The hemp plant compound, cannabidiol, has risen to prominent positions in the world markets for its therapeutic properties. Medicinal supplements containing CBD or combinations of CBD and other important cannabis phytochemicals have excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
What Is Inflammation?
Before we get into the discussions about the working mechanism of CBD through which it offers inflammation relief, it is important to understand the scientific side of inflammatory response generated in our body. Inflammation is the way our body responds to an injury. It is more of a signal to the immune system telling it to launch defense against pathogens like viruses, bacteria etc and heal from damage that occurred already.
Discussion about inflammation triggers is not just limited to pathogens, as factors like trauma, exposure to toxins, heat, etc could also act as potential triggers to inflammation. When the cells get damaged, they release chemicals like bradykinin, histamine, prostaglandins etc. These chemicals cause the leakage of fluid from blood vessel into the tissues leading to swelling.
Inflammation can occur in internal or external organs. The common causatives of internal inflammation are pathogens like bacteria, virus etc. On the other hand, external inflammation is often caused by physical injuries, although factors like infection and allergies can aggravate the inflammation.
Types Of Inflammation
Inflammatory response generated in the body is of two types, acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation often results from a traumatic injury like ankle sprain, strained muscles etc. The inflammation manifests itself as immobility, pain, swelling etc. Although the inflammation gives the injured people a hard time, it is in fact a defensive response intended to protect the injured area and initiate the healing process. In addition to common injuries, acute inflammation may also be caused by bacteria.
Increased production of cytokines from the T-helper cells of the immune system and macrophages cause localized pain and inflammation that are characteristic of acute inflammation. Unless the overproduction of cytokines is not checked by suitable medications like CBD, it transforms to one of chronic nature.
Chronic inflammation can be a result of any of the factors like viruses, pathogens, immune system dysfunction etc. The inflammation persists for a long period of time, may be some months or even years. When chronic inflammation results from the inability of the immune system to distinguish between foreign cells and body cells, the disorder caused as a result is called autoimmune disease. Some common examples of autoimmune disorders include asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, sinusitis etc.
How Does CBD Help Reduce Inflammation?
CBD modulates the functioning of the immune system and checks the formation of free radicals. Let us get into the details of the anti-inflammatory response generated by CBD.
CBD offers inflammation relief by:
Inhibiting Cell Proliferation
Rapid cell division is characteristic of inflammation. By slowing down the uncontrolled cell division at the site of inflammation, CBD acts as an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Inhibiting The Production Of Cytokines
Being pro-inflammatory chemical messengers, cytokines stimulate inflammatory response in the body cells. Swelling, pain and heat in the tissues are resultants of accelerated cytokine production. Cytokine is a general term that covers a number of chemical messengers. Abundant evidence confirming the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1 IL-6 etc involved in causing pain as a response to inflammation are available from research. By inhibiting the production of cytokines in affected tissues, CBD offers pain relief.
Stimulating The Induction Of T-Regulatory Cells
T regulatory (Treg) cells, the subtype of adoptive immune cell have the ability to suppress inflammatory activity. The cells have several mechanisms to modulate the auto-inflammatory events in people, and on activation, Treg cells secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10, TGF- , IL-35 etc. When CBD triggers the production of Treg cells, the inflammation levels can be controlled better.
The anti-inflammatory effects of CBD are mediated through the endocannabinoid receptors, primarily the CB2 receptor. Through a network of parallel metabolic pathways, CBD regulates the response of CB2 receptors that are responsible for modulating the inflammatory response in the body.
CBD is known to have properties that inhibit the production of FAAH (Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase) that causes the breakdown of anandamide, an important neurotransmitter. Anandamide is important in the process of maintaining homeostasis through the regulation of inflammatory response and chemical signaling.
The structural similarity of CBD with several inflammatory messengers like leukotrienes and prostaglandins etc explains the effectiveness of CBD in handling inflammatory responses in our body.
Relation Between Inflammation And Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress results from the lacking balance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Free radicals are natural byproducts of metabolic chemical processes in the body. Being unpaired, they are always on the lookout for electrons that can give them a paired configuration.
When free radicals pull out electrons from healthy body cells additional free radicals are formed causing a chain reaction to set in. Cells get damaged when free radicals pull out electrons from them.
Antioxidants take up the task of supplying electrons to free radicals before they can take out electrons from body cells. A healthy balance between the levels of free radicals and antioxidants in the body is essential to prevent cell damage. When the balance is lacking the resulting oxidative stress causes damage to proteins, nucleic acids and lipids.
Inflammation leads to the over production of free radicals leading to oxidative stress.
How Does CBD Help Reduce Oxidative Stress?
CBD is an effective antioxidant that supplies electrons to free radicals thereby blocking them before they can take out electrons from the cells and damage them. Powerful antioxidant activity makes it a suitable anti-inflammatory medication.
In a Research published in Free Radical Biology and medicine, Scientists attempted to determine the potential of CBD in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. They found that through wide ranging activity, CBD reduced inflammation and neutralized the effects of free radicals on cells.
Best Forms Of CBD To Reduce Inflammation And Pain
CBD users reporting excellent results have increased the demand that cannabidiol products have in the market. Let us discuss about some of the CBD products that can make significant contributions towards reducing inflammation.
CBD oil is generally a mixture of CBD extract belonging to any of the three spectrum options full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolate CBD and suitable carrier oil like MCT oil, coconut oil, hempseed oil etc. In order to retain the potency of the CBD oil, manufacturers hardly add any additional flavors and herbs to the CBD oil. The minimalistic nature of its ingredient profile explains why CBD oils have an earthy taste.
CBD oils are mostly taken sublingually although they can be added to edibles to make customized CBD edibles.
CBD tincture is prepared by dissolving CBD extract in alcohol base. Tinctures usually contain additional flavors and beneficial herbs that make them taste better than CBD oils. However the rise in the ingredient numbers lead to reduction of potency, which is why tinctures reportedly have lower potency than CBD oils.
It provides one of the easiest methods of taking CBD because all you got to do is pop a pill into your mouth and swallow it with water. The CBD content in each capsule will be mentioned in the capsule bottles and without any guess work, you can take the capsule in ideal dosage.
CBD topicals are meant for external application, and are prepared by adding CBD extract to topical formulations. CBD topicals is quite a big category that includes several products like CBD cream, CBD lotion, salve etc.
CBD topicals can be used to treat several inflammatory conditions like skin infections, muscle injuries, acne etc.
The intake method and ingredient profile is no different from traditional edibles except for the fact that they are infused with cannabidiol. CBD edibles are prepared by adding cannabidiol extract to common edibles like gummies, chocolate, brownies etc.
Some of the popular CBD edibles include:
- CBD brownies
- CBD gummies
- CBD chocolate
The major downside of many CBD edibles is the difficulty to measure the potency of the edible and the percentage of CBD that will reach the bloodstream through absorption in the stomach. However CBD gummies do not have similar associated shortfalls.
CBD Vape Oils And E-Liquids
Vaping is one of the quickest ways of delivering CBD into the bloodstream of the user, because the CBD in the vapors produced by heating the vape oil or CBD e-liquid enters the bloodstream easily as we inhale them.
Taking CBD To Heal General Injuries
Athletes might suffer from several injuries as part of their profession. Presence of prohibited drugs in blood can get them disqualified by agencies like World anti-Doping Agency (WADA) or respective national anti-doping agencies. However, WADA has positive stance about athletes using CBD, with it being the only cannabinoid approved by the WADA.
Taking CBD for injuries is the best way to handle the pain symptoms caused by the injury. To reduce the swelling and reduce the pain in the area affected by the injury, several topical CBD products like CBD cream, ointments etc are available in the market. For a synergistic effect, you may use it in conjunction with CBD oils.
The nature of inflammation decides the suitable method of administering CBD. Acute inflammation can be handled by using topical CBD formulations or oral CBD for a few days. However chronic inflammation demands a different pattern of CBD usage. You might have to use ingestible CBD products on a daily basis to ease the discomfort and pain caused by the inflammation.
The medicinal properties of cannabis plants known since ages inspired the adoption of the knowledge into modern medicinal formulations. CBD proves to be an excellent medication that can treat inflammation and heal general injuries without causing any side effects.