Cannabidiol or CBD is the latest natural medicine craze. Many claim CBD can solve all life’s problems from acne to depression to hair loss to cancer. However, the number one use for CBD is to combat inflammation. While there are studies suggesting CBD can decrease inflammation, the FDA requires further research on human subjects to validate these claims. Hopefully 2020 will bring us more answers to how exactly CBD reacts with our bodies.
But what exactly is inflammation? We know the term is related to injury but is it good or bad? Inflammation is our body’s way of telling the immune system to heal damaged tissue or fight against an invasion, such as bacteria or a virus. When you fall and cut your knee, the area around the wound becomes red, swollen, and it hurts. This is inflammation. Swelling pushed against nerve endings causes pain. The redness is due to an increased amount of white blood cells flowing to the wound. When the healing process is over, the white blood cells retreat.
Acute vs. Chronic Inflammation
So inflammation is good? Yes, and no. Acute inflammation is a good thing because it is temporary. White blood cells stop going to the area in need. Our body is always creating white blood cells in anticipation of a threat. Inflammation becomes a problem when the immune system is triggered but there is no actual threat. The white blood cells go to war but end up fighting a healthy organ, tissue, or cell. This is known as chronic inflammation and can lead to heart disease, stroke, arthritis and some types of cancer according to livescience.com.
To keep inflammation at bay, doctors recommend a diet consisting of foods high in omega-3 fats such as fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Foods to avoid are high in saturated and trans fats, hydrogenated oils, sugar, carbs, and cooking oil. Over the counter drugs like aspirin, naproxen, and ibuprofen can help inflammation but have side-effects such as rash, gastrointestinal ulcerations, abdominal pain, upset stomach, heartburn, drowsiness, headache, and cramping. Also, you may develop a tolerance to these drugs according to clevelandhealthclinic.org. Other drugs can be prescribed if over the counter drugs aren’t effective but have greater side-effects.
Inflammation can lead to serious medical complications and the anti-inflammatory synthetic drugs available have various negative side effects, people are turning to CBD as an alternative. To fully understand how CBD interacts with our immune system, we need to continue research on humans. Cannabis research is still in its beginning stages. Recent research has shown that CBD regulates neurotransmitters in our endocannabinoid system. Yes, our bodies naturally produce cannabinoids! This is why cannabinoids like CBD and THC have an effect on us.
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This article is for informational purposes only.