New Study Provides Insight On Anti-Inflammatory Properties Of Cannabinoids
The human body experiences inflammation whenever we consume or expose ourselves to toxic ingredients, bacteria, or chemicals. Inflammation can also occur as a response to injury.
What happens next is that the body sends out numerous inflammatory cells whose goal is to get rid of the viruses or agents that cause inflammation. While oftentimes we can see or feel inflammation in our external body, such as the skin, inflammation can also affect our internal organs which means we can’t see them. This is why we experience symptoms of inflammation, which can range from fatigue and fever to chest pain, sores, and much more. When chronic inflammation is left untreated, this can cause several conditions such as asthma, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and much more.
With more and more people becoming concerned about inflammatory foods and substances, there is a shift in eating habits and general lifestyle with the intention of reducing inflammation completely. In the long run, this helps prevent disease. There are also many antioxidant supplements we can consume to help reduce inflammation. Antioxidants work by fighting free radicals within the body, which cause inflammation.
That’s where cannabis comes in.
Cannabis is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory substances out there.
A new study was just released, validating the already existing solid evidence we have on the antioxidant properties of weed. Researchers from the Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena at Germany were studying how various cannabinoids in marijuana work to treat inflammation. They specifically focused on cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the two most prolific cannabinoids in weed, as well as 6 other cannabinoids.
The findings, which were published in Cell Chemical Biology, confirmed that all cannabinoids possessed anti-inflammatory properties.
“All the compounds we studied were found to inhibit the pro-inflammatory messenger substances in cells while enhancing the formation of inflammation-resolving substances,” explains Lukas Peltner, the study’s co-author and a doctoral student.
It was also interesting to note that they discovered CBD was the most powerful anti-inflammatory out of all cannabinoids studied. They found that CBD activates an enzyme called 15-lipoxygenase-1, which is responsible for promoting the production of inflammation-treating substances. They also conducted animal experiments to further study it.
“CBD thus induces a switch in the affected cells, so to speak, which steers the inflammatory process from the promoting to the inhibiting side,” added Dr. Paul Mike Jordan, a study co-author. They recommended that researchers focus on the use of CBD for developing new medications for inflammatory conditions.
What Other Studies Say
Inflammation is one of the most well-known conditions that cannabis can treat. Integrating cannabis, or CBD products, into your lifestyle can greatly help reduce the chance of acquiring diseases caused by long-term, low-grade inflammation in the body.
Inflammation can occur in many different parts of the body, and there are studies to back up how well it works for a variety of scenarios.
For example, a 2023 study conducted by researchers from Indiana University analyzed how cannabis users were less likely to suffer inflammation associated with head trauma compared to non-cannabis consumers. The investigators studied 43 soccer players for the study, since these athletes commonly suffer head impacts during the game. The participants were divided into groups of cannabis users and those who abstained, and not surprisingly, cannabis consumers had less head impairment.
“This current study has rigorously isolated subconcussive effects and assessed for the potential effects between cannabis use and head impacts on the brain,” they wrote. “Our data show that chronic cannabis use may be associated with an enhancement of oculomotor functional resiliency and suppression of the neuroinflammatory response following soccer heading,” they concluded.
Another study dating back to 2010 reveals that 25mg of a 9.5% cannabis solution administered thrice a day for five days was effective enough for treating pain associated with nerve pain or chronic neuropathic pain.
Another older study from 2007 validated the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabinoids for skin inflammation, making it suitable for managing hard-to-treat skin conditions such as eczema. Researchers from the University of Bonn in Germany discovered that topically administering THC was beneficial in treating inflammation among mice who were exposed to chemical irritants. Meanwhile, they also found that the mice who were short of certain endocannabinoid receptors had more allergic reactions to the said irritants.
“These results demonstrate a protective role of the endocannabinoid system in treating contact allergy in the skin and suggest a target for therapeutic intervention,” the authors wrote.
These studies and more prove that cannabis is indeed effective in calming down inflammation around the body, and thus reducing the likelihood of diseases that occur as a result of them.
Deciding Which Products Work Best For You
There are many different types of cannabis products that are well-suited for treating inflammation. If you don’t mind the psychoactive effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), you can consume products that are high in THC. However, many people especially the elderly and young, are better off avoiding THC. In these cases, high CBD formulations with no THC are recommended.
You may also want to try full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD products, as well as those that are rich in the myriad of terpenes and cannabinoids also found in marijuana. Studies prove that the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids are more powerful when taken together because they enhance each other’s benefits rather than consuming isolates. This is known as the entourage effect.
If you are curious about using cannabis for treating inflammation, talk to your doctor or a budtender from a licensed dispensary at your state. They may be able to provide recommendations on the best dosages and consumption methods to help you.