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April 2020

CBD and Your Immune System

By CBD Information, Uncategorized

You’ve probably heard the term “immune health” tossed around in the health and wellness world. Typically, people use this term to describe products and habits that are supposed to help your immune system stay strong and you stay healthy. One of the newer products that people claim can boost your immune system is CBD oil.

CBD oil is still a fairly new product, and we still don’t know very much about its benefits and exactly how it works. However, even with just a handful of studies on CBD, we have found out that CBD and other cannabinoids can influence the immune system to help improve your health.

A Brief Overview of The Immune System

Every minute of every day, we are exposed to an endless stream of diseases, infections, viruses, and bacteria — all of which would ultimately kill us if it weren’t for our built-in immune system that keeps all of these invaders at bay. The immune system is a network of cells, organs, and tissues that work together to destroy foreign cells or particles, thus keeping you healthy and alive. The key players who make this happen: white blood cells.

There are two types of white blood cells: lymphocytes and phagocytes. Lymphocytes are more commonly known as B-cells and T-cells, and they destroy antigens (toxins or harmful foreign substances). They also help your body remember these foreign substances so that your immune system can respond quickly and appropriately when it detects another invasion. Phagocytes help absorb and neutralize the invaders, preventing them from spreading and causing more damage.

In addition to protecting your body against toxic invaders, your immune system is responsible for detecting and eliminating cells that aren’t working properly. Once found, the immune system initiates apoptosis, or cell death, so that the defective cells do not multiply and form tumors.

The Endocannabinoid System and Immune System

The discovery of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) is still fairly recent, and we are still learning how it works with and inside the body. With the things we have learned, however, we know that the ECS helps establish and maintain homeostasis, or balance, between the various systems in the body. Your body produces endocannabinoids as needed to help modulate or regulate cell function, including the cells in your immune system.

How CBD Affects The Immune System

As we mentioned earlier, studies have found that CBD can influence your immune system. More specifically, studies have found that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, and it functions as an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator. A large amount of studies discuss CBD’s immunosuppressant effects, but these studies are full of unfamiliar scientific terms. Here’s a quick breakdown of how CBD works as an immunosuppressant:

  • CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce the immune system’s inflammatory response. Inflammation is a vital response that isolates infected areas and prevents toxins from spreading.
  • CBD can promote apoptosis, or cellular death.
  • CBD can prevent proliferation, or rapid cellular growth.
  • CBD can modulate or suppress the function and secretion of cytokines. Cytokines are large groups of proteins, secreted by specific cells in your immune system. Their function is to signal molecules that regulate your body’s immunity, inflammation, and white blood cell production.
  • CBD can also suppress the production of chemokine, which is a group of cytokines that act as chemoattractants. They lead immune cells to an infection site so that the white blood cells can attack and destroy invading microbes.
  • CBD can suppress T-cell production and function, ultimately suppressing the immune system’s ability to remember foreign invaders.

That’s a pretty impressive list, but for a healthy person, this list looks more like the things you want to avoid. Ideally, you don’t want to suppress your body’s inflammatory response, as toxins could then spread throughout the body. You don’t want to promote unnecessary cell death, nor do you want to stop healthy cell growth. You surely don’t want to suppress the proteins that signal your immune response and lead white blood cells to where they need to be. And you definitely don’t want to hinder your T-cell function and thus hinder your body’s ability to destroy antigens and remember those attackers.

So, is CBD really good for your immune health?

CBD and Autoimmune Diseases

Because CBD works as an anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant, it may not be a necessary immune supplement choice for a healthy person. But for those who have an autoimmune disease, CBD can be an excellent choice for therapy or treatment.

What is an autoimmune disease?

An autoimmune disease is when your immune system does not work properly. Instead of attacking foreign microbes and antigens, your immune system mistakenly attacks healthy cells, tissue, and/or organs. These self-attacks can occur anywhere throughout the body, and they often lead to a weakening of proper body function. In some cases, autoimmune diseases can be life-threatening.

Today, scientists and doctors are aware of more than 80 autoimmune diseases. Some examples of autoimmune diseases include diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, HIV/AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and more.

How CBD can help with autoimmune diseases

As we just discussed, studies have discovered that CBD is an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator, and it has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause or contribute to many autoimmune diseases, and taking CBD can help reduce that inflammation. Not only that, but those who have hyperactive immune systems that end up attacking themselves can benefit from the immunosuppressant properties that CBD offers.

We as a society still need to perform several more studies about the relationship between CBD and the immune system, but the initial findings look promising. With the information we do know, however, CBD has great potential for being an effective natural form of therapy for those who have autoimmune diseases.

No, CBD Does Not Help with the Corona Virus

By CBD Information, Uncategorized

Cannabidiol (CBD) has gained a reputation as something of a “cure-all.” Its antioxidantanti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties have seen the cannabinoid, and cannabis itself, become a commonly suggested remedy for all manner of ailments, from chronic pain, to anxiety, and more.

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that, as the coronavirus spreads around the world, CBD misinformation has followed. One unlicensed CBD brand in Canada has claimed it can help defend against coronavirus, while another CBD retailer in Idaho took down a message on its e-commerce website which mentioned coronavirus, following a caution from US federal regulators.

Clinical evidence for CBD as an effective antiviral is sparse, though there are a small handful of preclinical studies that suggest the cannabinoid could be of use in treating viral hepatitis C and Kaposis sarcoma. Still, there is no evidence that the compound could be useful in tackling COVID-19 in the same way.

The theoretical attraction of CBD

Some experts believe that CBD products might experience a small boost in sales at this time, as those familiar with the products include them in their shopping trips to stock up on essentials during periods of self-isolation.

With COVID-19 causing pneumonia-like symptoms, such as fever, there would appear to be some logic behind the idea that CBD could be helpful. After all, CBD’s anti-inflammatory effects are fairly well documented, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are commonly recommended to manage fevers and associated aches and pains.

Orally administered CBD has also been shown to improve the condition of patients with certain autoimmune disorders, lending credence to the idea that CBD could provide a helpful boost to the body’s immune system function.

However, new advice put out by French authorities in the last few days effectively contradicts this line of thinking.

The problem with anti-
inflammatory treatments 

The French health minister, Olivier Véran, who is also a qualified doctor and neurologist, sent out a tweet this weekend reading stating that, “the taking of anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, cortisone…) could be a factor in aggravating the infection. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If you are already taking anti-inflammatory drugs, ask your doctor’s advice.”

Jean-Louis Montastruc, the head of pharmacology at Toulouse hospital, also repeated this warning to RTL Radio, saying that “anti-inflammatory drugs increase the risk of complications when there is a fever or infection.”

The warnings come on the same day the French government released new official recommendations, which link the use of NSAIDs to “grave adverse effects” being seen in patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The recommendations also advise that patients taking corticosteroids or other immuno-suppressants to manage a chronic condition continue to do so, unless advised differently by their doctor.

These anti-inflammatories are a risk, the health officials point out, because anti-inflammatory drugs are known to suppress the body’s immune system response, and so aren’t advisable to use in managing infectious illnesses.

Paul Little, a professor of primary care research at the University of Southampton told the Guardian that, “the general feeling is that the French advice is fairly sensible. There is now a sizeable literature from case control studies in several countries that prolonged illness or the complications of respiratory infections may be more common when non-steroidal anti-inflammatories [NSAIDs] are used.”

“If you’re suppressing that natural response, you’re likely inhibiting your body’s ability to fight off infection.”

Present guidance from the British National Health Service (NHS) contends that there “is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse,” but still advises people with COVID-19 and COVID-19-like symptoms to take alternatives to NSAIDs, such as paracetamol, wherever possible.

While discussion of these risks has centered around the more common NSAIDs, it appears to be prudent to apply the same caution to the use of CBD due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

“Zero evidence” to suggest CBD can manage COVID-19

Even apart from this caution, it’s important to recognize that there is currently no scientific research or clinical evidence suggesting that CBD could be effective in safely managing any specific symptoms of COVID-19.

“There is currently absolutely no evidence that CBD can play any role in altering the course of coronavirus (COVID-19) disease and I would strongly urge the CBD industry to stay far away from making any suggestion, however subtle, that it does,” Dr Andy Yates, science lead at the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry, told Food Navigator.

Last week, one CBD retailer in Idaho took down a message on their e-commerce website which mentioned coronavirus, following a caution from federal regulators.

The herbalist didn’t mention coronavirus in relation to any of their CBD products, although the website did include a listing from another herbalist which detailed a “coronavirus protocol” recommending the use of herbal supplements. In response, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an official warning letter asking that the misleading information be removed.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn has said that the agency will be aggressively monitoring and pursuing businesses and bad actors whose actions are deemed to be putting public health at risk.

“During a time of serious national and international challenges our industry needs to show leadership and a strong moral compass and do the right thing,” Yates added.

“If companies are interested in researching the potential anti-inflammatory or other effects of CBD in coronavirus or any other disease state then they should make the investment in doing the proper research to generate data and publish that data in peer-reviewed scientific or clinical journals for others to access and build upon.”