You are fully aware of how important a strong immunity system is to our daily lives. And there’s nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic to make you realize that you need to pay attention to your health.
Not to mention the stress we are faced with in these crazy times, just trying to pay our bills, utilities, and buy groceries way heavy on our daily thoughts.
So, there's no better time than now to look for natural ways to improve your immune system. And you're wondering if CBD can help.
So, can CBD help your immune system?
There really is no simple answer to this because there isn’t yet enough research to verify this claim.
Here’s a closer look at what experts do know about CBD and the immune system, including how CBD may offer some benefits to stress and anxiety and those with autoimmune conditions so that you can make an informed decision on whether to try CBD or not.
Understanding The Effects Of CBD On The Immune System
To understand whether or not CBD oil can strengthen the immune system, it is important to understand the basics.
Cannabinoids like CBD interact with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is a cell-signaling system found throughout your body and plays a significant role in regulating a wide range of bodily functions and systems, including the immune system.
The immune system, when functioning properly, is what keeps humans healthy and enables the body to fight infectious viruses, diseases, and bacteria.
In individuals with poorly functioning immune systems, an inflammatory response is triggered far too readily and strongly, which can result in persistent inflammation that is at the root of most chronic diseases.
While CBD offers indirect anti-inflammatory effects to manage existing inflammation-related disorders, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Joint disease
- Muscle spasms
Honestly, the immune system of a person without an underlying condition doesn’t need to be boosted.
While there are lifestyle changes you can make to avoid weakening your immune system — like getting adequate sleep, and decreasing stress, among other things — there’s not much you can do to increase your immunity to avoid getting sick.
However, for those who have an autoimmune disease, CBD can be a great option for treatment or therapy.
How CBD Can Suppress the Immune System
CBD may play an integral role in managing autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases include conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus, HIV/AIDS, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), type 1 diabetes and even Parkinson’s disease.
While these diseases vary in their effects and symptoms, they all have one thing in common: a hyperactive immune system.
Autoimmune diseases are characterized by an overactive immune system.
In general, an overactive immune system leads to many autoimmune disorders — because of hyperactive immune responses, your body can't tell the difference between your healthy, normal cells and invaders.
In essence, your immune system turns against you.
People with autoimmune diseases often need to use immunosuppressant treatments. An immunosuppressant is something that decreases the body's immune responses to an overactive immune system.
Research from 2020 data overwhelmingly supports the notion that CBD is immune suppressive and has anti-inflammatory properties.
These properties are important for those with autoimmune conditions, as inflammation is a common symptom of autoimmune disease.
Unfortunately, most of the research around CBD and immunosuppression involves animal studies and lab studies. In order to understand whether CBD is a viable immunosuppressant, it needs to be studied in humans.
How CBD Can Strengthen the Immune System
In contrast to a hyperactive immune system, a weakened immune system is not able to adequately defend the body and fend off infection as it should.
As mentioned above, CBD has been found to work as an effective immune suppressor, which is why it’s used to treat inflammation.
So how exactly can CBD oil both suppress and strengthen the immune system? While the answer to this question is still being researched, promising progress has been made.
In studies examining CBD’s effect on cancer patients, for whom the immune system is greatly weakened due to the disease as well as treatments for it, results have shown that individuals are better able to alleviate inflammatory responses and protect the host from acute and chronic inflammation.
Meaning, according to the research so far, CBD can address autoimmune disorders by calming an overactive immune system and strengthening a compromised one.
How Stress And Anxiety Can Weaken Our Immune System
According to Choice House: The relationship between anxiety and our immune system is a complicated one. Unfortunately, there is research that points to anxiety having a debilitating effect on your immune system.
It shows that too much anxiety can lower your body’s immune system and put stress on the body, releasing a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone and acts as the alarm system for your body.
During times of high stress and worry, cortisol attempts to reduce inflammation by reducing the number of antibodies that cause inflammation.
It also turns on natural immunity, or the ability to immediately fight off problems, and moves resources away from specific immunities (the ability for your body to prevent certain things your body knows how to stop).
But cortisol is only helpful in short bursts. When you experience extended, prolonged stress, your body needs those T-cells and white blood cells.
However, sustained release of cortisol continues to suppress them, thus causing a weakening of your immune system over time.
The biggest problem with this is not that you will get sick, as you still have to come in contact with germs and bacteria.
The problem is that once you get sick, your body will have an even harder time recovering from it. The cells that are being suppressed and attacked are needed by the body to attack intruders in their system.
Stress makes it harder for your body to recover, as your stress response is suppressing your immune system.
CBD Can Help Reduce Stress And Anxiety By Lowering Cortisol Levels
In one study on the effects of CBD, researchers found that cortisol levels decreased more significantly when participants took CBD oil. These results suggest that CBD affects the release of cortisol, possibly acting as a sedative.
There are many ways to manage elevated cortisol levels, whether it’s going for a jog, or adding CBD to your daily routine. If you struggle to manage feelings of unease and constant worry you’re not alone and there is help.
Some Additional Ways You Can Strengthen Your Immune System
The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease; it fights everything from cold and flu viruses to serious conditions such as cancer.
The best ways to keep your immune system running properly include:
- Be Physically Active
- Nutrition rich diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, and lean protein
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get Enough Sleep
- Quit Smoking
- Avoiding Excessive Alcohol Use
- Decrease Stress
Immunity is your body’s defense against foreign organisms. Taking care of yourself by living a healthy lifestyle will help your immune system take care of you.
No matter the reason you’re using CBD, it’s important to do so responsibly. It’s best to talk with a healthcare professional before using CBD.