If a pandemic doesn’t make you ponder deeply over your health, we don’t know what will.
We’re living in a time when maintaining a strong immunity is essential for survival. With all the trial and error around Coronavirus, medical professionals are urging people to adopt a healthier lifestyle that can strengthen their immunity.
While we find ourselves revisiting the ancient home remedies, there is one not-so-recent compound that might just help improve the functioning of our immune system. In this article we look at 4 different ways in which CBD (a chemical compound present in the cannabis plant that does not have intoxicating effects) might help boost our immunity and strengthen our immune system.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article is a thought experiment collated from various studies and does not claim that CBD can help cure Coronavirus. The points presented in this article are just that, points or suggestions on how users can include CBD in their everyday life for a healthier body.
A Brief of the Immune System
The immune system is a vast network of cells, organs, and tissues that protects an organism from diseases. Every minute of the day, we are exposed to a ceaseless stream of bacteria, viruses, infections, and diseases—all of which the immune system protects us from.
The immune system is spread throughout the body and involves many types of cells, organs, tissues, and proteins. This system is essential for our survival. Without an immune system, our bodies would be open to attack from viruses, bacteria, parasites etc. It is our immune system that keeps us healthy as we struggle to exist in the middle of this sea of pathogens.
Most crucially, the immune system can distinguish our tissue from foreign tissue. On identifying a foreign tissue, for example, a virus, bacteria, or pathogens, the immune system issues an immune response that helps the body tackle the foreign bacteria.
In addition, the immune system is responsible for identifying and eliminating cells that aren’t working properly.
The Immune System and the Endocannabinoid System
From recent studies, we know that the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) works to establish homeostasis in the body. That is to say, it is responsible for maintaining a balance between various systems in the body.
The ECS works with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the body. Both these receptors can be found in large numbers in our immune system. Therefore, the ECS and the immune system interact with each other during a number of physiological processes.
How does CBD affect the Immune System?
The ability of CBD to boost immunity lies in its anti-inflammatory properties. An increasing number of studies find that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and can function as an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator.
- CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the immune system’s inflammatory response.
- It promotes the death of the cells that are no longer working.
- CBD can prevent rapid cellular growth.
- CBD can also suppress i.e. reduce the production of chemokines—a group of chemicals that lead immune cells to the infection site to attack and destroy invading microbes.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) can also suppress the production and function of T-cells thus suppressing the immune system’s ability to remember foreign invaders.
This list talks about the things that CBD inhibits. It reads impressive but looks like a list of things a healthy body would want to avoid. Ideally, you do not want to inhibit your body’s inflammatory response. You do not want to promote unnecessary cell death. And you absolutely do not want to stop the growth of your healthy cell. It is also pretty likely that you don’t want to inhibit the proteins that signal your immune system and lead it to where the foreign bacteria is. And you definitely do not want to stop your body’s ability to destroy antigens and remember foreign invaders.
So, is CBD really good for Immunity?
When we talk about using CBD to boost immunity, it is for bodies that have a weakened immune system or struggle with autoimmune diseases or a hyperactive immune system.
An autoimmune disease is when your immune system does not work properly. Instead of attacking foreign microbe and bacteria, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissues, or organs.
Some examples of autoimmune diseases include type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. Asthma, eczema, hay fever, and severe food allergy are examples of a hyperactive immune system.
Inflammation contributes to many of these diseases. Because CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as an immunosuppressant, it can reduce inflammation and suppress the hyperactivity of the immune system.
How can CBD help in boosting the immune system?
Balances a Hyperactive Immune System
CBD contributes to the balancing of the immune system by suppressing its hyperactivity. This particularly helps people with problems such as asthma, cold, severe food allergies, eczema etc. CBD reduces the hyperactivity of the immune system in these cases thus helping in providing relief.
Supporting a healthy inflammatory response
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, CBD can suppress the inflammatory response of the immune system in case of autoimmune diseases and help keep the body in balance.
Maintaining a healthy gut microbiota
The gut is one of the most important areas of our body. A large proportion of the immune system is located in the GI tract. Excessive inflammation in the gut can lead to intestinal permeability (i.e. leaky gut), an imbalance in the gut microbial community, and an impaired intestinal immune response.
CBD supports a healthy intestinal inflammatory response and thus keeps the overall gut health in check.
Calming effect during everyday stress
CBD is a relaxant primarily being used to manage stress and anxiety. Stress is a major contributor to the improper functioning of the immune system. The stress-relieving properties of CBD help regulate day to day and chronic stress and thus improve the functioning of the immune system.
How to use CBD to strengthen Immunity?
In addition to the properties discussed above, CBD can also help in maintaining an overall healthy immune system. The immune system is the healthiest when supported by healthy living strategies.
These include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, getting adequate sleep, trying to minimize stress, etc.
The use of CBD as a wellness supplement can provide very subtle effects over an extended period of time. CBD is relaxant and thus induces a sense of calm in the body. This helps in reducing stress which is essential to maintaining a healthy immune system.
CBD also supports healthy muscle recovery and reduces inflammation in the body. Thus, the regular use of CBD enhances the process and effects of exercise on our body.
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