Your immune system plays a vital role in your overall wellbeing. It protects your body from germs and toxic substances that would make you sick. It does not get much attention when everything is okay, so it is often in the backseat. However, those who want to take care of it, often use natural supplements like CBD.
The way the immune system works is intricate, but let's simplify it.
When foreign objects enter the body, your immune system releases antibodies to fend off their antigens. Antigens are protein substances on the surface of a foreign object, such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and cells. The antibodies recognize and destroy or attempt to destroy the object with the antigens.
The immune system comprises three types – acquired, passive, and innate immunity.
You get acquired immunity when exposed to foreign antigens. The body learns about these invaders and responds by producing antibodies to fight off the foreign antigens. These antibodies are then stored in the body in readiness for a future attack. One way to get acquired immunity is through immunization.
Passive immunity is attributed to antibodies that are not yours. This is typically the case between a mother and her unborn child. The antibodies pass from mother to child via the placenta.
Passive immunity is short-lived and usually wears off 6-12 months after birth. Injections or antiserums can enhance this type of immunity by providing immediate protection from an antigen.
Innate immunity is the default immune system you are born with. It comprises the skin, the mucosal membrane, the cornea, and the genitourinary tract. These create a physical barrier and protect the body against toxic germs and substances. Innate immunity is hereditary and becomes active once you are born.
Every cell in your body also contains antigens, including the HLA antigens. Typically, your immune system recognizes these as part of the body and usually does not respond to them.
However, in some cases, it may fail to do so and respond, triggering off a range of autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, lupus, thyroid diseases, and type 1 diabetes.
The exact causes of autoimmunity are unknown, but scientists think genetics and environmental triggers may be behind it.
The molecular mimicry theory is a popular theory used to explain autoimmunity. It proposes that the body and pathogens can have identical amino acid sequences and structures.
When these pathogens enter the body, the immune system responds to them and, accidentally, to the host's epitopes. This leads to harmful immune pathology.
Does CBD boost your immune system?
CBD, aka cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. A growing body of studies indicates it has numerous health benefits, though this is inconclusive.
Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, painkilling, and neuroprotective properties are still under study, but early findings are promising.
To understand how CBD may help your immune system perform better, we should start by understanding the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and how it works. The ECS and your immune system are interrelated in so many ways.
The ECS is the body's "immune system gatekeeper." It plays a vital role in regulating immunity and keeping you safe. It is made up of endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2), endocannabinoids (e.g., anandamide [AEA], and 2-arachidonoylglycerol [2-AG]), and enzymes that break down the endocannabinoids.
Researchers believe it performs many functions but identify homeostasis as one of the most important. It is also an immune-cannabinoid modulator, which basically means it can vary or regulate the overall functioning of the immune system.
Although the full extent of ECS's immunomodulatory effects is still being studied, here is what we know.
At optimum concentrations, specific cannabinoids like CBD may minimize inflammatory responses in people with autoimmune diseases. Further, research shows that cannabinoids may have a role in neurodegeneration and neurogenesis.
Multiple studies, for example, show that cannabinoids are therapeutic in animal models of brain injury, cerebral ischemia, stroke, and tauopathy. These studies also show that the immune system plays a significant role in these neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.
Moreover, chemical messengers in the ECS facilitate communication between the immune system and the body, providing instructions on when and where to engage defensive measures.
For example, the transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 (TRPV2)—a protein that improves cellular communication with the extracellular environment—is a key player in healthy immune system functioning.
Studies show that CBD activates the TRPV2 receptors and impacts other transient receptor potential (TRP) channels that support immunity.
Often, your body produces its own cannabinoids to facilitate these functions. However, endocannabinoids are similar to phytocannabinoids (plant-based cannabinoids like CBD and THC) and impact the ECS in the same way. So, whether you have consumed cannabis or not, you have cannabinoids in your body.
What does CBD do to your immune system?
Phytocannabinoids interact with the ECS in the same way endocannabinoids do. Their action mechanisms may be different, though. For example, while most phytocannabinoids bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptor cells, CBD does not.
Researchers think it influences ECS function by inhibiting the breakdown of certain endocannabinoids to prolong their effects. There is another view that CBD binds with yet-to-be-discovered receptors, a view that underlines the ECS's recent discovery.
So, how exactly does CBD impact the immune system?
Promotes development of natural killer cells
Research on autoimmune health using animal test subjects demonstrates that CBD oil from hemp may potentially affect your immune system by stifling the activity of B cells, T cells, and both T cytotoxic and T helper cells.
But beyond the context of autoimmunity, CBD supports the action of natural killer (NK) cells (white blood cells). The NK cells are essential in shaping the body's response to viruses.
CBD also supports the action of T cells, which share similar properties with NK cells. For these reasons, in vitro studies show that CBD may be helpful for people seeking better liver immunity.
Supports healthy inflammatory response
Studies show that CBD possesses anti-inflammatory properties and could help maintain healthy inflammatory responses. For example, it has been shown to suppress the production of cytokines and reduce neutrophilia in mice.
Cytokines are proteins that regulate the growth and activity of immune system cells and other blood cells. They essentially trigger the immune system to do its job. However, if their production is not regulated, the result can be severe inflammation (cytokine storm).
Promotes healthy gut microbiota
The microbiota is a diverse community of fungi, viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms in a specific habitat, such as the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract).
On the other hand, the microbiome refers to the body's whole ecosystem, including microbes, genomes, and environmental factors.
The microbiota's primary job is to defend the gut from invasion by external germs and potentially hazardous microbes through various strategies, including competing directly for limited resources and regulating host immune responses.
Typically, inflammation is a sign that the body's immune system is functioning. However, too much inflammation in the GI tract can lead to an imbalance in gut microbiota, intestinal permeability, and poor immune system response.
Fortunately, the ECS plays a critical role in maintaining balance in the gut. Human trials suggest that CBD supports healthy gut inflammatory responses.
Calming against mild stress
CBD's anxiolytic properties are linked to its stress-relieving abilities. Even though research is ongoing, several studies indicate that CBD may induce positive outcomes in people with stress.
For example, a 2020 review of 76 studies published between 2019 and 2020 on the effects of CBD on anxiety, stress, depression, and dementia concluded that it might be a promising alternative treatment.
Since CBD does not bind to cannabinoid receptors like endogenous cannabinoids, its action mechanism is tied to its effect on the 5-HT1A serotonin receptor. In particular, CBD has been shown to boost serotonin levels, thereby contributing to a calming effect.
This cannabinoid also exerts its stress-relieving effects by increasing blood flow to regions in the brain involved in anxiety regulation, including the hippocampus, amygdala, cingulate cortex, and hypothalamus.
In human studies, CBD has been shown to reduce mild stress during public speaking. For instance, in a 2018 study, researchers noted that a 300mg dose of oral CBD made the speakers calmer and more relaxed during their speech.
While CBD's stress-relieving properties are promising, it is important to remember that it may not work for everyone.
Does CBD help with autoimmune diseases?
It does appear that CBD can strengthen the immune system and therefore may offer some benefits to people with autoimmune diseases.
Two studies conducted in 2020 and 2021 suggest that CBD has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. These properties could be beneficial for people with autoimmune diseases, considering that inflammation is a common symptom.
In the 2020 study, the evidence strongly suggested that CBD is immunosuppressive. It exerts this property by directly inhibiting or activating multiple immune cell types, inducing immune cell apoptosis, and stimulating regulatory cells, which regulate other immune cell targets.
Although CBD shows promise in improving immune system function, research findings are preliminary. More in-depth investigations are required to comprehensively understand how it interacts with the immune system.
How much CBD to take for autoimmune disease
Despite scientific advances and clearer insights into human health, determining the root cause of a chronic illness remains a challenge.
Researchers understand little about autoimmune disorders. Worse, there are 80+ recognized autoimmune disorders (and counting) that affect different parts of the body.
Everyone is unique, and because autoimmune illnesses are so diverse, the therapeutic dose range varies substantially across individuals. It may take trial and error to determine your ideal dose.
Check with your physician if you want to learn more about CBD dosage; this may help avoid potentially unfavorable drug interactions.
With CBD, starting slow and low is often advised. Take the recommended dosage based on your weight (2 to 6mg for every 10 pounds of weight). Continue for another week after adjusting the dosage as necessary.
People generally don't develop CBD tolerance, so once you've identified your sweet spot, lock in that dose and stick to it.
Best CBD oil for the immune system
CBD may offer a much-needed boost to your immune system, especially if it is weak or you want to improve your general health. The ideal way to use CBD oil to enhance your immunity or manage your immune response is by taking it sublingually.
Our Sleep Drops are designed to give you a perfect night's sleep. These are made with organic CBD, CBN, and MCT oil to promote better, deeper sleep. This product contains 1000 mg of premium hemp CBD and CBN and is sweetened with stevia to make it easy to ingest.For daytime use, we recommend the Premium CBD Drops. These drops, available in broad spectrum and full spectrum options, come in 3 strength levels—1000, 2000, and 3000mg—and 5 distinct flavors to mask the grassy aftertaste and help boost your immunity and overall wellbeing.