How Does CBD Reduce Inflammation? Mystery Fully Explained

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Research focusing on CBD and its medical applications has expanded and for a good reason too. CBD is an all-natural anti-inflammatory agent that is now considered to be on the same level as other competitors in this arena. Even so, many are still baffled by the question, how does CBD reduce inflammation?

CBD is making headlines as a medicinal molecule and also as a nutritional supplement. It could have some very intriguing health benefits due to its antioxidant, anticonvulsant, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.

Let’s take a look at the mystery of how CBD reduces inflammation and the mechanisms involved.

How Does CBD Reduce Inflammation?

The human body contains an intriguing regulatory system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS).

The ECS helps to control functions like sleep, pain response and immune functioning.

It produces cannabinoids, which are called endocannabinoids.

These substances bind to specific receptors in the system to trigger certain actions.

It is interesting to know that cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant can also bind to the receptor sites of the endocannabinoids.

In this way, the body can receive and translate signals from these cannabinoids, which is how they achieve their medicinal effects. [1]

CBD does not directly bind to the receptors of the ECS.

However, it does influence the system indirectly.

Cannabidiol works by either enhancing or limiting the action through which other substances bind to the receptors in the ECS.

It is known to affect an endocannabinoid called anandamide.

CBD essentially prevents the body from absorbing anandamide, which reduces the amount of pain someone feels.

Anandamide also plays a role in immune functioning and inflammation. [2][3][4]

Researchers have found that CBD can activate glycine receptors that play an important role in reducing chronic inflammatory pain. [5]

CBD may boost the effects of adenosine to reduce inflammation. Adenosine is a chemical that is already present in the human body.

It has been recognized for its importance in the immune system and for the role it plays in inflammation. It mainly operates by exerting its anti-inflammatory effects. [6]

All of these mechanisms are what enable CBD to be effective against inflammation, and you should now have a basic picture of how CBD can reduce inflammation.

What is Inflammation?

The term “inflammation” may seem a bit vague to some people. Let’s clear up some of the confusion by looking at what inflammation is exactly.

Inflammation is a normal part of the immune response of our bodies. It is caused by various reactions that are triggered by the response of the immune system to things like injury or infection.

Most people hear the word “inflammation” and directly think it’s a bad thing.

Inflammation is a vital physiological process, and we need it to be able to survive.

Nevertheless, too much inflammation that persists for longer than it is necessary can be harmful. It can contribute to chronic diseases like arthritis and cancer.

Acute inflammation starts rapidly, and it can become very bad in a short period of time.

The signs and symptoms of acute inflammation usually only last for a few days and may include redness, swelling and pain.

In contrast, chronic inflammation can last for months or even years.

This type of inflammation can be caused by pathogens or viruses in addition to overactive immune responses.

With autoimmune diseases, for instance, the body perceives healthy tissues as a threat to your health, and as a result, it could start attacking your own body.

Rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and Crohn’s disease among others are all types of autoimmune diseases.

Chronic inflammation needs to get managed. Ultimately, high or continuing inflammation can damage your body and even your DNA, which can cause serious problems. [8]

Inflammation is a contributing factor to the pain and discomfort that is present in various health conditions.

CBD has a therapeutic role in both acute and chronic inflammation.

How Can CBD Help With Inflammation?

This popular cannabinoid seems more and more promising in the field of drug development for inflammatory conditions.

CBD can combat inflammation and the oxidative stress that is associated with it in several ways. [10]

A particularly interesting application of the endocannabinoid system is the effect it has on the immune system.

Through the ECS, CBD plays a role in regulating the immune system and halting inflammation.

It acts as a tool to regulate the immune system. In other words, it can bring back balance to an over-active or under-active immune system.

Moreover, CBD can reduce neuroinflammation that plays a central role in various conditions that involve the nervous system. [11]

Recently, it has been discovered that inflammation and free radical damage can play a role in psychological problems like depression.

Seeing as CBD is such a potent anti-inflammatory agent, it could help people who are dealing with the symptoms of depression. [12][13]

Pain is one of those things that goes along with inflammation in many cases.

Scientists have explored how CBD is linked to the reduction of pain that comes from inflammation.

Promising results have shown that CBD can have a huge impact on both inflammation and pain response. [15]

Research on CBD for Inflammation Response

Various researchers have provided us with surprising results regarding the effects of CBD.

Immune Suppression

As mentioned, the ECS can help to keep the immune system under control. The exact way in which this is possible is still open for discussion.

However, what we do know is that CBD can suppress the actions of macrophages and other cells that play vital roles in the immune response and inflammation.

It has also been established that cannabinoids like CBD can significantly reduce inflammatory responses in people who struggle with debilitating auto-immune diseases. [17]

Auto-Immune Diseases

Since the end of World War 2, cases of autoimmune diseases have been increasing dramatically.

It is a known fact that these types of conditions affect women more commonly than men.

In the world of conventional medicine, an ideology exists that the immune system can’t be reset or brought back to normal after the autoimmune “switch” is on.

Nevertheless, alternative health professionals strongly believe that autoimmune conditions can be reversed or improved.

Cannabidiol has the potential to help mediate the exaggerated immune responses that go hand-in-hand with autoimmune diseases.

It can be an effective alternative treatment for health problems like ulcerative colitis, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Chron’s disease, fibromyalgia and others. [18]

Acne

Acne is a difficult-to-deal-with skin condition that can be caused by different factors including genetics, the overproduction of oil from the skin glands, bacteria and underlying inflammation.

It’s not life-threatening, but it can decrease your life quality. Moreover, the scars that are left over can be a cosmetic problem. [19]

Recent scientific studies have indicated that CBD can help in the treatment of acne because it can help to reduce excessive oil production in the skin and also due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

The studies showed how CBD was able to inhibit certain actions within the endocannabinoid system as well as the effects of other chemicals that play a role in inflammation like steroid hormones. [20]

Intestinal Inflammation

The phrase “inflammatory bowel disease” refers to a group of disorders that affect the intestinal tract.

The prolonged inflammation caused by these conditions can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive tract.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is painful, and people who suffer from it may find it difficult to complete their everyday activities due to the discomfort.

The causes of IBD are not well understood. However, genetics and the immune system have been connected to these types of disorders.

Studies have found that CBD can help with intestinal inflammation. Animal studies have indicated that CBD could be considered as a future strategy in the treatment of IBD. [22]

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by the inflammation as well as the breakdown and the eventual loss of joint cartilage.

It especially affects the hips, hands, lower back and knees. The symptoms of this degenerative disease progress slowly, and they can lead to severe disability. [23]

The ECS is considered to be involved in modulating the pain caused by osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

RA or rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes joints to swell.

The prolonged inflammation that goes along with RA can lead to stiffness, pain, permanent joint damage, deformity and eventual loss of function.

People who suffer from this condition could also experience weight loss, fatigue and low-grade fever.

RA tends to affect pairs of joints. For example, it affects both hands or both feet etc. [25]

Scientists are looking into CBD as a promising substance that could help treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Topical applications of CBD are also being researched for relieving the pain and inflammation of RA. [26][27]

Neuroinflammation

It has been established that the immune system, as well as the inflammatory process, is closely linked to various neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.

These include Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis, among others.

It has also been suggested that substances involved in the inflammatory response could play a role in the development of depression and dementia. [28]

Cannabidiol may limit inflammation in the nervous system.

This is good news for those who experience pain or insomnia due to their condition.

Animal studies and test tube studies have also indicated that CBD could decrease inflammation and help to prevent much of the neurodegeneration that’s associated with Alzheimer’s disease. [29]

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is a chronic condition that involves immeasurable amounts of pain. It usually results from inflammation caused by injury, infection or disease.

CBD can help to control neuropathic pain through its effect on the endocannabinoid system. [31][32]

Heart Disease

Chronic inflammation plays a pivotal part in heart disease as it contributes to the development of a phenomenon known as atherosclerosis.

This is the build-up of fatty plaques inside the arteries.

These plaques that are rich in cholesterol are perceived as foreign by the body, and consequently, an inflammatory response is started.

Cells from the immune system rush in to cover the plaque.

The danger comes in when the plaque ruptures and the contents start mixing with blood. As a result, a clot is formed that can block blood flow, and a heart attack or stroke may ensue.

Studies have pointed to the fact that CBD could possibly reduce the inflammation that is associated with heart disease. [34]

Traditional Inflammation Treatments & Their Side Effects

People who suffer from inflammatory conditions are typically told that they need to use pharmaceutical medications to get better.

Currently, the medications that are used to battle inflammation include: [35]

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS)
  • Corticosteroids
  • Creams and ointments for inflammation

The problem with these types of medications is that they can have undesirable side-effects.

They can also be extremely expensive.

Moreover, the medications that are currently being prescribed for autoimmune diseases are geared towards “turning off” the immune system.

By using these medications, you are essentially hitting “snooze” on an alarm that’s going off for a specific reason.

The real aim should be to treat the root cause of the issue or to bring the immune system back into balance.

Inflammatory diseases are on the rise, and more and more people are seeking alternative treatments for treating their symptoms.

CBD oil provides the ultimate alternative to treating inflammatory conditions and chronic pain. It’s considered to be safe and very well tolerated, and there’s no risk for addiction. [36]

Dosage

CBD oil comes in different forms like edibles, liquids and capsules.

For easy use, you may choose a capsule that already contains the correct dosage.

You could also add oil to food, drinks or water.

Before you can determine the ideal CBD dosage for reducing your inflammation, you need to find the right product.

Make sure that you buy your CBD oil from a trusted provider.

You will also need to take a few things into account to know how much you need to use.

For instance, people who have used similar products in the past may need larger dosages.

Also, people who weigh more often also have a higher tolerance for CBD products.

Your best bet is, to begin with, a small dose to see how your body reacts. You can adjust your dosage from there to find one that suits you best.

As a topical remedy, CBD oil can even be added to your favourite lotion.

You can apply the mix directly to your skin if you have stiff or painful joints.

Some brands also manufacture salves that are readymade containing CBD oil.

What Effects Can a Someone Expect Immediately Upon Taking CBD?

CBD is entirely different from THC, which is the mind-altering chemical found in marijuana. It may come from the cannabis plant, but it has no intoxicating effects.

Instead, CBD influences how your body uses its own endocannabinoids. The effect that you can expect from CBD will be a lot less dramatic than what you would experience with THC.

Also, like almost any kind of nutritional supplement, CBD oil might take some time to do its work.

Especially as far as inflammation is concerned. You may not feel any immediate effects, but at least you don’t have to be afraid of feeling high.

What Can You Expect in the Long Run?

Some real-life cases of the effects of CBD are starting to surface.

People claim to notice effects like improved sleep after week one.

Others say that it could take around two weeks or a month before you’ll start noticing any significant changes in your health.

The key is to be patient when you decide to start taking CBD oil.

You should also monitor the effects continuously. If you’ve been taking it for a long period with no results, you might need to increase the dosage.

Don’t give up too soon.

Try CBD for Inflammation!

This super cannabinoid has been receiving a lot of in-depth attention from the scientific world.

CBD research will keep on expanding, and much more will certainly still be discovered about its efficacy for numerous health issues.

CBD has a high potential for optimizing the immune system and restoring its balance.

Now that you’ve learned more about the mystery of how CDB goes about fighting inflammation, why not try it?

Don’t you think it’s worth a shot?

References:

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  2. Rosenberg, E. C., Tsien, R. W., Whalley, B. J., & Devinsky, O. (2015). Cannabinoids and epilepsy. Neurotherapeutics, 12(4), 747-768.
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