We are all constantly under threat of disease. Pathogens, viruses and germs bombard us every day. In addition we suffer scrapes, cuts, bites and other wounds caused by accidents. These all cause us pain and misery and if it wasn’t for our immune system we wouldn’t live very long. It kicks in as soon as your body detects it’s under attack and fights back. One of its weapons is inflammation. Can CBD relieve the pain of chronic inflammation?
How Can CBD Relieve the Pain of Chronic Inflammation?
It starts with our built-in immune response when you are under attack from bugs, viruses and wounds. Your body reacts to an immune response in four ways:
- Inflammation – Fluid is sent to the area to help healing which causes swelling. Inflammation is a signal your body is working to repair itself and the uncomfortable swelling is a necessary part of that process.
- Pain - The area is probably painful particularly if you touch it. Chemicals are being released and they invigorate the nerve endings which in turn increases sensitivity.
- Redness - The skin around the wound will be redder because your body is sending more blood flow to the small blood vessels in the area.
- Loss of Mobility - You may lose some of the mobility in the areas around the wound.
These are all signs you need to take it easy and let your immune system fix the problem. It will usually do that without much assistance from you.
If the attack is internal there may be no pain, however your body will be working hard to repair the damage in the same way. It will create inflammation around the site of the damage to aid repair. You may have to take medicines or even attend hospital for examination or treatment.
What Exactly is Inflammation?
These symptoms are referred to as acute inflammation and are well known to all of us. Normally they‘ll last a few days then you are back to normal. Occasionally they persist and you may need medical intervention, but usually they are short lived.
Inflammation is where fluid is sent to the area to help the process of healing, that’s what causes swelling. It’s a signal your body is working to repair itself and the swelling is an important part of the process.
When the immune system detects the threat has been cleared, the repair of damaged tissue begins. Regeneration of damaged cells to replace those lost, happens where possible. Skin will usually grow again easily, so sometimes there is no visible mark left. However, in other areas where the cells are more complex, in the liver for example, they can grow scar tissue to close up any gaps left by the damage.
CBD & Chronic Inflammation
With acute inflammation as we’ve seen, damaged tissue needs inflammation to heal. However, inflammation may also remain active after the preliminary attack has been dealt with. This is called chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation usually starts in the same way as acute inflammation, but it can transform into an ongoing state that lasts for months or even years. It's when your immune system’s response is unable to deal with the issue.
Unconstrained, the immune system can send white blood cells to attack healthy tissues and organs. This turn triggers a chronic inflammatory response which results in scarring.
The common symptoms of chronic inflammation include joint stiffness, swelling, redness and pain. If it persists it can lead to autoimmune disorders. These include rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s Disease. IBD, MS and HIV/AIDS.
Recent research suggests that CBD is an immunosuppressant, which has the effect of reducing the immune response in an individual, and in turn it reduces inflammation. This explains why those suffering autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation get relief by using CBD.
Positive results have been seen in a range of immune-related diseases like MS, diabetes, septic shock, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma.
Other studies have indicated regular CBD use can increase white blood cell counts in disorders such as HIV, suggesting an immune-boosting effect.
CBD & The Endocannabinoid System
It gets even more complex when we consider that the effects of CBD are controlled by the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which scientists believe works with all biological activity, including the immune system. The ECS is still in the early stages of investigation, but it may be part of assisting the beneficial effects of CBD.
A great deal is still to be revealed about how CBD affects our immune system, but it plays an essential role in facilitating inflammatory pathways. Because of that it may help relieve many autoimmune conditions in the future. It’s thought that CBD may be using its anti-inflammatory properties by reacting with T cells in our body. T cells are a variety of white blood cell that work with the immune system and its chemical envoys, called cytokines. By suppressing the creation of substances that flag inflammation in the body, CBD is able to have positive effects on autoimmune conditions and chronic inflammation.
CBD & Autoimmune Diseases
CBD & Inflammatory Bowel Disease
The effects of CBD on the gastrointestinal system can also aid digestion and assist patients who suffer from IBD, Crohn’s Disease and Colitis. Pre-clinical studies1 have shown that using CBD does reduce gut inflammation which may help reduce IBD symptoms.
CBD & Multiple Sclerosis
Cannabinoids have been evaluated for their safety and efficacy in treating multiple sclerosis (MS) for several decades.2 MS is a progressive disorder that causes potentially disabling mobility problems, as well as other nervous system disruptions.
Large clinical trials have shown that cannabis-based medications can help alleviate pain and improve mobility.3,4 Several new trials are underway to further evaluate the effects of cannabinoids on MS.
CBD & Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), is an autoimmune illness causing chronic inflammation in the body, resulting in joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
Cannabinoids respond to the chronic inflammation inside the joints.6 Preliminary findings have shown that CBD based medication successfully reduced pain and the activity of the disease in RA patients.5,7
CBD & The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO), produced a report in November 2017 it said,
“So far there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
The report suggested that while there were few studies that could provide more conclusive findings, the trials that have been carried out have found many medical benefits of CBD with a few, if any, side effects.
According to Dr. David Heber, a UCLA professor of medicine and director of the university’s Center for Human Nutrition –
"Modern medicine focuses on treating symptoms and not addressing the root cause of a health issue, which in many cases is chronic inflammation. It’s an emerging field, a new concept for medicine.”
For now using authentic CBD as a means to help relieve the pain of chronic inflammation is a worthwhile solution.
It’s clear from the scientific research being carried out, cannabinoids, especially CBD, are drawing interest from sufferers of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases. The issue is time. The endocannabinoid system is still in the early stages of investigation and it will take many more years to fully yield up all its secrets.
If you buy CBD products always make sure it’s from a reputable, transparent company like Allure Hemp who have a pure CBD Isolate cream with no THC, which works quickly to help relieve the symptoms of chronic pain. The product is backed with an independent Certificate of Authenticity (COA).
1. De Fillipis, D., et al., “Cannabidiol Reduces Intestinal Inflammation through the Control of Neuroimmune Axis”, PLoS ONE, 2011, Volume
2. Rog, D.J., “Cannabis-based Medicines in Multiple Sclerosis – A Review Of Clinical Studies”, Immunobiology, 2010, Volume 215.
3. Russo, M., et al., “Evaluating Sativex® in Neuropathic Pain Management: A Clinical and Neurophysiological Assessment in Multiple Sclerosis”, Pain Medicine, 2016, Volume 17.
4. Zajicek, J.P., et al., “Cannabinoids In Multiple Sclerosis (CAMS) Study: Safety and Efficacy Data For 12 Months Follow Up”, J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 2005, Volume 76.
5. Klein, T.M., “Cannibinoid-based Drugs As Anti-inflammatory Therapeutics”, Nature Reviews Immunology, 2005, Volume
6 . Richardson, D., et al., “Characterisation of The Cannabinoid Receptor System In Synovial Tissue and Fluid in Patients with Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis”, Arthritis Research & Therapy, 2008, Volume 10.
7. Blake, D.R., Robson, P., Ho M., Jubb, R.W., McCabe, C.S., “Preliminary Assessment Of The Efficacy, Tolerability and Safety Of A Cannabis-based Medicine (Sativex) In The Treatment Of Pain Caused By Rheumatoid Arthritis”, Rheumatology, 2006, Volume 45.