CBD Oils and Auto-Immune Diseases
What Are Auto-Immune Diseases?
CBD oil usually comes in a bottle with a dropper and can be taken under the tongue or mixed in with food or drink
CBD oil and other byproducts (such as CBD tinctures or CBD extracts) can help patients suffering from a wide range of conditions, like epilepsy, PTSD or anxiety. Recent research has shown that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties can help those who suffer from autoimmune diseases as well. Is that possible? Let’s find out!
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA), autoimmune diseases are a series of chronic illnesses that involve almost every human organ system. More than 24 million people in the US alone suffer from some type of autoimmune disease (about 7% of the total population). These disorders seem to be more prevalent in women rather than men, with female patients accounting for two-thirds of all cases.
Autoimmune diseases can occur for no apparent reason and affect the immune system. Under normal circumstances, our immune system protects us from harmful bacteria and viruses that enter the organism. In cases of autoimmune diseases, however, the body mistakes its own healthy tissue and cells as pathogens and produces antibodies and T-Cells to fight them. This results in an inflammatory reaction from the affected area, that causes pain and discomfort. Most autoimmune diseases aren’t curable, so patients have to live with their condition, and treat it with strong medicine.
Common Autoimmune Conditions
AARDA has listed about 150 autoimmune conditions that affect all parts of the body. However, only a few of them are responsible for most cases. The most common autoimmune disorders are:
Inflammatory bowel diseases
Type 1 diabetes
All of these disorders cause severe inflammation in different parts of the body, that is usually treated with immuno-suppressants and anti-inflammatory medication. These drugs are highly potent and can potentially have harmful side-effects.
And this is where hemp comes in: Researchers believe that cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties can be the catalyst for autoimmune patients. But how much truth is there in this statement?
How Can CBD Oil Help With Autoimmune Diseases
CBD is a naturally occurring compound of the cannabis plant and is explicitly extracted from low-THC strains (hemp). THC and CBD are the two most prevalent among hundreds of cannabinoids found naturally in marijuana, and their roles are entirely different: THC is psychoactive and is responsible for the “high” associated with marijuana consumption. CBD however, works antagonistically with THC and provides a non-psychoactive, relaxing feeling that comes with a host of health benefits to the user.
CBD is often extracted from legally grown hemp (which is essentially low-THC cannabis) and comes in a wide assortment of products, such as CBD oil, CBD tinctures, isolates, and extracts. Research has shown that CBD works by interacting directly with specific receptors within our body, sscientists call the endocannabinoid system (ECS)!
The Endocannabinoid System
When we talk about the endocannabinoid system, we must think of it as a collection of cell receptors and molecules that are distributed throughout our body. These receptors are designed to work with specific chemical compounds (in this case, endocannabinoids). The two primary receptors of the ECS are called CB1 and CB2. Whenever cannabinoids interact with one of these two receptors, neurotransmitters release messages to the cells, guiding their moves.
Endocannabinoids are essentially compound similar to the ones found in the cannabis plant. Two of the most prevalent are anandamide and AG-2. These chemical compounds regulate many fundamental body functions such as:
Pleasure and reward
Essentially, endocannabinoids maintain an internal balance on the body called homeostasis. When this balance is disrupted, bad things can happen. And this is precisely where phytocannabinoids such as CBD comes into play.