Cannabidiol (CBD) derives from the plant Cannabis sativa, colloquially known as marijuana. The plant produces other compounds as well, called cannabinoids. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is the psychoactive part of marijuana that causes a “high,” but CBD itself does not produce such an effect.
What We Know So Far
Studies have drawn different conclusions about the relationship between immune system suppression and cannabinoids, specifically THC. More recent research suggests that CBD has similar properties, though it does not bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system at the same volume as THC.
Cannabinoids induce an anti-inflammatory effect for several reasons, most notably through inciting apoptosis (programmed cell death) and blocking the production of cytokines production in T-cells. This application can help alleviate pain from afflictions from arthritis to migraines to colitis.
The Endocannabinoid System
Over the past few decades, scientists have collected more information about the endogenous cannabinoid system (shortened to endocannabinoid system or ECS), which is responsible for important functions in the immune, brain, and endocrine systems. The entire scope of this system remains to be seen, but scientists know that it has wide-reaching influence across many other bodily systems.
The name of the system derives from the compounds that helped identify the system in the first place: cannabis. However, this does not mean the system is solely activated by cannabis, just that the system produces compounds that induce a similar effect that comes from consuming cannabinoids.
There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, and they each perform different functions. CB1 receptors are located on neurons and produce the psychoactive effect when a cannabinoid binds to it. CB2 receptors are located primarily on cells that affect the immune system, meaning they do not produce the “high” associated with marijuana.
Why Do We Want To Suppress The Immune System?
Inhibiting the function of the immune system may sound dangerous, but in reality, it is sometimes desirable to suppress the immune system. In the case of autoimmune diseases, in which cells malfunction and attack other healthy cells, cannabinoids can impede this response.
By inhibiting the induction of certain immune system compounds like cytokines, CBD can incite the immune system to reduce its inflammatory response. This property of CBD can be used to treat a variety of ailments. Scientists have analyzed the potential for CBD to help manage systems of diseases such as multiple sclerosis or even HIV because of its immunosuppressive tendencies.
Maybe More Than Just Immune Suppression
Cannabinoids are currently used to suppress the immune system to assuage complications such as pain, anxiety, and neural disorders associated with seizures or spasticity. However, some studies have indicated the possibility of cannabinoids having an immunomodulating effect as well, meaning they stimulate the immune system as opposed to shutting down some of its functions.
Scientists have not conducted sufficient human trials to confirm this conclusion, but early studies suggest that cannabinoids could be immunomodulators. The results of one study analyzed the oral administration of cannabinoids with lipids. They concluded that at high concentrations, CBD and THC may induce an immunomodulatory effect on the lymphatic system that is not suppressive. THC’s psychoactive properties limit its ability to be administered in high enough concentrations to have the desired impact, which leaves cannabinoids like CBD better suited in such cases.
What This Means For You
Bad Ass sells 100% natural CBD oil that is made with no additives or preservatives and is . Though the full extent of CBD’s impact on the immune system remains to be seen, scientists have confirmed it has a host of positive effects.