Use of CBD for Inflammation: Breakdown of Current Evidence
Pretty much all of us today have some form of inflammation in the body, whether it’s from minor aches, a chronic condition, inactivity, or overactivity. An alarming 1 in 4 of us here in the U.S. has such high levels of inflammation that were at risk of getting some of the most thorny diseases of our time. Because of the widespread benefits of plant-derived CBD for inflammation, more and more folks are shelving Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs.
The switch to naturally occurring CBD for inflammation treatment is gaining increased speed today because of the ever-unfolding amount of evidence pointing to the positive effects that CBD can have on the liver and pain management, while also helping to reduce swelling. Here’s a breakdown of the current body of knowledge about CBD for inflammation.
Nuts and Bolts of Inflammation
Before we dive into the specifics of CBD as a natural anti-inflammatory, let’s first walk through the basics of inflammation. There are two forms: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation is a core part of our immune response that kicks into full speed when foreign bacteria and viruses penetrate the body. Fluids and proteins coat the infected area, causing inflammation and heat to go to work safeguarding and treating the affected tissue. However, swelling from sickness and accidents is not the type of inflammation we need to be worried about. Acute inflammation is part of our body’s healing response.
Chronic or low-level inflammation is what you have to watch out for. Chronic inflammation is often seen in folks who are sedentary and obese, and people with lasting infections or abnormal immune responses. Because it causes our immune system to go into overdrive for prolonged periods, low-level/chronic inflammation deteriorates our arteries and organs. It also hinders the natural absorption of nutrients. This type of inflammation is known to creep up on people and is a culprit in a host of diseases and cancers.
Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, arthritis, tangled proteins that spread Alzheimer’s, MS, and even depression to some extent. The overwhelming amount of research connecting inflammation and cancer is also widely accepted.
By producing free radicals that damage DNA and provoke mutations, chronic inflammation can cause cells to continuously enlarge and divide. In turn, this leads to additional immune cells and worse inflammation. And as inflammation escalates, so do cancer tumors.
So if chronic inflammation is the bad agent in so many debilitating diseases, what can be done to manage it?
How Cannabis Unlocks the Body’s Natural Healing Power
Did you know we have dedicated cannabis neurotransmitters called endocannabinoids in our central nervous system (including the brain)? These intrinsic endocannabinoids (CB1 antagonists and CB2 agonists) bind our cannabinoid receptor proteins (CB1 and CB2) when we consume naturally occurring cannabinoids extracted from the cannabis Sativa subspecies hemp and marijuana. These fascinating cannabinoids, called phytocannabinoids, interact in extraordinary ways with our unique endocannabinoid system (ECS), a key player in inflammation.
The ECS is designed to modulate many of our vital physiological systems. It’s powerful healing effects help to treat inflammation and bolster the associated immune system, while restoring balance and sense of well-being.
What’s in Full-Spectrum Cannabis?
There are 100+ health-aiding cannabinoids in the remarkable cannabis plant. In addition to cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids, the complex cannabis plant is a breeding ground for a network of life-sustaining and health-boosting components. Just a few of the vast nutrients in full-spectrum cannabis include vitamins E and D, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a breadth of different minerals and antioxidants critical to our health, longevity, mental strength and cognitive capacity.
After the hallmark psychoactive delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) is the next most widely recognized and studied cannabis-derived phytocannabinoid. Unlike THC, CBD doesn’t make you feel serene, euphoric, elevated, or “different” in any noticeable way because it doesn’t have any psychoactive properties. However, CBD continues to show incredible results as a natural therapeutic agent and inflammation treatment. So how does CBD for inflammation work?
CBD for Inflammation: How it Works
CBD is a natural and non-psychoactive anti-inflammatory compound that’s becoming more and more sought after around the country. Full-spectrum CBD extract is used more and more around the U.S. every day as a post-workout smoothie booster, coffee supplement, and therapeutic agent in topical lotions to help treat inflammation.
Whole-plant or full-range CBD oil is also one of the best sources of vitamin D, an essential part of the natural regulation of insulin. So what does this have to do with how to reduce inflammation? The anti-inflammatory effects of insulin have been known for some time now. Because of its regulatory and natural anti-inflammatory effects, Vitamin D in the cannabis plant facilitates the natural harmony of the body and helps to cure inflammation.
CBD, in the form of hemp oil is another documented inflammation treatment known to provide natural anti-inflammatory benefits and relieve pain from swelling. 90% of the cannabinoid content in whole-plant hemp oil is CBD. A recent study on the neurological benefits of CBD also provided compelling evidence that CBD curtails inflammatory stimuli, diminishes neuroinflammation, and provides neuroprotection. And thanks to the antioxidant properties in full-plant CBD oil, CBD can also mitigate the impact of free radicals on cancer development and chronic inflammation.
Other Cannabinoids in Whole-Plant CBD for Inflammation
Beyond CBDA/CBD, there are other notable precursors to anti-swelling phytocannabinoids in whole-plant CBD extract known to systematically treat inflammation. These precursors can transform into descendant phytocannabinoids by combining with other natural chemicals through a system characterized as the “cannabinoid biosynthetic pathway.” Through direct and indirect actions, many of the derivative, plant-based phytocannabinoids created from these acids work together to interact with endocannabinoids in our bodies to reduce inflammation.
- CBGA (Cannabigerolic Acid)
CBGA (aka ‘the mother of all cannabinoids’) is the precursor to three core phytocannabinoids that help cure inflammation: CBD, THC, and CBC (discussed below). In other words, CBDA/CBD, THCA/THC, and CBCA/CBC byproducts all start as CBG from CBGA acid.
In addition to being a productive (and natural) inflammation treatment for anti-inflammatory disorders and inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease), CBG from CBGA has also been effective as an analgesic for pain relief. It may also delay the buildup of bacteria.
- CBCA (Cannabichromenic Acid)
CBCA is another indirect, natural anti-inflammatory agent. CBCA is the raw enzyme precursor to its derivative CBC (Cannabichromene). Interestingly enough, CBC is a unique phytocannabinoid that doesn’t interact with our cannabinoid receptor proteins, CB1 and CB2, like the other cannabis-derived phytocannabinoids. Instead, CBC interacts with receptors in our body involved in pain perception.
CBC from CBCA acts as a natural anti-inflammatory treatment by indirectly modulating our ECS and facilitating our natural molecular and physiological processes. It also consistently demonstrates antiviral, analgesic, minor antifungal, and strong antibacterial functions.
- Cannabichromevarin (CBCV)
CBCV has a similar but shorter chemical structure to that of CBC. CBCV is a powerful and natural anti-inflammatory phytocannabinoid that mitigates inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. CBCV is only found in activated cannabis extract. Beyond its impressive effectiveness as an inflammation treatment, CBCV is also a compelling anticonvulsant, antidepressant, antibiotic, analgesic, and anti-fungal.
CBCV can produce these benefits by sustaining the naturally occurring anandamide (AEA) neurotransmitter in our brain (i.e., inhibiting the reuptake of AEA). CBCV is often found in activated cannabis strains with less of the CBD and THC phytocannabinoids that people rave about.
- Cannabinol (CBN)
CBN is yet another phytocannabinoid that helps reduce inflammation. CBN, which makes up less than 1% of many cannabis plants, is created when THC is exposed to high temperatures and oxygen. The process to get to CBN goes from CBGA > THCA > CBNA > CBN, which involves a combination of natural and manmade activities. Because there’s such a maturation process to produce this substance, CBN doesn’t interact with our inherent CB1 and CB2 receptors in the same way as other phytocannabinoids.
Beyond helping to cure inflammation, CBN may promote healthy bone tissue, help heal bone fractures and reduce pain, according to preliminary findings. CBN could also have significant benefits as a sedative and sleep aid, mood enhancer, burn remedy, and possibly even as an anti-bacterial for MRSA, but more research is needed.
CBD for Inflammation from Arthritis
CBD has a long history of ameliorating pain from arthritis, the leading cause of disability in the U.S. today. CBD is commonly known as a natural anti-inflammatory for Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), which causes painful inflammation and swollen and stiff joints. A 2017 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health found that CBD may also be a safe and effective cure for Osteoarthritis (OA) join paint. OA is a type of arthritis that causes stiffness in joint cartilage and bones, often impacting the hip, knee, and thumb joints.
From Ibuprofen to Plant-Based CBD for Inflammation Treatment
Reading the back of a bottle of anti-inflammatory drugs today can be frightening. Ibuprofen, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can cause liver damage, ulcers, high blood pressure, dizziness, stroke, and a list of other issues. Because of the liver injury and other serious side effects of these anti-inflammatory drugs, athletes, overworked professionals, and many other folks are seeing the innumerable benefits of upgrading to natural CBD for inflammation and pain management.
The endocannabinoids in our brain that CBD interacts with, CB1 antagonists and CB2 agonists, have been proactively researched for some time now for the treatment of liver injury and lingering pain. Its positive effects on the liver compared to that of nonnatural anti-inflammatory drugs are further driving the switch from Ibuprofen and aspirin to plant-derived CBD for inflammation and pain.
Are you looking for more information on CBD for inflammation treatment? Give us a call at 786.953.6838. We’d love to chat. And, if you’re interested in finding out about cannabis for chronic pain, browse our article, Cannabis for Pain Relief - Exploring the Possibilities.
For information on using marijuana to reduce inflammation or treat inflammation, see our related page “Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions” and to learn more marijuana facts, visit our medical marijuana FAQ page. Call us at (786) 953-6838 to schedule an appointment and get your marijuana card today!