Recent studies have shown cannabinoid receptors are present in immune cells. But what are cannabinoids, and how are they influencing the immune system?
Endocannabinoids are neurotransmitters produced in the body. These chemicals play a critical role in the regulation of several physiological conditions, including disease.
The network of endocannabinoids is known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS plays a significant role in keeping the immune system stable. Given the role of ECS in immunity, a substance that affects the ECS is likely to have a ripple effect on the physiology.
Apart from the body, plants like marijuana also produce endocannabinoids. When consumed, these endocannabinoids complement the body’s endocannabinoids.
The therapeutic role of endocannabinoids found in marijuana is not a recent discovery. Many societies used cannabis for recreational, spiritual, and medicinal purposes.
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Conventionally, the use of marijuana for medicinal benefits has gained widespread acceptance.CBD Oil helps individuals with various diseases and conditions. From epilepsy to less debilitating conditions like insomnia, marijuana proves to be a reliable drug.
The immune system is a complex disease-fighting network. For complete efficiency, it relies on various other systems such as the brain and central nervous system.
The exact effect of marijuana on the immune system remains controversial. Some scientists believe that marijuana suppresses immunity, while others believe that it boosts the immune system. But what does science say?
Does Cannabis Help the Immune System?
Marijuana contains several compounds, including endocannabinoids such as CBD and THC. These compounds affect the body differently. Besides, the dose also determines the kind of physiological response experienced.
Based on these dynamics, when you take a small dose of high-CBD/THC strain marijuana, you will not have the same experience you would get when you take a high dose of the same strain. These differences lead to controversies over the effect of marijuana. Nonetheless, there is overwhelming evidence for the benefits of marijuana on the immune system.
With that out of the way, here are five ways that cannabis can develop your immunity:
The inflammatory network is controlled by the central nervous system (CNS). When the body senses injury, the CNS releases cells such as T-lymphocytes, microglial cells, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes to fight the disease or injury.
When there is inflammation of the CNS, the regular modulating mechanisms fail, leading to neuronal damage and neurological diseases. This is the pathophysiology of neurodegenerative autoimmune disorders.
The ECS is a significant regulator of communications from the CNS to the immune system. When CBD from cannabis binds to cannabinoid receptors, it mimics the role of these chemicals. This process helps the CNS communicate effectively with the immune system and fight inflammation.
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Alternative medicine practitioners are utilizing the complementary role of CBD oil in the treatment of conditions like Parkinson’s disease.
When the body is under physiological stress, it produces reactive oxygen species at the affected site. But when there are excess reactive oxygen species and no adequate anti-oxidants, the accumulation leads to oxidative stress.
The excess oxygen can modify the structure of proteins and genes. The body then responds by producing pro-inflammatory genes, cytokines, and chemokines to inhibit and rectify this modification.
Consequently, oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of chronic inflammatory conditions, including cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
Clinically, antioxidants play an important role in preventing diseases that may be caused by oxidative stress. Researchers have shown that CBD inhibits endotoxin-induced oxidative stress. That’s because CBD oil is a powerful source of antioxidants.
When the body is stressed, it releases serotonin, which is a stress hormone and the body goes into protective mode. Physiological conditions, such as diseases and psychological stress, can both cause depression. Conventionally, stress, and depression are managed by antidepressants.
CBD from a reputed cannabis dispensary has antidepressant properties that make it a useful treatment for depression. It inhibits the activity of indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase, an enzyme that catalyzes the release of serotonin.
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Experts recommend CBD for stress, anxiety, and depression. This is because CBD supports the immune system by regulating serotonin production.
4. Immune Modulation
CBD is involved in the modulation of several immune functions. CBD suppresses numerous roles, including humoral and cell-mediated immunity.
Marijuana from reputed retailers also inhibits humoral response antigen presentation as well as proliferation, maturation, and the migration of immune cells.
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After an injury, the body responds by inflammation and is supposed to clear the inflammatory cells once their work is done.
Microglial cells remove the debris causing further damage to the cells. Studies reveal that CBD can suppress microglial cell migration, and thus protect cells from their actions.
5. Marijuana Causes Cell Apoptosis
Studies show that CBD induces the apoptosis of cells modified under oxidative stress. The antioxidant property of CBD acts more like a rescue for the immune system.
Alteration of cells is what causes cancer. The ability of marijuana to damage these cells is what makes it a significant arsenal in the fight against cancer.
In studies, cancer cells treated with CBD either undergo apoptosis or die. These findings show that marijuana can actually complement the immune system’s ability to fight cancer.
Most of the research on the effects of cannabis regarding the immune system is focused on animal studies. However, past studies show that cannabis can improve immunity in many ways and these are just some of the ways in how it works to enhance your immunity. Yet, more studies are needed to determine the exact role cannabis plays and to reveal the more benefits it has.