CBD as anti-inflammatory

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What is inflammation? Inflammation occurs when our body is in the process of fighting against things that harm it, such as an infection, injury, and toxins. The body uses signaling molecules called eicosanoids to initiate the inflammatory response. When something damages our cells, our body releases chemicals that trigger a response from our immune system.  Often times, short-term inflammation in our bodies can be protective, whereas chronic inflammation is linked to several diseases including cancer, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, allergies, asthma, celiac disease, auto-immune disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and Alzheimer’s.

Common symptoms of inflammation are pain, heat, redness and swelling. Typically, inflammation can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications; non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) such as Advil and Aspirin or using steroid medications. As we already  know, using any type of medication can cause the potential risk of side effects which is why many users turn to a preventive or holistic approach. Some users will change to an anti-inflammatory diet, take anti-inflammatory supplements or use CBD products.

How to target inflammation using CBD?Cannabinoids, such as CBD, are believed to be an anti-inflammatory.  Various studies in cells, humans, and rodents support the idea that CBD may be an effective anti-inflammatory, however more research is needed to determine how it works for specific types of inflammation. ” A 2008 study in mice found that CBD prevented the onset of type 1 diabetes, an inflammatory autoimmune disease that attacks the beta cells of the pancreas. Another 2013 study found that CBD protected against the harmful effects of inflammation in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis. A 2013 review concluded that CBD was a potential candidate for an inflammatory bowel disease medication. However, a 2017 clinical trial found CBD to be safe, but ineffective for the condition. The authors said their results could “be due to the small dose of CBD, the small number of patients in the study, or the lack of the necessary synergism with other cannabinoids” (Leafly). CBD can help reduce inflammation by inhibiting an eicosanoid enzyme called COX2.  CBD also appears to affect a class of molecules important to the inflammation process called cytokines. CBD tends to reduce the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation.

Dr. Michael Verbora, MD, cannabinoid expert and Chief Medical Officer at Aleafia Health provided a simple message when asked if CBD is able to treat inflammatory health conditions. He stated,  “CBD is known to be an anti-inflammatory and it is likely one of the safest medicines to provide such an effect. One of the challenges is we don’t know what dose can alleviate what anti-inflammatory or immune-related conditions,” he continued. Dr. Michael Verbora is hopeful that future research might reveal a role for CBD in treating many inflammatory disorders.

On today’s market there are many  CBD products available which can be a tad overwhelming. CBD comes in many forms and some users may find that edibles (gummies) work for them whereas others find that a topical CBD or CBD oil is easier to use. If possible, users should consult with their physician to determine which forms and concentrations would be best for them to try first.