Right now, it’s more important than ever to make sure our immune system is in tip top shape. With CBD being touted by some as the answer to every malaise known to humankind, we thought this would be a good time to examine what we know about CBD and the immune system.
Our Immune System - An Overview
It’s easy to think that we are sitting targets, with nothing to defend ourselves apart from a bottle of hand sanitiser. However, if we are lucky enough to have a robust immune system, we are in fact hardwired to fight off infectious diseases, bacteria, and viruses (known as antigens).
Key players in our immune system include white blood cells (leukocytes) that either destroy antigens and help the body to remember previous attackers and phagocytes that eat up foreign intruders.
We can also thank our immune system for detecting and killing malfunctioning cells inside our bodies. Known as apoptosis, this ensures these cells do not continue growing and become cancerous.
Apoptosis is an important part of a healthy functioning immune system. However, if there’s too much cell death, autoimmune diseases can result, while too little can create the perfect environment for cancer.
Inflammation is produced in response to harmful stimuli such as pathogens, damaged cells or injury, initiating the healing process. However, when this inflammation occurs on a chronic basis or as the result of an overactive immune system, tissue and organ damage can occur.
The Endocannabinoid System and the Immune System
When scientists discovered the endocannabinoid system in the 1990s, they soon realised this complex network for receptors and cannabis-like chemicals were some kind of homeostatic regulator – continually working to maintain a state of biological balance.
Endocannabinoid CB2 receptors are found on immune cells, suggesting endocannabinoids act upon our immune cells directly through these receptors creating an overall anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive effect. Consequently they are considered a therapeutic target for autoimmune disorders and neurodegenerative disease.
Interestingly, this immunosuppressant endocannabinoid activity is considered transient, and can be overridden in the presence of infection when inflammation is required as part of our system of immune defense.
It’s clear then that as well as regulating everything from appetite to sleep, the endocannabinoid system also plays a crucial role in maintaining an optimally functioning immune system.
But what about CBD and the immune system?
CBD and the Immune System
Understanding how cannabinoids found in hemp like CBD affect the immune system is an area of research still in its infancy. As such it's impossible to say for sure what effect CBD has on our immune response. It's also a reason to be suspicious of any CBD company suggesting their products boost our immune system.
However, because CBD supports the overall work of the endocannabinoid system, the body's master regulator, CBD may help support immune balance, but we can't say for sure.
Either way, doing everything we can to keep calm and carry on during these uncertain times like eating well, getting enough sleep and spending time in nature, will all help to support our immune systems.
If you are thinking about supplementing your diet with CBD, why not head over to our webshop and check out our range of organic, whole plant CBD range.