Cannabis for Inflammation
Inflammation is the root cause of dozens of chronic illnesses that plague us today. Inflammation occurs when the immune system is compromised, and leads to organ, joint, and tissue damage in many parts of the body.
Living a lifestyle that prevents inflammation is necessary in preventing chronic illnesses. This means eating a proper diet high in nutrients and inflammation-fighting foods, getting enough rest as well as regular exercise. Once you do have inflammation, it’s important to address it immediately otherwise it can lead to more serious conditions. Most people actually aren’t aware that inflammation affects almost every aspect of your health: arthritis, celiac disease, cancer, asthma, fibromyalgia, heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and ADD just to name a few. Inflammation can be happening right now in your body, but you won’t know it because it takes years for it to be clinically significant, or until it manifests through symptoms of another disease.
How Does Cannabis Treat Inflammation?
Numerous studies have proven that cannabis is effective in treating inflammation as well as addressing the accompanying pain. This is because of the presence of its 2 major cannabinoids, THC and CBD.
Both THC and CBD are effective in reducing inflammation that is linked to several diseases. But another compound found in cannabis called the beta-carophyllene also affects the CB2 receptor. A 2008 study analyzing mice who had swollen paws and were given oral doses of beta-carophyllene showed a 70% decrease in inflammation. The mice without CB2 receptors didn’t see any improvement.
A study published by the US National Library of Medicine found that cannabinoids control the response of the immune system and works in suppressing inflammatory responses. The human endocannabinoid system has 2 receptors: CB1, which is located in the central nervous system, is responsible for psychoactive effects; and CB2, which is found in the tissues and is responsible for inhibiting inflammation.
Cannabis is also useful in keeping c-reactive protein levels down; high levels of this protein can lead to fatal heart disease. A study published in the Drug and Alcohol Dependence Journal revealed that people who smoked cannabis had lower levels of c-reactive protein than those who didn’t smoke. Another study showed that CBD was effective in blocking the progression of rheumatoid arthritis and was also beneficial in providing relief for pain caused by joint swelling. It’s already well known that cannabis is effective in treating chronic pain, which is a side effect of inflammation.
While we now know that THC and CBD work in treating and preventing inflammation, they both work in the body in different ways. Both cannabinoids have demonstrated efficacy in decreasing both the release and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and also works to decrease the activation of LPS-induced STAT 1 transcription factor, which contributes to some inflammatory processes. However scientists find that CBD is much more potent in addressing inflammation, and for this reason high CBD strains are recommended particularly for those who suffer from extreme inflammation. CBD actually supports the concentration of endogenous cannabinoids which gives the body the ability to self-heal and ward off disease.
Even if you’re a recreational smoker, you can still benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis. Some people take aspirin to reduce their risk of illness and cancer, although it has serious side effects such as headaches, heartburn, upset stomach or even more serious side effects such as coughing up blood, black stools, swelling, and fever. Cannabis can give you all these medicinal benefits and more without ANY side effects.
Many people also prefer to use topicals to help address inflammation. Being the largest organ, the skin is an effective way of taking in the medicinal and anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabis, also while preventing skin inflammation.
Do you have experience using cannabis in treating inflammation? Share with us in the comments below!