- General Health
CBD Oil as Treatment for Inflammation
Part of the body’s defense mechanism is inflammation, and this process involves the immune system recognizing and removing harmful agents. There is short-term, or acute, and long-term, or chronic, inflammation. Sadly, chronic inflammatory diseases are the world’s most significant cause of death, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
At the beginning of the 21st century, an estimated 125 million Americans were living with a chronic condition. And, Sixty-one million had more than one! Fast forward to 2014, and an estimated 60% of Americans had a chronic condition. Globally, 60% of deaths are due to chronic inflammatory disease. Examples include cancer, heart disorder, diabetes, and obesity.
The prevalence of the condition means that manufacturers of Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) make a lot of profit. But, not all drugs of this nature are effective. They can also lead to a myriad of side effects such as high blood pressure and headaches. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why CBD oil for inflammation is now widespread.
CBD’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties mean it is now a viable option for countless patients. It is non-intoxicating and reported side effects to date are relatively mild. Inflammation has a link with a wide variety of diseases and their symptoms and early studies suggest that CBD for inflammation has merit. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Inflammation?
The process of inflammation involves the body’s white blood cells, and the substances they produce. These cells protect us from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign organisms. In certain inflammatory diseases, like arthritis, our immune system triggers an inflammatory response even when there is nothing to fight.
These ‘autoimmune’ diseases result in our immune system causing damage to itself. The body thinks healthy tissues are infected and acts like it would when faced with a real threat. Inflammation in the body isn’t always a bad thing. However, in the case of autoimmune diseases, it becomes a massive problem. Examples of inflammatory disorders include hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and coeliac disease.
What Causes Inflammation?
Chemicals from the body’s white blood cells get released into the blood or affected tissues during the inflammation process. In general, this process helps keep your body protected from unwanted pathogens. When we release these chemicals, blood flow to the point of infection or injury is increased. You may notice a red coloring or a feeling of warmth at this point. Occasionally, some of the chemicals result in a fluid leak into the tissues. The consequence is swelling.
Over time, the increased number of cells and inflammation, result in joint irritation. Subsequent issues include joint lining swelling and the wearing down of the cartilage.
There are two primary types of inflammation:
- Acute Inflammation: Your tissue becomes damaged because of harmful compounds, a microbial invasion, or trauma. It begins quickly, and the symptoms become severe in a short space of time. There is also ‘subacute’ inflammation. This is the period between acute and chronic inflammation and lasts 2-6 weeks in general.
- Chronic Inflammation: This is long-term inflammation that lasts from several months to years. The effects and extent of problems associated with chronic inflammation vary depending on the nature of the injury. Your body’s ability to repair itself also matters.
Inflammation in humans has been investiagted for thousands of years. Interestinlgy, back in the first century AD, a Roman physician named Aulos Cornelius Celsus described the 4 signs of inflammation:
- Redness: Caused by the dilation of small blood vessels at the point of injury.
- Heat: From increased blood flow experienced only in the skin and other peripheral parts of the body.
- Swelling: The accumulation of fluid outside of the blood vessels.
- Pain: This comes from the distortion of the tissues caused by swelling. Chemical mediators of inflammation, such as prostaglandins and serotonin, also play a role.
Symptoms of Inflammation
There are many inflammation symptoms, including:
- Swollen joints
You may also experience flu-like symptoms such as:
- Muscle stiffness
- Loss of appetite
If you have an autoimmune disorder, inflammation can impact your organs. The types of symptoms vary according to the affected organ:
- Kidney inflammation could result in kidney failure or high blood pressure.
- Lung inflammation could lead to shortness of breath.
- Heart inflammation (myocarditis) could result in fluid retention.
There are several risk factors associated with chronic inflammation. These include:
- Age: There is a link between the aging process and increased levels of inflammatory molecules.
- Diet: Your body tends to produce more of these molecules if you eat a diet high in trans-fats and saturated fat. If you are obese, your risk of inflammation also increases. Fat tissue is an endocrine organ. It secrets inflammatory mediators, such as multiple adipokines.
- Smoking: Smokers usually produce fewer anti-inflammatory molecules.
- Sleep Problems & Stress: Emotional and physical stress are linked with the release of inflammatory cytokine. Stress can also result in sleep disorders. Individuals with irregular sleep schedules are at a higher risk of chronic inflammation than consistent sleepers.
- Low Sex Hormones: Estrogen, testosterone, and other sex hormones can suppress the production and secretion of numerous inflammatory markers.
There are a variety of treatment options for diseases like arthritis where inflammation is a factor. Typically, the goals of treatment include:
- Slowing down or correcting the underlying disease process.
- Modifying or avoiding any activities that aggravate pain.
- Use of drugs to relieve pain.
- Maintaining muscle strength and joint movement via physical therapy.
- Use of splints, canes, or braces to reduce joint stress.
Anti-inflammatory drugs reduce swelling and inflammation and decrease pain. The medication available often has different effects. As a result, a physician may prescribe more than one class of drug. Examples include:
- Corticosteroids: Prednisone is a popular option.
- Biologic Drugs: Includes rituximab, abatacept, and infliximab.
- DMARDs: Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs such as azathioprine and sulfasalazine.
- NSAIDs: Includes naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin.
- Antimalarial Medications: A popular option is hydroxychloroquine.
There is a significant link between inflammation and diet. Controlling what you eat and drink plays a major role in treating and managing any inflammatory condition. If you are overweight, engaging in a sensible and healthy lifestyle with a better diet and more exercise can help greatly. Consider the following:
- A Low-Glycemic Diet: Limit the consumption of refined carbohydrates and fructose corn syrup.
- Nuts: Snacks such as almonds can reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Fruits & Vegetables: Increase intake of cabbage, brussels sprouts, apples, and blueberries.
- Fiber: A high intake of dietary insoluble and soluble fiber lowers specific inflammatory markers.
- Fish Oil: A higher intake of Omega-3 fatty acids also reduces inflammatory markers.
Human clinical trials suggest that exercise lowers a variety of pro-inflammatory molecules, independent of weight loss. Recent research suggests that CBD oil for inflammation is also potentially useful.
CBD Oil for Inflammation
Studies show that CBD for inflammation could reduce the level of chronic pain a person feels. It does so by impacting our endocannabinoid receptor activity. The result is decreased inflammation as cannabidiol interacts with our body’s neurotransmitters. Several human studies show a link between THC and CBD’s combined consumption and effective pain relief.
A study by Hammell D.C., published in the European Journal of Pain in July 2016, analyzed the effect of transdermal CBD on rats. Researchers induced arthritis in rodents and applied CBD gels of varying strengths to the affected areas. The strengths were 0.6, 3.1, 6.2, and 62.3mg per day for four consecutive days.
The results showed that “transdermal CBD gel significantly reduced joint swelling, limb posture scores as a rating of spontaneous pain” and more. The researchers concluded that topical CBD application has “therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviors and inflammation.” Moreover, CBD didn’t display any evidence of adverse side effects.
A study by Bruni N., published in Molecules in October 2018, looked at various cannabinoid delivery systems for pain and inflammation treatment. It was a review of studies and looked at recent developments in the use of cannabinoid delivery methods on inflammation.
The researchers remarked that their peers were publishing more than 1,000 articles on the topic each year. The data so far suggests that combining THC and CBD could “produce rapid systemic effects and long-term outcomes.” It also found that intranasal cannabinoid sprays were particularly useful for inflammation.
Is CBD Considered an Anti-Inflammatory?
The short answer is ‘yes.’ A growing number of researchers believe that CBD has anti-inflammatory effects. Remember, CBD is a non-intoxicating marijuana and hemp compound. It doesn’t provide the ‘high’ associated with its counterpart, THC. There is even a suggestion that CBD oil for inflammation is as effective as OTC anti-inflammatories.
There is a growing trend towards combining CBD with curcumin. And, there is significant evidence that the latter has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In theory, combining two compounds with these benefits should work wonders. In practice, both have a relatively low rate of bioavailability.
You can increase it by altering your method of consumption. Vaporized CBD has a higher absorption rate than oral or sublingual consumption, for example. There is also an advanced nano-emulsification process in use. It involves shrinking and suspending tiny droplets of CBD oil so that it can pass through cell walls easily.
The ‘how much CBD oil for inflammation?’ This question is a tough one to answer. Primarily because how much you need depends on a wide range of factors. These include your weight, general health, and metabolism. A good rule of thumb involves using a small amount, around 2.5-5mg of CBD per day to begin with. Increase as needed. You may find that you need anywhere from 10-100mg per day in the end!
Final Thoughts on CBD for Inflammation
The genesis of many human diseases involves inflammation and oxidative stress. It is hard to find a solution because both issues ‘feed’ off one another. The myriad of drugs at our disposal do not help matters. If these medications were truly effective, the rate of inflammatory diseases wouldn’t increase so rapidly. The growing movement towards CBD oil for inflammation shows frustration at traditional drugs.
There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests CBD for inflammation is potentially effective. However, don’t assume that cannabidiol is a ‘magic potion.’ Taking it while continuing to engage in an unhealthy lifestyle will only lead to disappointment. We recommend using CBD for inflammation in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Unfortunately, we must wait for further research to confirm the potential efficacy of CBD for inflammation. Until then, the FDA only approves a Big Pharma creation called Epidiolex. We hope that common sense will prevail, and CBD becomes federally legal, sooner rather than later.