CBD is a popular medicinal molecule being used as a dietary and wellness supplement. It is non-psychoactive compound whose anticonvulsant, neuro-protective and antioxidant properties have been studied in depth over the years. One of the reasons why CBD has become infamous is because of its ability to treat inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. CBD has anti-inflammatory properties which help to minimize the pain from conditions like arthritis.
CBD and the endocannabinoid system
The benefits of CBD in the body is due to the influence it exerts on the endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of two receptors: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. The receptors are found on the cell membrane of many different cell types throughout the body. CBD indirectly influences the endocannabinoid system by enhancing and reducing the binding action of certain receptors and acts as and anandamine uptake inhibitor. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid (molecule) and is characteristically similar in shape to cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. This is why the molecules are able to bind to the same receptor sites.
People often view inflammation in a negative light yet it is a vital physiological process and a fundamental aspect of the body’s natural immune response. But it is too much inflammation which causes chronic diseases like cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.
Acute inflammation due to a traumatic injury manifests as pain, redness, immobility and swelling. This is a response intended to protect the injured area and trigger the healing process. Specific cells in the body move to the affected site and clear up the damaged tissue. This process is important for the body thus anti-inflammatory medications which hinder this response are seen as controversial.
Chronic inflammation is where inflammation persists for long periods. It is caused by pathogens, viruses or an overactive immune system. It is chronic because it can last for months and sometimes years. It can also occur when the immune system perceives healthy tissues as a threat and starts to attack them resulting in an autoimmune disease like asthma, Crohn’s disease etc.
CBD and inflammation
CBD is a therapeutic treatment for both acute and chronic inflammation. One, CBD has been shown to help in mediating the immune response associated with autoimmune disorders and other conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. CBD combats inflammation by reducing the oxidative stress associated with inflammation. The molecule is able to do this by exerting an immunosuppressive effect on macrophages and microglial cells which are cells that play a role in inflammation and immunity. CBD also reduces chronic inflammation by activating glycine receptors.
CBD combats the pain and reduces the swelling and soreness associated with inflammation making it very useful for athletes who have a high risk of acute musculoskeletal injury and chronic pathologies. Due to its benefits in treating the soreness and inflammation associated with tissue micro-tears after bouts of exercise, CBD has been removed from the prohibited substances list by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Athletes have come out openly to support the use of CBD because it has helped them deal with the many times they have to deal with inflammation. The molecule shows great promise as a potential component of anti-inflammatory drugs.