How Does CBD Interact with Your Immune System?

How Does CBD Interact with Your Immune System?

We’d all love a magic “CBD immune system” pill that we could count on to protect us from getting sick. Just imagine: no more cold or flu season! However, the reality is that immunity is far more complex than we might imagine. Today, we’ll take a look at ways in which CBD may interact with the immune system and proven ways to give your immunity a boost.

Endocannabinoids and Immunity

The main reason why researchers suspect CBD oil might be good for immune health is that we are born with cannabinoid receptors located throughout our immune systems — the receptor type known as CB2. Cannabinoids produced by our bodies (called endocannabinoids) bind to these receptors and help our bodies maintain homeostasis.

When our bodies don’t make enough endocannabinoids, plant-derived cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD) may help to boost production, restoring more ideal functioning in the immune system and throughout the body.

Putting CBD-Immune Theories to the Test

Of course, any theory about CBD and the immune system needs to be tested scientifically before it can be accepted as a medical fact. This process involves a long series of in vitro and in vivo studies, finishing with randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on increasingly large groups of people.

So far, the main studies that have been done with cannabis and the immune system have focused on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and inflammatory autoimmune conditions. Let’s take a look at studies relating to both of these conditions and what they could teach us about CBD.

Cannabis and Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a condition that attacks the cells that help protect your body from infection. This leaves patients vulnerable to getting extremely sick unless they take antiretroviral therapy medications.

Because this condition suppresses immunity, researchers sometimes utilize HIV models to learn about THC and CBD’s effects on the immune system. One of the most famous studies, published in 2011, examined the effects of Delta-9 THC on simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in monkeys.

The researchers found that administering THC prior to infection helped the monkeys maintain their body weight, suffer less inflammation, and experience less progression of the disease than untreated monkeys. This indicates that cannabinoids could help provide stability to a weakened immune system, although specific research focusing on CBD still needs to be done.

Cannabidiol and Autoimmune Disease

Most research studies on CBD and the immune system have examined cannabidiol’s potential for helping with autoimmune diseases. In autoimmune diseases, the immune system starts to attack healthy cells in the body rather than real, external threats like viruses.

In several in vitro and in vivo studies, researchers have examined the effects of cannabidiol in these kinds of diseases. A 2020 review covered the research so far on CBD and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis — a condition in which the immune system attacks the brain.

They found that CBD oil for immune health in the case of autoimmune disease helped to suppress the over-reactive response and promote “regulatory cells.” This suggests that CBD might help an immune system that’s overreacting while working to strengthen normal regulation.

What We Don’t Know About CBD Oil for Immune Health

So, it looks like CBD might help to balance out the extremes, but how does CBD interact with the immune system in the case of a cold or flu? The answer is that we just don’t know. It would take dozens of studies and clinical trials to determine CBD’s effectiveness.

What we do know, based on experience, is that cannabidiol might help with some of the symptoms you feel with these seasonal illnesses. For example, some people report mild relief from aches and discomfort. Others find that they feel less congested or sleep more soundly with CBD.

Proven Ways to Boost Your Immunity

A woman in a kayak looking up towards the mountains

While we’d love to recommend CBD for the immune system, we can’t make any definite claims. What we can share with you, however, are a few practical tips for boosting your wellness:

Stay Active

Moderate physical training is known to boost the immune response and help delay some of the effects of aging. This effect is especially pronounced if you exercise outdoors — hiking in nature, swimming at the beach, working out at the park, or growing a garden.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Slow-wave sleep has been associated with immune memory, meaning that getting a good night’s sleep could help your body prepare better for infections. As part of an active lifestyle, make sure you’re getting the sleep you need in addition to taking CBD for the immune system.

Focus On Nourishing — Not Inflammatory — Foods

What you eat has a big impact on the likelihood you will get sick. Studies have found that consuming 75 grams
of sugar
in a day can weaken your immune system for a full five hours — even if you’re doing everything else right. Instead of sugar, nourish yourself with whole foods like unprocessed fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbohydrates.

Supplement with Holistic Herbs

Once you’ve got the basics in place, immune-supporting herbs are the icing on the cake. We’ve explored CBD oil for immune health, but there are dozens of other ancestral herbs that might help boost immunity. To enjoy the best CBD for the immune system,try our Time Taken Daily Gel Caps. These soft gel capsules combine our broad spectrum hemp oil with immune-stimulating astragalus and adaptogens to provide gentle support for wellness all year round.

Find Your Wellness Community at SOAR™

CBD and the immune system is just one topic that fascinates us here at SOAR™. As a community of fitness and wellness professionals, we’re keen to explore all of the potential uses of hemp to enhance an active and healthy lifestyle. So far, we’ve developed products for energyrecovery, wellness, and sleep that we use to promote overall well-being. Want to learn more about CBD? Explore real-life CBD topics on our blog and sign up for our community emails to get news, updates, offers, and more!

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