If you’re reading this article, then you know CBD is a powerhouse cannabinoid that has taken the alternative therapy market by storm. Oh, you didn’t? Well, now you do! A non-psychoactive phytocompound derived from cannabis, cannabidiol interacts with our own endocannabinoid system (ECS). Our ECS plays a vital role in regulating and repairing vital systems in our body like our digestive and immune systems.
Self-defense without causing self-harm is the primary objective of our ECS work with our immune system. The sole purpose of our immune system is to detect any harm or threat, respond to the damage or threat, and repair any damage to our body that may have occurred.
Technically, we all have a team of crime-fighting cellular superheroes that live within our body. Cool, right? However, sometimes, the immune system will respond a little too aggressively to said damage, pulls an Anakin Skywalker and attacks healthy tissues. The immune system can signal these attacks virtually anywhere in the body: brain, skin, heart, blood vessels, nerves, joints, eyes, kidneys, digestive tract, lungs, and muscles.
This is a condition called autoimmunity. Autoimmunity is the root cause of many severely debilitating conditions such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s to name only a few.
I have broken down the science lingo and compiled everything you need to know about how CBD can boost your immune system- you’re welcome. In this article you will learn how our immune system works, types of immune systems within our body, and of course how CBD can play an important role in keeping you healthy and in balance. Ready to take a trip to back to BIO101? Let’s go!
Our Immune System’s Functionality: Three Steps
Our immune system has a three-step system that enables it to function- sense, respond, and react. Just like our ECS, our immune system activates in the presence of harm, a threat or damage (sickness, infection or injury).
Balance. The sole purpose of our ECS is to help our body out when it needs it. The first thing our immune system does is sense the impending threat, the possible damage, or the presence of harm. We are made of endogenous cells (our body’s cells), and when these cells send out distress signals, immune cells (dendritic, macrophages, and endothelial etc.) respond to them.
Immune cells are located in our bloodstream and made from mucous membranes. They react to viruses and bacteria that have distinct chemical markers. When the immune system is stimulated by these calls for help, it must react within a very specific threshold in order to be useful.
If a threat stimulates a response from the immune system that is too high, your immune system will ignore the threat that could very well cause harm to the organism. If the threshold is too low, the immune system will react to the stimulus when it isn’t causing harm to your body.
The immune cells that originally sensed the threat will then send out a signal to the rest of the immune system explaining how to respond. Cytokines are compounds produced by helper cells that our immune system will send out that will either decrease or increase our immune system’s activity.
Several classes of chemical signals like interleukins (IL), tumor necrosis factors (TFN), and interferons (IFN) are cytokines the immune system produces to decrease or increase the activity of our immune system.
If an immune cell produces the wrong mixture of cytokines (because the sensitivity in the first step of sensing was inaccurate) then our body will produce an abnormal immune response. This is the root cause of many autoimmune disorders and conditions. Cytokine signaling is vital to immune function and sensitivity.
The final step our immune system takes is sending out immune cells called effector cells. They take action based on the signals of the helper cells. These cells will either kill pathogens and endogenous cells that cannot be repaired due to a virus or infection, or they will begin the healing process and repair damaged tissues caused by the threat.
How the Immune System Works
If we go back to our cellular superhero reference, we can easily describe how our immune system works. Cells in our body send out a cry for help, immune cells respond to that call and decide in which way to help, then send out cytokines to either repair the damage or obliterate the threat – Titans, go!
So why does our immune system go into psycho-killer mode when its sole existence is to protect us from potential damage and threats? That’s a great question! Unfortunately, I cannot give you a black and white answer.
Our immune system is just as complicated as our ECS. It has thousands of working parts called cytokines that mediate its activities. Our endocannabinoid system helps regulate our immune system, but when one of those thousands of working parts break, your entire system can be compromised.
CBD Enhances Immune System Signalling and Sensitivity
Does CBD help our immune system? The short answer is yes. The long answer is: depending on a person’s medical history, weight, health, size, medications, diet, and many other environmental factors, possibly. Cytokines are responsible for the degree of signaling and sensitivity our immune system reacts to threats.
CBD has the superpower of altering how cells express genes. Cannabidiol can limit which genes get expressed, which affects signaling and sensitivity of our immune system. In layman’s terms: CBD can limit the combination of cytokines that cells can produce (pro vs. anti-inflammatory cytokines) and respond to.
CBD Decreases Production of ROS & Proinflammatory Cytokines
Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are a reactive compound released by the immune system’s psycho cells when they go into attack mode. When your body’s immune system is in seek & destroy mode, it sends out killer cells that are the essence of inflammation. ROS works just like bleach does on a stain. It dissolves any compounds it touches. On a cellular level, ROS that is released by these attack cells attempt to dissolve cell DNA and cell membrane it contacts.
Scientific research says cannabinoids like CBD are shown to treat disorders that involve an over-active immune response and the negative ROS response. CB1 and CB2 are found within cells in the immune system, and cannabinoids like CBD trigger these receptors to activate. Activating these receptors stimulate immunoregulation by limiting the types of cytokine and chemokine expressed and downgrading their production. CBD acting on CB1 and CB2 receptors plays a role in regulating the pain associated with inflammation. Example: Using a CBD tincture can help during allergies because it will help suppress the psycho cells and their causing harm to healthy tissues.
CBD Boosts Immunoregulation
Is CBD an immunosuppressant? Let’s see. Our own endocannabinoid receptors help monitor and regulate our immune system, and CBD acting on these receptors downgrades the production of harmful cytokine mixtures. So yes, cannabidiol can effectively help boost your immune system. Yes, even if your system is in overdrive, CBD will help restore what our body craves most: balance.
Do you suffer from an autoimmune disorder, or get insane seasonal allergies? CBD may be the best defense against offensive immune cells that are on the attack.
Have you experienced relief from an autoimmune disorder using Rooted Lyfe products? We’d love to hear from you! E-mail us at [email protected]