About Inflammation - CBD For Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural immune response to disease or injury. When you get physically hurt or sick, your white blood cells release chemicals that increase blood flow to the damaged area and protect your body from foregin invaders.
These biological mechanisms may cause the affected area to become red, swollen, and warm. This process is known as inflammation.
Without inflammation, your cuts, breaks, and wounds would not heal and you would not get better if you get sick.
However, inflammation is only meant to last for a short time until the damage is fixed. When inflammation persists for a long time, it becomes chronic and can cause serious damage to your body.
Types of Inflammation
Inflammation can be categorized into two major types: acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is a rapid short-term process during which the body becomes irritated by an injury or harmful organism.
PRISH is an acronym usually used to sum up the common symptoms of acute inflammation. These symptoms include:
- Immobility (Loss of function)
Symptoms of acute inflammation usually last for a few days but may also last for a few weeks. Not all of these symptoms need to be present during the course of inflammation.
In fact, some inflammation occurs silently and shows no symptoms at all.
If you have severe inflammation, your body may respond by causing you to feel very ill.
You may even experience symptoms like exhaustion and fever. Your immune system is very active and uses a lot of energy. This may cause you to feel tired and and produce a lot of heat, which you experience as a fever.
During acute inflammation your white blood cells and other disease-fighting cells may increase. In rare cases, you may experience sepsis.
Sepsis occurs when your white blood cells go into overdrive and release excess chemicals that cause inflammation throughout your entire body.
This may cause you to feel chills, feel extremely ill, develop a very high fever, or die.
Inflammation can be triggered by an injury to your body or by a pathogen that has entered your body.
Conditions associated with inflammation often end with the suffix ‘-itis’ such as acute bronchitis, infective meningitis, dermatitis, acute appendicitis and otitis media (inflammation of the middle ear.)
Other common conditions which can also result in inflammation are:
- The common cold or flu
- An ingrown toenail
- A sore throat
- Vigorous exercise
- A cut or scrape on your skin
- Physical trauma
The symptoms of acute inflammation may be inconvenient or cause you discomfort but you should generally view them in a positive light.
Just as a company may shut down temporarily to handle a pest problem in the building and then re-open its doors once the situation is under control, your body needs time to handle invading pathogens and may require you to ‘shut down’ for a day or two.
In most cases, inflammation is natural and normal. Take sufficient rest and give your body time to heal.
Acute inflammation often improves with time. In some cases, however, it may become chronic or cause an abscess to develop.
Inflammation is necessary for your body to heal but too much of it can cause serious harm. Chronic inflammation refers to slowly developing, long-term inflammation that is not routine or normal.
It can last months or even years. If you have chronic inflammation, your body may think it is healing itself. But while your white blood cells are helping some tissues in your body, they are causing damage to other healthy tissues.
Chronic inflammation may be caused by:
- Not eliminating the source of an acute inflammation from your body, leading to more inflammation over time.
- Long-term exposure to certain irritants, such as a particular chemical
- An autoimmune disease, which occurs when the body attacks its own healthy cells, mistaking them for disease- causing pathogens
If you have an autoimmune disease your body may set off the inflammatory response without any foreign body or injury being present.
This causes your body’s immune system to attack its own healthy cells, mistaking them for harmful pathogens.
Scientific research has not confirmed a concrete cause for autoimmune diseases, but some researchers suspect that your diet, environment, genes and exposure to certain chemicals may play a role in the onset of these conditions.
More than 80 different autoimmune diseases have been identified. Some examples include:
- Guillain-Barré syndrome
- Myasthenia gravis
- Grave’s disease
- Inflammatory arthritis, such as psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus), ankylosing spondylitis, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
Some cases of inflammatory autoimmune arthritis may trigger inflammation that can affect other organs. For example, inflammation from autoimmune arthritis, especially RA, increases your risk of cardiac death. Other issues include:
- Myocarditis (inflammation of your heart) which may cause shortness of breath and a build-up of fluid in your body
- Nephritis (inflammation of your kidneys) which can cause high blood pressure or kidney failure
- Colitis (inflammation of your large intestine) which may cause cramps and diarrhea
Can CBD Help With Inflammation?
Cannabis sativa plants contain chemicals with many healing properties. CBD is an all-natural, non-psychoactive chemical found abundantly in cannabis.
It does not make you disoriented, confused, or “high.” Studies suggest CBD can help to manage a number of health conditions, including inflammation.
Doctors often recommend omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help with inflammation problems.
However, you may find it difficult to change your diet drastically if you have financial and metabolic issues.
CBD may be a powerful yet affordable weapon you can use in your fight against inflammation.
CBD - Supporting Your Battle Against Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is devastating, yet poorly understood. Some people believe the best way to tackle issues like chronic inflammation is to use as many fighting agents as possible.
CBD is effective in fighting inflammation in the following ways:
- Prostaglandins are hormones in the body that have a variety of functions, including the modulation of inflammation. CBD has been shown to be effective in relieving menstrual cramps because it inhibits the production of the enzyme responsible for producing prostaglandins.
- Inflammatory tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is a protein in the body that is linked with many inflammatory diseases. In studies conducted on rats, CBD was shown to protect the joints by reducing the production of TNF.
- PPARγ is a receptor in the body that can decrease the inflammatory response. CBD has been shown to influence the functioning of PPARγ, thereby reducing the production of inflammatory molecules in the body and increasing antioxidant production
What Studies Exist to Support the Use of CBD for Inflammation?
CBD has not been confirmed and accepted as a cure-all for inflammation. However, the findings from the scientific studies that have been done clearly show that CBD may be highly effective in treating the symptoms of inflammation.
- A study published in 2016 suggested that CBD treats inflammation through a different process than nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and shows promise of treating inflammation without triggering the negative side effects usually brought on by NSAIDs.
- A 2012 study conducted on rats showed that cannabidiol can provide relief from chronic pain caused by inflammation.
- A cannabis studyconducted at the University of California San Francisco, the first trial of its kind conducted on humans, suggested that adding certain cannabinoids, like CBD to a patient’s existing opioid treatment regimen could enhance pain relief..
- A 2009 review of reports published on the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis over the last 5 years and a review published in 2011 both concluded that cannabis can help to reduce inflammation in a way that is different from the anti-inflammatory drugs that are traditionally used.
Integration - Making CBD Work for Your Chronic Inflammation
CBD is not a miracle cure. It works best when integrated with other lifestyle choices that promote anti-inflammatory results. These include:
- Taking omega-3 fatty acids (especially DHA and EPA, which are found in algae and fish)
- A diet based mostly on vegetables and whole grains
- Low-impact exercise (like water sports and cycling)
- Identifying and eliminating hidden sources of inflammation in your life
Talk to your doctor to see if incorporating CBD is right for you. Do extensive research and ask about CBD’s interaction with other drugs or foods, such as grapefruit.
There are many ways to gauge or control inflammation. A combination of methods may be the most effective path to significant inflammatory relief.