Could Cannabis Treat Auto-Immune and Inflammatory Disorders?

Inflammation can be a positive thing for the body. But, for many people, inflammation is toxic, painful, and debilitating.

Inflammation is a natural process in the body. It helps to fight off infection or repair damaged cells and is a sign that your immune system is healthy. It does things like increasing your body temperature, helping to fight off a virus, for example.

However, in some people, the immune system is faulty. It overreacts to small things- or even the sufferer’s body- and fights off invaders that don’t exist. Inflammatory responses that are too severe can be harmful, resulting in damage to the body, and in extreme cases, can even be deadly.

These inflammatory conditions include:

  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Psoriasis
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis

It’s estimated that around seven percent of the population have an autoimmune disease.

CBD and Inflammation

Inflammation is complex. There are a lot of different processes involved, and they are a cascade; one process starts off another. Every single autoimmune disease is unique in the process and the cells and chemicals it involves.

CBD may work towards resolving inflammation in diverse ways.

It seems to reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, slow the generation of T cells (part of the immune system that attacks specific foreign substances), activates T-cell death, and reduces the movement of immune cells around the body. In short, it reduces inflammation and stops it from moving to other parts of the body.

Another way it may help is through the endocannabinoid system (ECB). The ECB system is one of the key systems that regulates pain sensations. CBD seems to work by inhibiting signals to the CB receptors. This could be part of the pathway to target inflammation-related skin diseases.

CBD and Arthritis

One of the biggest problems for treating arthritis with CBD is that it is hydrophobic and, when ingested, does not absorb easily into the body (low bioavailability) and can cause stomach upsets. As a result, transdermal CBD (application to the skin via methods such as a patch) is showing promise as a medical cannabis treatment to help control pain. The use of CBD gel showed reduced joint swelling and an increase in the synovial membrane in the joint.

A 2016 study showed that applying OBD oil directly to the skin can reduce inflammation in the area.

Multiple Sclerosis and Cannabis

There have been a number of human studies using CBD oil and THC to treat pain related to MS. Participants noted a reduction in pain, muscle spasms, and their walking abilities improved. It is also suggested that there can be a reduction in neuropathic pain. This could be because of the neuroprotective functions of CBD, helping to protect the myelin sheath on the nerves.

CBD Treatments for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis

There are a number of studies that show there is promise in using CBD to treat psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. A topical ointment containing CBD improved skin hydration and elasticity and users felt their quality of life increased as a result. A shampoo that included CBD helped to reduce scalp itching and flaking.

A type of endocannabinoid called anandamide has been studied and found to suppress inflammation in both skin and immune cells in psoriasis sufferers. CBD products may increase the anandamide in the body.

IBD, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

While there’s no evidence (yet) that CBD or THC could cure Crohn’s, there’s hope that it can improve the symptoms caused by the disease. A 2021 study showed that Crohn’s sufferers who had cannabis oil experienced an improved quality of life. A small number of studies show therapeutic potential in the use of cannabis in IBS and related diseases.

CBD Causes No Harm

While many studies stop before declaring cannabis a solution to many problems, it is because autoimmune diseases are complex. There are many different compounds in cannabis, and research is ongoing. However, it is important to note that even if studies at this stage say there’s no measurable improvement, they also say that CBD doesn’t harm the user. If a doctor has prescribed CBD after ensuring no contra-indications, then it is safe for almost anyone to take.

Unlike many other medications, which may alleviate symptoms but potentially cause other problems, CBD is safe and causes few side effects.

Contact us if you want to try CBD for inflammation and autoimmune disease. We can help you decide if CBD is right for your situation.

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