One of the most well-known and researched properties of CBD is the reduction of inflammation. The body’s inflammatory reaction is very common and occurs with every small wound, but sometimes it contributes to the emergence of diseases! In this article, we will learn about different types of inflammation, the endocannabinoid system behind inflammation, and how CBD can reduce inflammation in the body.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction against an external pathogen, which originates from messages from the tissue level about dangerous situations. Activated immune cells produce both anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory mediators and this is regulated endocannabinoid system (1). The purpose is that the inflammatory reaction would only be a quick transient situation where the pathogen is eliminated, because if it continues for a longer time it causes damage to the tissues. (2)
There are huge numbers of cells in the human body that control the functioning of the body through messages through the nervous system, and inflammation alone is caused by dozens of different messengers and enzymes. CBD has been found to affect several different inflammatory pathways, while often drugs, for example aspirin, only affect one pathway (1).
What causes inflammation?
There are different types of inflammation and they can be caused by many different reasons. Next, we will go through slightly different types of inflammation.
The mechanism behind all inflammations is the same. A microbe enters the body, which causes a natural reaction. However, an inflamed wound is not the same as the inflammatory reaction associated with normal wound healing, which is essential for healing. If dirt remains or gets into the wound, or if it does not heal properly for one reason or another, the body starts to form an inflammation as a reaction, which may spread widely if left untreated. (3)
Viruses and bacteria sometimes cause local inflammation, which is usually acute and sometimes resolves on its own. For example, in bronchitis, a bacterium causes inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchi and larynx, onychomycosis is caused by bacteria that got under the nail, and tendonitis is caused by stress.
Low-grade or chronic inflammation
Low-grade inflammation in the body is also called chronic or silent inflammation and is mainly caused by bad lifestyles and lack of exercise. It is not an actual disease in itself, but a state of the body in which inflammatory mediators are secreted more than necessary. (4)
The background of chronic diseases is often elevated inflammatory markers and inflammatory mediators, and inflammation is the background of many long-term illnesses. These diseases and The effect of CBD on them has been extensively studied with positive results.
CBD and also other cannabinoids available from hemp have been found to have therapeutic effects on many inflammatory diseases (5). Such are e.g. psoriasis, MS and rheumatoid arthritis . Inflammatory intestinal diseases such as Crohn’s disease may also be relieved with the help of CBD. Today, it is known that inflammation also plays a role in the background of depression .
Symptoms of inflammation
Symptoms of wound inflammation include pain at the wound site, spreading redness and often suppuration of the wound. The inflammation may also raise the fever. An untreated inflamed wound can cause blood poisoning and, in the worst case, even amputation of a limb. (3)
Low-grade inflammation in the body causes both diseases and milder symptoms. This condition is often called silent inflammation because it does not cause the same visible and palpable symptoms as, say, an inflammation of a wound. Silent inflammation develops slowly and can exist for years before symptoms actually appear. Often mysterious skin problems, overweight, allergic symptoms without allergies, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure values give indications that there may be low-grade inflammation in the body. (4,6)
Local inflammations are associated with symptoms of inflammation that are very different depending on where the inflammation is located. Appendicitis is felt in the stomach, urethritis when urinating and tooth infection in the jaws. Many infections heal on their own, but if the symptoms continue for a long time, become intense or cause unbearable pain, you should find out with your doctor whether acute treatment is needed.
The most common infections
Inflammation is a very common reaction and is also associated with many acute underlying diseases and viral infections. The most common ones are e.g. ear infection, kidney basin, gall bladder, inflammation, eyelid, tear duct and cornea infections, appendicitis, small intestine and colon infections. Common infections such as root canal and gingivitis also occur in the mouth.
Treatment of inflammation
Inflammations are treated in different ways, depending on what kind and where it is. Often the infections will heal on their own, but sometimes natural treatments or medicines are needed.
It is important to clean the wounds properly and protect them from dirt until they heal. A wound also needs oxygen to heal, so it is not good to cover the wound at least constantly, but to give it air when changing the bandages. In the treatment of a wound, pitch ointment has been found to be very good, as well as various herbal patches such as the leaf of the gardenia plant can speed up the healing of the wound. (3,7).
Depending on the inflammation, local inflammation can be treated with either home remedies or antibiotics. It is always good to treat a serious infection with a doctor, but mild and incipient infections may be treated, for example, with the help of various herbs and plants such as rosemary, elderberry and sage. Various infections are also treated successfully with homeopathy.
Medicines that reduce inflammation
Medicines that reduce inflammation can be found in both antibiotics and over-the-counter medicines at the pharmacy. Many common painkillers are also anti-inflammatory and reduce fever, while they affect the sensation of pain. Such drugs include e.g. Burana, Ibuxin and Aspirin. Medicines available without a prescription should not be used to treat the inflammation for more than a few days, especially if the symptoms continue to be severe. If necessary, the inflammation should be medicated and treated with the help of a doctor.
Diet and lifestyle changes
When the body is in good shape and the body feels good, even wounds heal faster and cleaner. Although correcting lifestyles contributes to the healing of chronic inflammation while also preventing it, the change in life has a positive effect on the entire immunity and thus also on susceptibility to illness.
Inflammation can also be alleviated with the help of diet. Foods that reduce inflammation include e.g. various berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries), fatty fish (salmon, herring), ginger, turmeric, dark chocolate, broccoli, avocado, green tea, chilies, peppers, grapes, olive oil, and many herbs.
Endocannabinoid system underlying inflammation
The endocannabinoid system is a body balancer system found in all mammals that monitors all body functions. In the event of an accident, the endocannabinoid system is the one that sends the necessary cells to the wound and points out that the wound has now been healed enough. It doesn’t actually do anything by itself, but is in the background monitoring and regulating various body functions so that the healing is as optimal, effective and fast as possible.
The endocannabinoid system is involved both in the creation of inflammation, but also in its prevention. Its functions as an anti-inflammatory are related to preventing cytokine production, preventing cell proliferation and regulating cell death. The endocannabinoid system regulates the inflammatory response by preventing excessive activation, proliferation and migration of immune cells in the body, and by activating the death of immune cells. Endocannabinoids regulate the inflammatory response at both the innate and adaptive immune levels. (1)
Endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids, prevent the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increase the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines throughout the inflammatory response. (8,9)
Chinese doctors have already said thousands of years ago that hemp eliminates rheumatism. One way or another, different cannabinoids have been found to have anti-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory effects. Also with other cannabinoids such as for example CBG (cannabigerol) has been found to have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
CBDhas been studied extensively specifically in relation to inflammatory diseases. It does not actually affect our body through the endocannabinoid system’s own receptors CB1 and CB2, but through other receptors such as serotonin receptors. Inflammation involves the cooperation of CBD and the GRP55 receptor, as well as the interaction between the TRPV receptor and CBD. (1,8,9)
The antioxidant effects are related to CBD’s free radical blocking and transforming effects. CBD breaks their chain reactions, captures them and converts them into less active forms. (8)
CBD also supports the activity of antioxidant enzymes by preventing the reduction of trace element concentrations. CBD has been found to be an even stronger antioxidant than vitamins A and C. (8)
Does CBD oil help with inflammation?
In the case of inflammations, dosage probably plays a big role in terms of success, and inflammations are often treated with quite large doses.
The action of CBD oil in the body supports the activity of the endocannabinoid system and has been found to increase the endocannabinoid anandamide levels, which in turn affects cannabinoid signaling. This is also why CBD oil promotes anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory effects. (1,8)
Studies have shown that CBD oil reduces the levels of cytokines that promote inflammation, prevents the proliferation of cells associated with inflammation, promotes their death, and reduces the movement and activity of immune cells. (9)
Inflammation is a necessary and completely natural reaction, but sometimes inflammation can even cause long-term illnesses. It is possible to treat inflammations with gentle home remedies, but they are also treated with, for example, antibiotics and homeopathy.
CBD oil and CBD have been extensively studied for their anti-inflammatory properties and have been shown to have therapeutic effects. CBD oil is generally a well-tolerated and gentle form of treatment, which may be of significant help for severe inflammatory diseases such as MS and arthritis.
- Chouinard F., Flamand N., Lefebvre JS and Turcotte C.. 2015. Journal of Leukocyte Biology . Regulation of inflammation by cannabinoids, the endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol, arachidonoyl-ethanolamide and their metabolites. https://jlb.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1189/jlb.3RU0115-021R. Referred on 8/10/2022.
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- Acute wound inflammation. Health village. https://www.terveyskyla.fi/haavatalo/tietoa-haavoista/akuutit-haavat/akuutin-haavan-paranemista-hidastavat-syyt/akuutin-haavan-tulehdus. Referenced 1/10/2022
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- Henshaw FR, Dewsbury LS, K.Lim C, and Steiner GZ. The Effects of Cannabinoids on Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Cytokines: A Systematic Review of In Vivo Studies. 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8266561/. Referred on 8/10/2022.
- Low-grade inflammation can underlie many diseases. Zip. https://www.puhti.fi/tietopaketit/matala-asteinen-tulehdus/. Referred on 8/10/2022.
- Lohi J., Jokinen JJ, Sipponen A., Mäki-Paakkanen J., Peltola R., Rautio M., Laakso T., Saranpää P., Papp A. and Sipponen P.. 2008. Period book Duodecim. Effects of spruce resin ointment on wound healing. https://www.duodecimlehti.fi/duo97315. Referred on 8/10/2022.
- Atalay S., Jarocka-Karpowicz and Skrzydlewska E.. 2019. Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/#B25-antioxidants-09-00021. Referred on 8/10/2022
- Lorena C ., Robaina C., Keir-Rudmana S., Hornimanb N. and Clarkson C.. 2021. The anti-inflammatory effects of cannabidiol and cannabigerol alone, and in combination. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1094553921000596. Referenced 1/10/2022