These days, it seems as if everyone is trying CBD. As a side note, that’s not too far from the truth, with a survey from months ago indicating that 1 in 7 Americans have actually tried CBD – a number that surely only increased in that time. Quite simply, CBD is popular because many people have found that it can help them address quite a few physical and emotional issues.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and everyone’s constant desire to feel better, a very common question is being asked: Can CBD improve your immune system?
To be as clear as possible, to date, there is no FDA-approved CBD medication that has shown any ability to improve your immune system. However, some individual stories and a limited amount of scientific research demonstrate that CBD does have the potential to be helpful in keeping your immune system functioning at tip-top shape. It also appears possible that CBD can be helpful in other areas that impact the immune system, like reducing your anxiety and helping you manage your stress.
It is important to understand that CBD is not actually a drug in the traditional sense. It works by impacting the functioning of your body’s Endocannabinoid System.
Everyone has an Endocannabinoid System, which contains a few component parts:
Under normal circumstances, your body’s cannabinoids will bond with cannabinoids receptors. This has a variety of impacts on numerous systems within your body, altering your sensations of pain, appetite, stress, fatigue and more.
CBD works by altering the amount of time your body’s own cannabinoids bind with their receptors. Thanks to CBD, your cannabinoids bind with these receptors for a longer period of time. This, in turn, impacts numerous systems and sensations in your body.
Much of the information we have about CBD has come out in the past couple of years, and a slew of research is still ongoing. As a result, while we know more today than we ever have about how CBD impacts your body, there is still quite a bit we do not know.
According to a 2017 book on the subject, the information currently available is far too limited to draw any firm conclusions on whether or not CBD or cannabis has any direct impact on anyone’s immune system, although some extremely limited information may tie regular cannabis exposure to anti-inflammatory effects. This aligns with other research that we will be discussing more in-depth shortly.
Indeed, generally speaking, this is about the extent of currently available research available on CBD and the immune system. However, like everything else when it comes to CBD and your body, it’s not that simple. While there is a real paucity of studies that discuss the impact CBD can directly have on your immune system, there is a wide array of studies that shows how CBD can reduce your body’s inflammation, and inflammation is a key system and cause of many problems related to your body’s immune system.
Inflammation is a key component of your body’s immune system. When there is an injury, trauma or illness, impacted parts of your body become inflamed. This can happen for many reasons, including the fact that your injured cells will release a variety of chemicals. In turn, your body will rush components to these cells that are designed to help them recover. All of this creates inflammation.
Inflammation is believed to be tied to a variety of injuries and illnesses. Indeed, new research goes as far as to indicate that depression may be tied to inflammation of the brain. By controlling this inflammation, we can control the symptoms of depression.
While additional research is still needed on the subject, a variety of stories have shown that CBD has anti-inflammatory impacts, helping your body suppress inflammation. This happens because it appears that CBD can limit your body’s release of cytokines, which are types of proteins that your body releases that can cause inflammation.
Numerous studies have found that CBD can control inflammation, including inflammation that occurs as a result of oxidative stress on your cells. This applies to numerous other types of inflammation. A 2013 study in rats with multiple sclerosis found that CBD could help mediate the harmful effects of inflammation that occurred as a result of multiple sclerosis in mice, and a 2013 review found that inflammatory bowel disease could potentially be prevented by CBD. Another study tested rats with arthritis and found that topically administered CBD helped reduce inflammation and joint pain while increasing mobility.
All of this is to say that CBD may be able to reduce inflammation, thus potentially boosting the functioning of your immune system.
Inflammation isn’t the only way that CBD may be helpful at addressing one of the problem areas of your body when it comes to your immune system. There also appears to be some evidence that CBD can help you address other secondary impacts on your immune system. For example, it appears that CBD can help you control stress, anxiety and feel more relaxed.
Again, more research is needed, but many people have found that they have been able to reduce their stress and anxiety levels as a result of CBD use.
This belief is backed up by some research. One study found that CBD and THC can have the effect of limiting your body’s flight or fight response, a critical component of any stress or anxiety-provoking experience. Some studies have also found that CBD can reduce anxiety levels. One review found that CBD has the potential to be used in formal treatment for anxiety. Other studies have also found that CBD has the potential to be used in the treatment of many types of anxiety, including as a treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, social anxiety and performance anxiety.
This is important for the immune system because both stress and anxiety have been directly tied to a worse functioning immune system, increased rates of illness and longer recovery times when someone is sick. As such, it follows that a reduction in stress and anxiety can boost the function of your immune system.
To be sure, the research is still ongoing, and it is far too early to draw any firm conclusions about CBD and its ability to make any firm scientific conclusions about CBD and its ability to impact your immune system. However, initial research on some of the secondary impacts on the human immune system has been positive. Hopefully, time will reveal additional positive results and allow people to definitively consume CBD in order to boost the functioning of their immune system.