cannabis for the immune system
cannabis for the immune system

People Want to Know - Does Cannabis Help or Hurt Your Immune System?

Does CBD help the immune system and THC hurt it, or vice versa, or both?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Monday Apr 6, 2020

How to Boost your Immune System with Cannabis

cannabis for your immune system

There is a very complex balancing act between cannabis and the immune system. For thousands of years already, cannabis Sativa has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes all over the world. Loads of ancient civilizations from the Greeks to the Chinese included cannabis in the medicinal boxes. Then, there was no real interest in how it worked. It was only a matter of using it because it works. That was before the time of serious science and control by those who have money and power.

Now, in this time and age, there are scientific interventions and research into studying the plant and understanding how it works, and how it can help to fight against diseases and disorders. They want to know how it interacts with the complex biology of human and animal systems. But even after years of studying the plant, there is still a limited understanding of how it interacts with the immune system.

Some studies indicate that certain cannabinoids like THC and CBD act as an immunosuppressant. This is particularly helpful for those struggling with autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation. Other studies show again that regular cannabis use can increase white blood cell counts in immunodeficiency disorders like HIV. It acts as an immune booster. How can it do both at the same time?

A quick overview of the Immune System

As research progresses, it is becoming clearer that the endocannabinoids in our bodies and the cannabinoids in the cannabis plant have the potential to interact with the immune system functioning. Cannabis can modulate the immune system. The trick is to know which way. We are constantly surrounded by diseases, bacteria, and viruses just waiting for the right moment to create havoc like we are seeing right now with Covid-19. This is where our immune system comes in. Without a defense mechanism, we would not last 5 minutes on this planet. There is a complex network of cells, tissues, and organs that are constantly looking out for us and keeping us going.


Leukocytes – This key player in the immune system seeks harmful agents out and destroy them. There are two types of leukocytes. Lymphocytes destroy antigens and help the body remember what attacked it. Phagocytes absorb and neutralize foreign intruders. It is from the utmost importance to keep the balance of healthy cells, as too many dead cells cause autoimmune disorders, and too little create the perfect environment for cancer.

Cannabis is found to treat disorders like Lupus, PANDAS, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, to name a few. One of the main symptoms treatable by cannabis is a problem with inflammation. It is thus important to understand how cannabis influences the immune system. If you are suffering from cancer, you don’t want cannabis to suppress the immune system, or visa versa if you have an autoimmune disorder.


How do Cannabis and the Endocannabinoid Receptors work?

The endocannabinoid system has two main G-protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2), endogenous ligands known as endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), plus proteins that transport endocannabinoids and enzymes that break them down in the body.  

Endocannabinoids are produced on command. It travels across chemical synapses and modulates cell activity. It continuously works to maintain biological balance. This is where the CB1 and CB2 receptors come to play. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors are found on immune cells.

CB1 receptors- are widely expressed in the nervous system. They are present in the brain, lungs, vascular system, muscles, gastrointestinal tract, reproductive organs, immune system, liver, pancreas, and bone marrow.

CB2 receptors- they are mainly expressed by the cells of the immune system. Any modulatory effects of cannabis will be mediated through the CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors are found in the spleen, bones, skin, immune system, liver, bone marrow, and pancreas.

Everything looks like it not too difficult to understand, but then cannabinoids can also activate other receptors, like TRPV1, PPARa, PPARg, and GPR55 that are all important in immune system functioning.


The Tricky Business of Cannabinoids and the Immune System

The immune system can be divided into two. Innate immunity is what you get when you are born. You receive monocytes and macrophages to attack and absorb foreign agents. You also get cytokines and chemokines secreted by immune cells to neutralize agents of infections. This almost always leads to inflammation.

It is old news that cannabinoids reduce inflammation. CBD reduces pro-inflammatory signals like cytokines via the CB2 receptors. Cannabinoids boost thus the immune response. Innate immunity function improves with cannabis-mediated signaling.

The adaptive immunity system gets regulated T-cells, B-cells, and antibodies. When you have an infection or get a vaccine, these antibodies build. It is a very important function in recognizing and attacking cells that are out of control. It is also important when there is an allergic response as it recruits a specific antibody called IgE.

When it comes to the adaptive immunity system, the role of cannabinoids in its modulation is not so clear. As studies continue, more light will fall on exactly how it works.


Does Cannabis Boost the Immune System Then?

The answer is yes and no. When it comes to the adaptive immunity system, dosages come in play to fight cancer as an example. But a too revved-up immune system can lead to autoimmune diseases. Innate immunity has to be balanced to prevent inflammation because if not, it can lead to so many other diseases. It boils down to what you are seeking treatment for. With that in mind, the correct way to use cannabis could boost your immune system.











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