiates apoptosis, or cell death, so that the defective cells do not multiply and cause harm.
The Endocannabinoid System and Immune System
The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is still fairly recent, and we are still learning how it works with and inside the body. So far we know that the ECS helps establish and maintain homeostasis, or balance between the various systems in the body. Your body produces endocannabinoids as needed to help modulate or regulate cell function, including the cells in your immune system.
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. A large amount of studies discuss CBD’s immunosuppressant effects.
Here is a breakdown of how CBD works as an immunosuppressant:
- CBD 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
- It 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.
CBD and Autoimmune Diseases
Because CBD works as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant, it may not be a necessary immune supplement choice for a healthy person. But for those who have an autoimmune disease, CBD can be an excellent choice for therapy or treatment.
What is an autoimmune disease?
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system does not work properly. Instead of attacking foreign microbes and antigens, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissue, and/or organs. These self-attacks can occur anywhere throughout the body, and they often lead to a weakening of proper body function. In some cases, autoimmune diseases can be life-threatening.
Scientists and doctors are aware of more than 80 autoimmune diseases. Some examples of autoimmune diseases include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more.
How CBD can help with autoimmune diseases
As mentioned earlier, studies have discovered that CBD is an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause or contribute to many autoimmune diseases, and taking CBD can help reduce that inflammation.
Not only that, but those who have hyperactive immune systems that end up attacking themselves can benefit from the immunosuppressant properties that CBD offers.
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