The human immune system is quite complex, and it saves the body from invaders like bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It also helps in tissue repair and may also help eliminate toxic substances from the body.
It is quite a complex system containing specialized organs, cells, and proteins. The human system is continually growing and upgrading. It is created in the bone marrow, may mature in various organs, travel through a dedicated highway called the lymphatic system, and quickly acts where needed most.
If some threat is detected, it initiates a defensive response in many ways. It may attack and kill the invading microprobe, create proteins that kill the invading microorganisms, and more. It also releases messenger proteins to get support from various organs. Thus, it plays a vital role in inflammation and tissue regeneration.
The immune system contains two parts: the innate immune system with which a person is born and the adaptive immune system that develops throughout life. Both these immune systems share information with each other and work together to protect the human body.
Some organs that play a vital role in its development are bone marrow, lymph nodes, adenoids, spleen, thymus, and tonsils.
Although primarily protective, it is also prone to errors. For example, sometimes, it may hyper-react, causing allergic reactions and damage to the body. Similarly, it may also sometimes initiate inflammation responses that do more harm than good. Thus, a need to tweak and modulate human immunity.
CBD has many health effects, and many of its benefits are due to its influence on the immune system.
How CBD & Immune Systems Interact
Considering that the immune system is quite complex, it isn’t easy to understand how it interacts with immunity. Nonetheless, science is still trying to understand how it may help the human immune system.
CBD is not a nutrient, but it can modulate various receptors, enzyme systems, and organs and thus ultimately change the immune responses.
Perhaps the most important way it acts is due to its effect on the endocannabinoid system. It appears that CBD is structurally close to intrinsic endocannabinoids, and thus it may affect endocannabinoid receptors present throughout the human body.
Before discovering the endocannabinoid system, researchers were genuinely struggling to explain how CBD may affect the immune system. Medical researchers could see that CBD can alter immune responses, but they could not explain how it works. Unlike another compound in cannabis, THC, CBD does not have potent mind-altering properties.
However, it may alter immune responses by modulating the working of endocannabinoid receptors present throughout the body. Now science shows that endocannabinoid receptors are not just present in the brain but also in every organ from the gut to the skin.
CBD can modulate the activity of CB1 receptors that are primarily found in the brain and CB2 receptors that are more abundant in various body organs.
However, there are other ways in which CBD may affect the immune system. For example, studies show that it can act as an antioxidant and thus help change the body’s redox balance. Now researchers think that its ability to modulate redox balance plays a critical role in its anti-inflammatory properties.
Does CBD Help Immune System Response?
CBD can alter immune responses. The immune system has many complex functions in the body. Thus, sometimes it appears to suppress immunity, while it seems to modulate immune responses in other instances.
However, one should not be worried about hearing that it may also suppress immunity. Most anti-inflammatory medications work by suppressing certain functions of immunity. Similarly, CBD also reduces some overactive parts of the immune system.
Of course, since it can suppress immunity, it is pretty good for reducing pain and inflammation. However, quite like other anti-inflammatory drugs, one should be careful using CBD when there is a high risk of catching an infection.
Nonetheless, it is more likely to modulate immune responses, as visible by its effect on various disorders. In addition, it means that it is more likely to suppress only specific immune responses selectively. Thus, it would not increase the risk of seasonal infections or make a person prone to certain diseases.
Perhaps the best way in which CBD helps the immune system is by suppressing hyperinflammatory responses. Thus, it is good for conditions like joint pains. Additionally, it may also lower systemic inflammation, and help prevent disorders caused by low-grade inflammation like heart diseases or neurodegenerative disorders.
New studies show that it may alter certain immune responses more than others. Although researchers are not sure how it happens, they think that its ability to suppress certain parts of immunity selectively may significantly help in some conditions. Thus, early experimental studies show that CBD may help prevent type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder.
Studies suggest that the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid receptors are involved in the development of autoimmune disorders. It also means that suppressing specific immune responses and modulating the working of CB1 and CB2 receptors may be particularly helpful in autoimmune conditions.
List Some Ways CBD Interacts with Immunity
In this article, we have already mentioned many ways in which CBD may interact with immunity. CBD may not boost the immune system, but it may help fine-tune immune responses. Thus, it can help in many disease conditions.
The most important way in which it interacts with immunity is through its influence on the endocannabinoid system and its ability to modulate CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are present in all immune organs, from bone marrow to the lymph tissues.
Some of the effects of CBD on immunity are indirect. Like it may promote the working of other internal organs and thus help normalize immunity.
There is no doubt that another significant interaction pathway is its effect on redox balance. In addition, CBD can boost the body’s antioxidant ability and thus help alter immune responses.
Further, some of its influences on immunity may likely be due to its effect on brain health. For example, it may alter immunity by reducing stress, lowering the level of stress hormones, and much more.
Benefits of CBD As an Immunosuppressant
Most people do not realize that significant overexpression of certain parts of the immune system is a significant problem. This is because the immune system often wrongly starts targeting various body parts or overreacting. This is visible in conditions like inflammatory disorders of joints or autoimmune diseases.
Consequently, there could be many benefits of the mildly suppressing immune system with the help of CBD. Moreover, unlike medications, its action is much more subtle and selective. Pharmacological immunosuppressants are highly toxic, causing suppression of even beneficial immune cells.
However, unlike medications, CBD only suppresses some overactive parts of the immune system through the endocannabinoid system. It is more like a balancing act. Thus, it would not suppress the immune system significantly, but only enough to help in a range of disease conditions.
Due to its ability to suppress immunity, CBD may help with inflammation. Therefore, it is suitable for autoimmune conditions like type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, allergies, and much more.
What is good about CBD is that it also has many other health effects. Hence, it not only helps overcome autoimmunity but may also help counter some of the autoimmunity-associated problems like spasticity, skin irritation, pain, mood swings, and much more.
CBD can influence the immune system in many ways. Firstly, it may directly influence the working of immune cells, alter the activity of immune organs, and may also help due to its effect on the body’s redox system. Moreover, CBD is safe for prolonged and regular use. It may suppress only overactive parts of the immune system and thus help in allergies, inflammation, and autoimmunity without posing any health threat.
If you are interested in learning more about CBD or want to help people living with immune disorders, we have many CBD products.