Anti-inflammatory Benefits of CBD

Cannabinoids have been proven to have an anti-inflammatory effect in numerous studies. CBD engages with the endocannabinoid system in many organs throughout the body, helping to reduce inflammation systemically. The therapeutic potential is impressively wide-ranging, as inflammation is involved in a broad spectrum of diseases.

Inflammation occurs as a natural protective response when the body is harmed. There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation occurs following an injury, infection, or illness. The immune system unleashes immune cells to the affected area to protect it, causing redness and swelling.

Chronic inflammation refers to a prolonged inflammatory response in the body. When inflammation lingers, it can detrimentally impact tissues and organs due to the increased production of free radicals, which result in oxidative stress.

Inflammation and oxidative stress are involved in many diseases. Chronic inflammation may be caused by autoimmune disorders, untreated infections or illnesses, and often plays a role in conditions such as asthma, cancer, and diabetes. Factors such as smoking, obesity, or stress may also contribute to chronic inflammation.

CBD has been touted as a potent plant-derived anti-inflammatory.

While inflammation is necessary to help protect the body as it heals, a state of ongoing or chronic inflammation is undesirable and can be a source of significant pain, anxiety, and is sometimes linked with depression. CBD has been touted as a potent plant-derived anti-inflammatory. Is there research to support its use in the treatment of acute and chronic inflammation?

What the Research Says

Research has shown that CBD is able to modulate the immune system. While CBD does not have much affinity for the body’s cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, it does affect other receptors and targets. CBD binds to TRPV1 receptors and rapidly desensitizes them. TRPV1 receptors are known to mediate pain and sensory perception, inflammation, and body temperature.

CBD has been shown to reduce inflammatory pain in animal models, but again, not by interacting directly with the body’s cannabinoid receptors. Rather, CBD appears to block inflammatory pain by interacting with another protein, the glycine receptor, which plays a critical role in transmitting pain signals from the body, through the spinal cord, and into the brain (where pain is actually perceived).

CBD also acts on inflammation by decreasing oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when there is a disturbance between the production of free radicals and antioxidant defenses, resulting in inflammation or tissue damage. CBD possesses antioxidant properties and has been shown to markedly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body following potent chemotherapy treatment.

The Studies

A 2015 review published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry by Elsevier discussed the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. The reviewers found that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body, and represents an effective potential treatment for a range of conditions characterized by inflammation.

A 2017 study in the journal Pain by publisher Lippincott, Williams, and Wilkins examined the effects of CBD in male rats with osteoarthritis. After two weeks, acute inflammation of the joints was reduced by local CBD treatment applied to the area. The administration of CBD was also found to prevent the development of nerve damage and joint pain.

In a 2011 study, BD was found to profoundly counteract the inflammation.

A 2016 study published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation by IOS Press investigated CBD as a treatment for early pancreatic inflammation in diabetic mice. Pancreatic inflammation can lead to diabetes due to an invasion of immune cells that destroy insulin-producing cells. The mice who received 10 weeks of treatment with CBD developed diabetes later than the mice that didn’t receive the treatment, and also showed a significant reduction in leukocyte activation. Leukocytes are an immune cell.

A 2011 study published in PLoS One explored the effects of CBD on acute and chronic inflammation in the gut. This elegant research was conducted on animal models with intestinal inflammation and biopsies of human patients with ulcerative colitis. CBD was found to profoundly counteract the inflammation, and also reduced intestinal damage in the mice and human biopsies by decreasing the expression of inflammatory proteins