Inflammation is a perfectly natural reaction your body has when acting against negative stimuli. This does not mean it is pleasant though, and it becomes a real problem when the symptoms last too long. If you suffer from inflammation, it is crucial you seek effective treatment and work out the cause as it can lead to the development of other, very serious problems such as cancer and coronary artery disease. There are traditional treatments for inflammation, but they all have problems attached.
This article is not intended to scare you, but to inform you about an effective and 100% natural treatment that you might not know about – cannabidiol (CBD) oil. This is not a traditional treatment, but research suggests that using CBD oil may be one of the best ways to treat inflammation. It certainly seems to be the most suitable for long term sufferers.
In this article, I will break down what inflammation is, some of the more traditional treatments and look into CBD’s effect with some studies included for proof. Want to know more? Then read on…
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a crucial part of the body’s defense and healing system. It is how your body tries to repair itself after you suffer an injury; how it guards against bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders; and how it heals any damaged tissue. Without inflammation, we would actually be in pretty big trouble. Cuts and gashes, even small ones, would start to fester and could become deadly. That said, it can be very problematic and is thought to play a part in the development of several chronic diseases.
There are five classic signs of inflammation: pain, heat, swelling, redness and a loss of function in the affected area. On top of this, you may also experience symptoms more commonly associated with the flu, such as fatigue, loss of appetite, chills, headaches and fever.
Inflammation occurs when your body detects a threat to your health and releases “emergency signal” proteins known as cytokines. These call upon your nutrients, immune cells and hormones to try and fix the problem. However, these hormones also cause fever, pain and swelling as part of the restorative process. Normally, this is all healthy and doesn’t last too long, with the symptoms dying down after a few days; this is called acute inflammation. The real problems arise when the symptoms are more long-term, lasting months or even years. This is known as chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a number of diseases and conditions such as arthritis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, osteoarthritis and more. You can also bring it upon yourself with poor diet, smoking, stress, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol or not getting enough exercise.
As inflammation is part of your body’s natural defense response, if you suffer from chronic inflammation it is vital you consult a doctor to try and find out why. Take it as your body sending you an important signal, as inflammation has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, lung issues, bone health, depression, cancer, anger disorders and aggressive behavior.
Traditionally, there have been a few different ways to treat inflammation, but none have proved perfect. Here are some of the most common:
Anti-inflammation drugs – You will have heard of and probably taken some of the most common anti-inflammatory drugs, as they are very popular over-the-counter drugs. They include ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin. Collectively, these are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.
These drugs alleviate pain brought on by inflammation by counteracting one of the enzymes involved with the process. They are fine for acute inflammation but not a suitable treatment for chronic inflammation, as long-term use can lead to stomach ulcers, which can result in potentially deadly internal bleeding. Evidence suggests they may also cause damage to the kidneys, increase your chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke and worsen symptoms of asthma.
Corticosteroids are another option. These are a type of steroid hormone, with a common example being cortisol. They work against inflammation by blocking a number of mechanisms involved. There are two different sets of corticosteroids you may be prescribed: mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids. The side effects differ for the two types: glucocorticoids can bring about Cushing’s syndrome, while mineralocorticoids can cause low potassium levels in the blood, issues with acid and alkali levels in tissue, weakening of connective tissue and increased blood pressure.
While these are the most common drugs, there is evidence that other medications traditionally used against other conditions may be an effective treatment, and these are sometimes prescribed in extreme cases. These include narcotic pain relievers, biologic therapy and chemotherapy drugs. These are very strong medications and come with a whole raft of serious side effects such as addiction, nausea and hair loss.
Anti-inflammation diet – This is another popular treatment, with evidence suggesting that several different food types can be helpful in preventing inflammation. These include tomatoes, leafy greens such as kale and spinach, onions, certain fruits such as oranges and berries, fatty fish including mackerel and salmon, olive oil, whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice, and nuts including almonds and walnuts.
On the flip side, there is also a whole host of foods you should look to cut down on as much as possible to help with inflammation. These include refined carbohydrates such as pasta and white bread, sugary drinks like soda, lard and margarine, red meats and fried foods such as French fries.
As you can see, these are basically the principles of “healthy eating.” Adopting a diet based on these principles does seem to help with inflammation by boosting your immune system, but it is not enough to control inflammation alone.
Anti-Inflammation herbs – There is a variety of herbs which may help counter inflammation if taken as supplements. Common types include ginger, turmeric, willow bark, mangosteen and devils claw. Research into their effectiveness is ongoing but the evidence does suggest they may be of some help.
How Does CBD Help Against Inflammation?
As you can see, treatment for inflammation has proved to be a real problem for researchers thus far. NSAIDs are effective in the short term but not suitable for long-term usage, and corticosteroid usage can lead to a whole host of serious problems. Changing your diet does seem to help, but it is not effective in alleviating symptoms alone. However, all hope is not lost! Currently, the most positive findings are coming from studies which focus on the endocannabinoid system. These studies mainly focus on the activation of the CB1 and CB2 receptors and how they are affected by the two most powerful components of cannabis, THC and CBD.
CB1 and CB2 are the main receptors for cannabinoids in our nervous system. They are a key part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, acting as the interaction point when cannabinoids are introduced to our body. When looking at how CBD helps inflammation, the CB2 receptors are the ones to focus on, as CB2 receptors have effects on the immune system. CB1 receptors control memory, appetite, sleep, mood and perception and are affected by THC; CB2 receptors are not affected by THC.
Along with THC, CBD is the most powerful component in cannabis. It acts as an anti-inflammatory by activating CB2 receptors. Inflammation is a response from your immune system which the CB2 receptors act upon and calm – CBD activates your CB2 receptors, which in turn calms your immune system and causes inflammation symptoms to subside.
It isn’t just an effective treatment for inflammation, either. As it works on the immune system, it also helps with any conditions which are known to be at least in part linked to the immune system. This list includes both type 1 and 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, hypertension and more.
What’s even better is that research suggests there are only a few side effects. As CBD oil has no THC in, your CB1 receptors are unaffected. This means CBD oil has none of the psychoactive effects associated with the consumption of cannabis, i.e. it will not get you high. All it will do is work on making you feel better. It is a natural and effective way to combat inflammation with less risk of the adverse side effects that other treatments have.
Research into CBD Oil as Inflammation Treatment
This all sounds too good to be true, you may say. Well, you don’t have to take our word for it. Plenty of research has already been carried out looking into the effects of CBD on inflammation and its suitability as a treatment. There is more research on-going, too. As I mentioned earlier, it is a really promising area for those looking into possible treatments. The work that has already been done has been hugely positive in its findings. Here are the details of a few studies and their results:
- There have been quite a few studies that have focused on mouse models. One demonstrated that CBD was able to significantly reduce neuropathy pain, which is caused by inflammation of the nervous system.
- Another mouse-model-based study found CBD decreased inflammation in a model of acute lung injury.
- One very promising study’s results showed that CBD proved to be an effective treatment of inflammation for sufferers of rheumatoid arthritis.
- This comprehensive review study looked at several previous studies which employed a range of different experimental models and concluded that enough scientific evidence could be drawn from them to state that CBD does suppress inflammation.
- Another review study found that CBD was helpful in reducing the effect of inflammation on oxidative stress and also decreasing the risk of damage and dysfunction to the organs.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil as
If you have just started to display the symptoms of inflammation, don’t panic. It is a natural process and should subside in a couple of days. If it lasts longer than a week, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible as you could have a serious underlying problem. If you are a sufferer of chronic inflammation, then you will know that traditional treatments have problems, but the latest scientific research seems to favor CBD oil. It is an effective way to treat your condition and will help you control your symptoms. It also has only a few, more minor side effects and won’t get you high. If you combine CBD usage with a healthy diet, you should have a positive effect against your inflammation.
The search for a suitable treatment for chronic inflammation has been a long one, but signs suggest we may have finally found the answer with CBD oil. Try it today and see if it can help you.
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