Health & Wellness April 22, 2020

Anti-inflammatory Benefits of CBD

What is Inflammation?

One of the body’s first immune responses to many kinds of dangers is the inflammatory response. While inflammation may be unpleasant or even painful, it functions to help the body rid itself of whatever foreign body or injury triggered the response. CBD oil has increasingly shown that it can be an effective tool in finding relief from inflammation. CBD and inflammation is a promising area of research for people in the medical field.

Inflammation is not difficult to diagnose. Redness, pain, heat, swelling, and increased body heat are obvious to the person affected and to observers. Inflammation can be described as acute or chronic, with acute meaning that the body is directly responding to outside stimuli or infection. Chronic inflammation can be caused by any number of conditions or diseases, including allergies, arthritis, dental disease, and autoimmune disorders. Inflammation is a complicated process that involves immune cells like white blood cells, molecular mediators, and blood vessels.

Current treatment for minor or moderate inflammation is most often a form of anti-inflammatory medication or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID.) These medicines, like any other, have their own risks and side effects that can be more severe in combination with a person’s existing conditions. For the people whose relief options are limited, alternative treatments like supplements and dietary changes have become popular. Many people looking for a natural treatment option with fewer side effects have found relief from their symptoms with CBD. Whether it is in a topical application such as a salve or balm or taken sublingually with CBD oil, evidence has shown that CBD can help with chronic and acute inflammation.

How Can CBD Help With Inflammation? 

A promising alternative to traditional anti-inflammatory drugs has been on the rise in the past decade. As more research is done on cannabinoids, the compounds found in cannabis, more evidence is found that they have anti-inflammatory effects. The primary candidate for this research is cannabidiol (CBD), as it is the second most common active ingredient in cannabis, and has no psychoactive effects.

The current thought is that CBD creates inflammation relief by affecting the body’s signals that create an inflammatory response. In order to begin the inflammatory process, the body uses molecules called eicosanoids to signal the need for an immune response. CBD has been shown to be effective at disrupting specific eicosanoid molecules, thus reducing inflammation. Another kind of molecules CBD may affect are cytokines. Early evidence shows that CBD can interfere with the pro-inflammatory effects of cytokines.

What Kinds of Inflammation Can CBD Help With?

Preliminary studies of CBD have shown inflammation relief in a variety of applications. In 2008, a study discovered that CBD administered to mice was able to prevent the onset of type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation to attack the pancreas. Two studies in 2013 found that CBD could be used as an anti-inflammatory, one to reduce the harm caused by multiple sclerosis and the other to be used as a medication for inflammatory bowel disease.

Inflammation can also be caused due to physical injuries like those that result from overexertion or accidents, and CBD is becoming a popular treatment for those as well. Many professional athletes both active and retired have turned to CBD to replace the traditional pain management methods; opioids and other pain medications.

What Kind of CBD is Right For My Inflammation?

If you’ve decided to give CBD a try to find relief from your inflammation, you may be intimidated by the huge number of products available. Since the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, CBD has exploded in popularity and production has expanded to take advantage of this popularity. CBD is available in almost any form you might want; vaporizer cartridges, high-CBD cannabis strains, oils and tinctures, edibles like gummies and sports drinks, and topical applications like lotions and creams. 

Another important aspect of CBD classification you’ll see when shopping around is the kind of distillation: CBD is widely available in three different distillations that carry varying amounts of other cannabinoids found the cannabis plant. These other compounds are thought to work together with CBD to increase the therapeutic effects, but some consumers may not want them due to their professions or age. Full-spectrum CBD contains exactly that; the full spectrum of cannabinoids with a maximum THC content of 0.3%. Broad-spectrum CBD contains many of the same cannabinoids as full-spectrum, to encourage the “entourage effect”, but has removed all of the THC content. CBD isolate is pure CBD extracted and distilled to remove all other cannabinoids.

Choosing the right kind of CBD depends a lot on your own conditions. If it’s available to you, broad- and full-spectrum may be the most effective on inflammation due to the “entourage effect.” People who often undergo drug testing will want to avoid broad- and full-spectrum CBD, because the trace amounts of THC present may be detected in a drug test. This means that CBD isolate is the only option for underage consumers as well because THC consumption is illegal for anyone under 21.

The consumption method you choose for your CBD purchase is important in determining the effects on inflammation. If your inflammation is the result of muscle or joint strain or injury, then it is likely to be localized to a small area. You may find that a topical CBD cream will be most effective for this kind of inflammation, as it allows you to target a specific area and is absorbed quickly. For inflammation that is more generalized, a CBD oil or tincture is a great way to quickly ingest an easily-dosed amount.

As with any new treatment, we recommend speaking with your physician to discuss using CBD as an anti-inflammatory option before making a purchase or consuming any CBD product.