Does CBD Help Regulate Immune Response?

Christine Colbert December 6, 2019 0 comments

New study suggests CBD maintains homeostasis of primary immune response to dampen out-of-control inflammation.

A recent study in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (2019), concluded that their data on CBD “overwhelmingly demonstrates” it contains immune suppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

The study showed that CBD regulates primary immune response by directly suppressing target cells, such as T-cells and microglial cells. Researchers also found that CBD “appears to downregulate pro-inflammatory pathways and upregulate anti-inflammatory pathways.” On top of CBD’s modulating effects on the body’s primary immune response, the study also pointed to the compound’s neuroprotective qualities. This makes it a potential therapy for patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The researchers left open questions about how much CBD is the right amount to promote immune response moderation. They did so by data gaps and limitations to knowledge pertaining to CBD dosage and plasma levels. But this much is clear — CBD does indeed suppress the activation of immune cells. Also, the non-intoxicating cannabinoid promotes system regulation while helping to ease inflammation.

How CBD Moderates Primary Immune Response

Typically, patients suffering from auto-immune diseases must use immunosuppressant pharmaceuticals to weaken the immune system. So, anyone with MS, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. These drugs work to suppress the impact of these auto-immune diseases on the body. Diseases that cause the immune system to attack its own cells, resulting in chronic inflammation.

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Through complex interactions via the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors, CBD can also make an impact. A study in Biochem Pharmacol (2009) also showed that CBD contains immune suppressing qualities that might prove helpful for patients battling these auto-immune diseases.

CBD an Aid to Bone Marrow Transplant Patients

In another study — published in Biol Blood Marrow Transplant (2015) — Israeli researchers discovered that CBD can lower the possible occurrence of graft-versus-host disease in bone marrow transplant patients. This is a condition where the immune system attacks the body. According to research, CBD can help reduce the chances of it happening thanks to immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.

CBD works with CB2 receptors to help reduce inflammation in the body and treat conditions that come about because of chronic inflammation, like auto-immune diseases. These receptors operate within the endocannabinoid system. They are present throughout the body, from the brain to the immune system, in the gastrointestinal tract and thymus gland.

In another study, published in the British Pharmacological Society Journals (2011), stated that CBD reduced inflammation and suppressed T-cell production. In the rodent model study mice with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis saw an improvement in their condition thanks to the cannabinoids. The conclusion of the study stated that “CBD may have potential for alleviating MS‐like pathology.”

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primary immune response of this young girl blowing her nose could ahve been helped by cannabis

So, is CBD Good or Bad for Your Immune System?

CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-documented, but what is the big takeaway from all of these studies pointing to immune suppression? Does this mean CBD is bad for your immune system?

While CBD can act as an immune suppressant, studies, like the one published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, have shown that CBD has a modulating effect. It does so by promoting regulatory cells that can help control immune cells that have gone array. It seems that CBD not only suppresses cells that are attacking the body, but it also helps promote cells that regulate the overall immune system.

A study, published in the journal PLOS One (2011), looked into how CBD affects gut-inflammation to shed more light on how it works. Researchers found that CBD modulated inflammation restored immune homeostasis. By regulating the body’s glial-immune axis, CBD prevented an inflammatory reaction in the intestine. This kind of reaction can result in intestinal damage. However, the exact cellular signaling pathways used by CBD remain unclear to researchers. Regardless, they concluded that CBD’s inflammation and immune system regulating properties could be helpful in treating bowel disorders.

Basically, what this means is that CBD holds the potential to help keep the immune system in check. It does so by preventing it from attacking the body and causing inflammation. This can be enormously helpful in treating a wide range of conditions that come about because of an out-of-whack immune system. Additional studies have shown that activated CB2 receptors help reduce immune cell invasion and joint deterioration.

primary immune response of this group of blood cells could be helped by cbd

Why This is Great News for Patients With AutoImmune Conditions

As a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, CBD can not only potentially provide a gentle, useful tool in combating a wide array of auto-immune diseases, but it can also be a softer approach to reducing inflammation. And as is the case with auto-immune diseases, subsequent inflammation often causes damage to the body. These additional flare ups can cause further injury to a system that is already attacking itself.

Most of the research on CBD’s impact on the immune system does not identify an exact dosage for maximum effectiveness. However, studies are progressing to involve human trials. The research published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research cited other studies that are already underway, which might illuminate the way for future medical cannabis treatment.