Inflammation is a key weapon in our body’s immune system to battle invading pathogens and initiating tissue repair. There are basically two types of inflammation, acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is usually the result of an illness or injury and is, in most cases temporary. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is usually a result of a foreign agent or repetitive inflammatory issues. Chronic inflammation if excessive or unresolved, it can cause serious organ damage and dysfunction.
Some of the diseases that are caused or worsened by chronic inflammation are: Alzheimer’s Disease, Arthritis, Atherosclerosis, Cancer, Depression, Diabetes type 1 and 2, Hypertension, Metabolic Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Neuropathic pain.
Research has found that our body’s endocannabinoid system, particularly the CB2 receptors play a significant role in bringing our immune system back to homeostasis. CBD can help with this.
How does it work?
All of us have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS). ECS receptors are found throughout the body, including our brains, organs, bones, GI, and skin. We have numerous types of ECS receptors but there are two primary types CB1 and CB2. CB1 are primarily found in the brain and CB2 are found throughout the body.
Our ECS helps our bodies maintain homeostasis by regulating bodily functions. It does this by releasing natural cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). These molecules help in a wide range of physiological areas including how we think, how we feel pain, how we regulate inflammation and much more. As we age we produce less and less of our own cannabinoids. CBD which is a phytocannabinoid (plant based) helps our bodies produce more of our own endocannabinoids.
Additionally, since the body cannot tell the difference between the endo vs. phyto cannabinoids, CBD also interacts with our CB2 receptors to help heal the body.
CBD can aid in the regulation of inflammation both taken internally and applied topically. The skin actually has the greatest number of CB2 receptors of any organ in the body. Thus, CBD can be applied directly on the painful area with a topical oil, lotion or patch to ease pain associated with arthritis, neuropathy, sprains, strains etc. When taken internally, CBD can help control inflammation associated with other diseases mentioned above.
Along with the benefits associated in treating existing conditions, CBD can be used as a powerful preventative medicine or supplement. If chronic inflammation cannot get started, then there is a reduced chance of getting or at least a slowing of the progression of some of the age-related diseases mentioned above.
More studies are needed, however there is good news. The FDA board recently voted unanimously to approve a new drug made from CBD called Epidiolex for the treatment of a specific type of epilepsy. Having an FDA approved drug, according to Dr. Daniel Friedman associate professor of neurology will make it much easier for researchers to study CBD for other conditions.