Your immune system plays a pivotal role in your overall health as it protects your body from harmful infections and viruses. It creates, stores and distributes your body’s white blood cells which fight the bacteria and viruses that attack it. Therefore, it is imperative that your immune system is at its peak when winter approaches because, at this time of the year, your body is at its most vulnerable.
Influenza is one of the most severe and deadly viruses. According to the CDC, anywhere from 12,000 to 56,000 people die from the illness annually with over 700,000 hospitalizations. That’s crazy!
While the flu is less severe, it still results in up to 200,000 hospitalizations annually, and up to 20% of Americans suffer from it.
While you should certainly get a flu shot, there is an increasing body of evidence which suggests that CBD could significantly boost your immune system and reduce the risk of contracting winter’s viruses. First of all, let’s take a closer look at the immune system and explode some of the myths associated with it.
How Does the Immune System Keep Us Safe?
Simply put, the lack of an immune system would mean open season on our bodies as bacteria, viruses, and pathogens would attack mercilessly with no barrier to prevent them from wreaking havoc. The immune system is a complex network of tissues and cells that are constantly alert and ready to slay these enemies. A healthy immune system is capable of distinguishing our tissue from foreign bodies.
As well as launching complex attacks against harmful entities, the immune system is a model of efficiency as it recognizes and clears dead and faulty cells. Once it spots an ‘antigen’ (bacterium, viruses, pathogens, etc.), the immune system launches a counterattack to expel the invader.
Generally, the immune system gets stronger as we age although it weakens again once we approach our twilight years. The vast majority of people are born with ‘innate’ immunity, but we also benefit from ‘adaptive’ immunity as we go through life. When we are exposed to diseases or receive vaccinations, the library of antibodies against differing pathogens grows.
There are plenty of ‘natural’ ways to improve the immune system. Eat a healthy and balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables for instance. Adults should get at least seven hours of good quality restorative sleep a night. Exercise also helps because it lowers blood pressure and keeps your weight under control. CBD is another, unexpected, natural method of keeping your immune system strong. Keep reading to see how it works.
CBD & the Immune System
As is always the case with any cannabis compound and its medicinal effects, the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is the key. It is important to note that cannabis potentially suppresses the immune system, at least this is the conclusion based on preclinical research conducted by a team from the University of North Carolina in 2010. Marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are the apparent culprit. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection so decreasing it could make a virus worse.
On the other hand, too much inflammation is also a bad thing and is a feature of autoimmune diseases. Cancer and HIV/AIDS are two extreme examples of diseases marked by a significant decline in immune function. A 2012 study by Velasco, Sanchez, and Guzman found that cannabis triggers cell suicide in cancer cells. A 2015 study by Thames et al. discovered that marijuana resulted in lower viral loads in patients with HIV. They also had increased CD4 counts, a measurement of immune cells that kill HIV cells naturally.
According to Dr. David Allen, CBD potentially offers immune system control which leads to better protection against viral infections. As we already mentioned, the immune system causes an inflammatory response when attacking a virus; the result is often cold and flu-type symptoms. The body uses endocannabinoids to keep the immune response under control, but it doesn’t always fully control inflammation. CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana which could provide the ECS with a boost and ensure the inflammatory response is kept under control.
Marijuana as a Superfood
A strong and healthy immune system is one that is regularly and consistently fed nutrients. Cannabis is rightly being hailed as a ‘superfood’ in some quarters because it contains an enormous amount of awesome nutrients that help you stay in great health. Did you know that a tablespoon of hemp seed contains up to 2,500mg of Omega-6 and 1,000mg of Omega-3 fatty acids?
30 grams of shelled hempseed contains 11 grams of protein; this is a better ratio than most so-called ‘protein’ bars! Other vitamins and minerals include magnesium and vitamin E. Omega-3, in particular, helps to reduce inflammation in the body and is especially useful when trying to recover from the common cold.
Where Can I Purchase High-Quality CBD Products?
Our site is dedicated to helping you find the best CBD products both in terms of quality and value for money. One of the great things about this cannabinoid is its versatility. You can consume it in oil form either by dropping it directly under your tongue or adding it to food or drink. You can also buy it in balm form to rub on your skin or via edibles which are a convenient, and delicious, way to get enough CBD.
Final Thoughts on CBD & the Immune System
Like most research on marijuana’s compounds, we have yet to receive a clear picture of how effective CBD is when keeping the immune system strong. The key appears to be in its anti-inflammatory response. The immune system’s inflammatory response to attacks by antigens is supposed to be a good thing, but it sometimes gets out of control.
By consuming CBD regularly, you could at least reduce the impact of winter viruses such as cold and flu and possibly prevent serious conditions such as influenza. Preliminary research on cancer and HIV/AIDS patients suggests that the link between CBD and the immune system is a complex one.
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