*The information provided in the following blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a self-diagnosis tool, or as professional medical advice. You should always consult a medical professional before implementing changes in your routine, to best assure that certain treatments are right for your unique needs.

In our last post, we learned the basics about inflammation, such as: 

  • The differences between acute and chronic inflammation.
  • Why inflammation is not always negative.
  • Methods to naturally reduce potentially damaging inflammation.
  • Preventative measures to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation. 

No worries if you need a refresher before advancing into part two of this series! Check it out here.

Why is understanding inflammation so important?

Inflammation is a natural response to injury or infection. It is the body’s way of protecting itself from disease and repairing damaged tissue.

That said, inflammation is both an indicator and a resolver; it is sometimes at a high cost to the organism experiencing it. 

When inflammation is unchecked, it can destroy host tissue, expending vast amounts of energy and shutting down whole systems.

In cases involving autoimmune issues, inflammation can be triggered even without an infection. This is because the body continues sending inflammatory cells even when there is no outside danger, which can cause extreme damage to healthy tissue.

Unchecked chronic inflammation can cause the “bad” part of inflammation or the damaging effects of long-term chronic inflammation. Therefore, it is vital to take note of your symptoms and incorporate anti-inflammatory foods and actions into your lifestyle. 

The most common over-the-counter treatments for chronic inflammation are anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids. 

Some of the side effects of these treatments include gastrointestinal upset and stomach ulcers that can irritate and damage the lining of your intestines. 

Anti-inflammatory drugs can also cause liver damage in rare cases when taken for an extended period or in high doses.

Can Cannabidiol (CBD) reduce chronic inflammation?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a beneficial component of anti-inflammatory wellness routines. It can help to reduce and soothe acute inflammatory episodes and chronic inflammation. 

Numerous studies have proven CBD’s therapeutic potential in cardiovascular, neurogenerative, cancer, metabolic disease, and other conditions generally accompanied by stress and inflammation.  

The potential of CBD’s therapeutic actions has been found primarily in cases accompanied by oxidative stress* & inflammation. 

*Oxidative stress is when there is a disturbance in the balance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defenses. This can result in neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory diseases. 

The only way to understand CBD’s positive effects on our bodies is to understand the basics of CBD’s conductor: the Endocannabinoid System (ECS). 

What is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)?

The ECS has three important components:

  • Endocannabinoids – These are cannabinoids that are produced naturally in our bodies. These activate CB1 and CB2, which are cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body in our cells. 
  • Cannabinoid Receptors – Commonly referred to as CB1 and CB2 receptors, are found throughout our bodies, particularly in the lining of our cells. Endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids bind with these receptors, signaling the ECS to take reparative and restorative action.
  • Metabolic Enzymes – breakdown endocannabinoids once they’ve carried out their functions. Essentially: the clean-up crew. 

What does the ECS do?

The ECS maintains balance within every system in the body, despite changes outside of the system. This is called “homeostasis.”

The ECS fights to maintain homeostasis in all of the body’s systems. Therefore, it involves most processes in the human body, such as: 

  • appetite & digestion 
  • metabolism
  • chronic & acute pain
  • nerve function 
  • inflammation & immune responses
  • mood & behavior 
  • learning & memory
  • motor control
  • sleep
  • reproductive system
  • stress & mental health
  • skin health

It is a significant and challenging task to maintain homeostasis for the whole body. Yet, we all have an ECS fighting to keep us healthy 24/7 – lucky us!

The ECS specializes in using a wide range of potential strategies for reducing inflammation and maintaining homeostasis. 

The ECS regulates various critical bodily functions. For example, its presence throughout systems like the nervous and immune plays a vital role in reducing pain and inflammation.

Here are some ways that the ECS helps with reducing heightened levels of inflammation, masking pain, and calming the immune system: 

  1. The ECS reduces inflammation through direct action in the immune system. The ECS increases the concentrations of sensory blocking cytokines and reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are vital to the immune system processes because they are the conductor for all systems processes. 
  2. The ECS boosts overall levels of healing endocannabinoids within the damaged tissue. Endocannabinoids work alongside the immune system to influence both pain and degree of inflammation, calming the immune system and regulating the system’s various communications.
  3. The ECS works to block the detection of painful stimuli in the nervous system, reducing one’s ability to feel the full extent of pain from an injury.

The ECS is a highly complex system, with complex methods for helping damage in the body – this super system completes a plethora of other tasks that have little to do with inflammation or even pain. 

But, even superheroes need help! CBD feeds the ECS and helps it continue in its excellent work. 

CBD & the ECS:

Phytocannabinoids like CBD help stimulate the ECS and aids in its abilities and health. 

The body can use phytocannabinoids instead of endocannabinoids to interact with the CB-receptors, CB1, and CB2.

When ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin, CBD triggers these receptors to start their process of retaining homeostasis, monitoring the body, and increasing communication between systems. 

In some cases, the body cannot produce the number of endocannabinoids needed to maintain homeostasis or deal with a large influx of pro-inflammatory cytokines. 

In a situation like this, it is vital to supplement the body with phytocannabinoids – such as CBD – to help the body fight off what threatens it. 

Even if you don’t have a low endocannabinoid count, studies have shown that it is still in most individuals’ best interest to increase their phytocannabinoid intake. 

Providing your body with the necessary tools to keep inflammation, viruses, and infections at bay is one of the most important things you can promote in your daily wellness routine. 

It has even been suggested in recent studies that CBD and cannabinoids could be a plausible option for long-term inflammation caused by Covid-19, its variants, and viruses like it!

How do I add more CBD to my lifestyle?

Luckily, assisting the body in preparing for when to heal is as easy as soaking in a CBD bath a couple of times a week or adding a CBD tincture or edible into your supplement routine.

In addition, incorporating CBD into your morning smoothie, coffee, or tea can significantly benefit your ECS. As well as provide mood-boosting, anxiety & stress-reducing, and calming properties to help you thrive. 

For more information on boosting your cannabinoid intake and delish CBD-infused recipes, follow us on Instagram, or subscribe to our weekly email here.

 

Sources: 

  1. Barrie, Nicola, and Nicholas Manolios. “The endocannabinoid system in pain and inflammation: Its relevance to rheumatic disease.” European journal of rheumatology 4.3 (2017): 210.
  2. Di Marzo, Vincenzo. “Targeting the endocannabinoid system: to enhance or reduce?.” Nature reviews Drug discovery 7.5 (2008): 438-455.
  3. Atalay, Sinemyiz, Iwona Jarocka-Karpowicz, and Elzbieta Skrzydlewska. “Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol.” Antioxidants 9.1 (2020): 21.
  4. Byrareddy, Siddappa N., and Mahesh Mohan. “SARS-CoV2 induced respiratory distress: Can cannabinoids be added to anti-viral therapies to reduce lung inflammation?.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 87 (2020): 120.
  5. Maggirwar, Sanjay B., and Jag H. Khalsa. “The Link between Cannabis Use, Immune System, and Viral Infections.” Viruses 13.6 (2021): 1099.
  6. Di Marzo, Vincenzo. “Targeting the endocannabinoid system: to enhance or reduce?.” Nature reviews Drug discovery 7.5 (2008): 438-455.
  7. Fitzcharles, Mary-Ann, et al. “Clinical Implications for Cannabinoid Use in the Rheumatic Diseases.” Arthritis & Rheumatism 64.8 (2012): 2417-2425.
  8. Atalay, Sinemyiz, Iwona Jarocka-Karpowicz, and Elzbieta Skrzydlewska. “Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol.” Antioxidants 9.1 (2020): 21.