The growing list of bountiful health and medical benefits found within the CBD compound has been stirring up a worldwide curiosity in recent years – and for good reason. The anti-inflammatory properties found within this natural, plant-derived medicine could be a game-changer.
Though medical application studies on humans are somewhat premature in this arena, based on an expanding body of animal and anecdotal studies, we can be confident to see increased validation of its efficiency in its effects on inflammation as research continues.
In the mean-time, when it comes to using CBD for inflammation: think of a daily dose of cannabinoid oil like a warm hot bath and a punch bowl full of antioxidants – the equivalent of a healthy size serving of vitamins, which can help with immune system functioning, stress-levels and healthy blood flow.
CBD is different to other cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) because it does not contain a psychoactive effect or euphoric “high”, rather the effect is more aligned with authentically balancing the body’s natural chemicals. However, it is important to learn the facts on how we can use CBD for inflammation most effectively before consuming it.
What is inflammation?
To put it simply, inflammation is the body’s essential protective response to injury or perceived harm. When the body senses danger, the immune system unleashes white blood cells, which produce chemicals. These chemicals enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from the ‘danger’ – toxins, physical pain, or potential harm. This increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection, which can cause redness, warmth or swelling.
This is an instinctive protective process – the body’s way of reacting to an injury, infection, or illness. Though this functioning can trigger nerves and cause pain, ‘acute’ inflammation will naturally go down over some time, and the cells will return to normal.
However, in more severe or prolonged cases, this process can cause something known as ‘chronic inflammation’. When inflammation is consistently triggered, it can destructively impact organs and tissues, due to the constant and increased production of these chemicals. This results in oxidative stress – a term coined to explain an imbalance between antioxidants and ‘free radicals’ (free-roaming atoms in the body which cause damage to cells).
Not sounding ideal? Scientists are suggesting this could be increasingly more serious than we might think. In fact, it’s now estimated that 20% of cancer cases are caused by chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation has also been linked to numerous diseases and health conditions, such as:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Heart Disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
What causes inflammation in the body?
Factors such as consistent stress, smoking, obesity, even pollution and other environmental elements have been shown to contribute to inflammation. Untreated infections, illnesses and autoimmune disorders may also contribute to inflammation-related health issues. Mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD are also linked to chronic inflammation.
Visible inflammation is clear. When you stub your toe, you know it’s inflamed, and you will likely take an Ibuprofen. However, in many cases, your body could be battling with chronic inflammation without you even realizing it. The diagnosis can be cloudy.
So how do you know if you are suffering from inflammation? Here are some signs to look out for:
Too little or too much sleep can create inflammation, as the cells in your body respond to irregular sleep patterns.
Aches and pains
Experiencing pain regularly which is not attributable to an injury is a strong indicator of inflammation. It could also be a signal that you have developed arthritis. Check it out with your doctor.
Look out for ongoing diarrhea, gassiness, cramping and bloating.
If you find yourself having trouble focussing or forgetting things more than usual, it could be time to check in with yourself. Often by treating chronic inflammation, it will help to regain your mental clarity.
Even though inflammation is crucial in order to help protect and heal the body, a state of prolonged inflammation can cause unwanted ongoing pain and stress. CBD could be a solution: an innate anti-inflammatory found in plants, without the complications of modern medication.
How can we use CBD for inflammation?
Extensive research has shown that the stress and anxiety-reducing properties within CBD, may help reduce inflammation in the body, by lowering blood pressure, acting as a powerful antioxidant.
This is how it works: Treatments For Chronic Inflammation acts as a desensitizer to the receptors known to mediate pain and sensory perception, according to a 2018 study published in Neurology. CBD has also been demonstrated to be specifically effective in dealing with various types of pain. When CBD enters a person’s body; it latches on to these receptors. They can also cause the body to produce natural cannabinoids that attach to the receptors – essentially modulating the immune system.
The National Center for Biotechnology Information also published a study in 2016 that discovered the topical application of CBD has the potential to relieve pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
There is an abundance of literature supporting CBD and its anti-inflammatory actions on immune cells, and the exploration continues with ongoing clinical studies. For many, the future will see CBD offer itself as a natural, plant-based alternative to pharmaceutical brands, which is more adaptable, digestible and familiar for the body.
Advice for how to use CBD for inflammation:
- Start with a minimum of 50 milligrams a day
- Be patient: it may take a few weeks for good results to set in
- Sublingual tinctures can be easily adjusted for dose, are absorbed quickly, and last 4 to 6 hours
- Combining with capsules, sprays, or vapes is best advised for long-term relief
Treatments for chronic inflammation
If you have not discussed chronic inflammation with a doctor yet, they may suggest taking a CRP (c-reactive protein) test, or alternative medications – in addition to your choice to include CBD in your anti-inflammatory routine.
Here are some tips on how you can actively begin to reduce inflammation in your body today:
Ditch the cigarettes
Quitting smoking improves circulation, increases oxygen levels, and lowers inflammation. Your immune system will thank you.
Be mindful of your alcohol consumption
Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. Excessive drinking can have serious implications for long term health.
Keep in good shape
Exercise increases blood flow to organs, regenerating crucial tissue cells. Weight gain is also associated with increased inflammation in the body. The effects of CBD have shown to be a helpful tool in maintaining a healthy weight.
Prolonged stress leads to hyper levels of ‘cortisol’ in the physiological body. Cortisol is a hormone that regulates vital processes, including metabolism and the immune response. However, chronic stress can lead to constant tissue breakdown and impairment of the immune system.
Take your vitamins
Particularly supplements such as magnesium, vitamins B6, C, D, E and Omega-3 fatty acids have shown to have some anti-inflammatory effects.
Try incorporating more of these foods and spices into your meals. They contain essential nutrients which will help to aid your immune system:
- Olive oil
- Leafy green vegetables (spinach, collards)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts)
- Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
- Fruits (berries, oranges)
- Green tea
CBD represents a green alternative to the blood-thinning or stomach ulceration side-effects of man-made traditional anti-inflammatories and pharmaceutical brands. Whilst patients have successfully been known to transition from anti-inflammatories and steroids to medical cannabis, it should be under the supervision of your doctor or pharmacist, encompassing an overall healthy, mindful lifestyle. CBD for inflammation will work best when combined with a holistic approach to your overall health.