CBD for Immunity

At this most challenging time, we are all looking for the best natural products to support our immune system, and definitely avoid any products that suppress it. So where does CBD fit in?

I am using “CBD” here as short for full spectrum hemp oil extract, from the hemp plant, of which CBD is the main cannabinoid. Hemp is a specific kind of cannabis bred to contain less than 0.3% THC, the cannabinoid in cannabis that gets you high.

CBD and Inflammation

We need to have a healthy inflammatory response to defend us against infection and injury. However, many chronic conditions are related to excessive inflammatory response: anxiety, depression, allergy, diabetes, and obesity; or autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s, lupus and MS, as described here.

All of these conditions appear to be helped by CBD, which in this case is suppressing the inflammatory response. The fact is, we NEED the inflammatory response but not to excess, so the endocannbinoid system supported by CBD will balance an overactive inflammatory response.

Interestingly, the greatest danger posed by the coronavirus is a cytokine storm ie a hyper inflammatory condition that adversely affects the lungs, and though there is an infection, the patient requires immune suppression at that point, usually in the form of corticosteroid drugs. I don’t suggest we rush in to treat with CBD at this point, but merely pointing out the shifting inflammatory process. This is a good demonstration of how under certain abnormal  circumstances, the inflammatory response can overshoot, to our detriment. A recent animal study showed that, in fact, CBD was successful in reversing cytokine storm.

CBD for Immune Support

Other studies show that cannabis, the parent plant of both marijuana and hemp, can actually enhance the immune response. Why this paradox?

First, the evidence: Studies showed that HIV/AIDS patients, immune-suppressed by definition,  and using cannabis, had significantly higher immune cell activity and lower viral counts compared to their non-user counterparts. This suggests an immune-boosting effect of cannabis.

Another in vitro (ie in a test tube study) suggested CBD has some activity against viral hepatitis C, but not hepatitis B.

So is CBD good for immunity?

We know that CBD acts on the endocannabinoid system, which interacts with all our cells and systems, including the immune system. The overall purpose of the endocannabinoid system is to create homeostasis throughout the body, to protect us from pain and stress, and bring us to a state of calm and balance. And we know that stress is bad for immunity!

The endocannabinoid system acts as a modulator, raising what’s low, and lowering what’s too high, in an ever-shifting scenario.

As Mary Biles, writing for Project CBD refers to the interplay between cannabis and the immune system—”it’s a complex balancing act.”

Also talking to Project CBD, Dr. Mariano Garcia de Palau—a Spanish cannabis clinician and member of the Spanish Medical Cannabis Observatory—observed the following:

“I believe [cannabis] is immunosuppressive when there is hyper-immune response, but otherwise it regulates and corrects the immune system. In fact, you could say it functions like the endocannabinoid system, bringing equilibrium to the organism.”

What We Know About CBD and Immunity.

  • CBD has anti-inflammatory properties, which alleviate inflammation in conditions such as anxiety, depression, allergy, diabetes, and obesity. 
  • CBD can also calm the overactive immune system in autoimmune conditions such as Crohn’s disease, lupus and MS.
  • Preclinical studies suggest that cannabidiol displays action against certain viruses (HIV and Hepatitis C).

More supportive clinical study is still needed. The federal government must lift its legal restrictions on cannabis (THC and CBD) so that more research can be funded on both. Despite marijuana’s being legal in most states, it is still classified by the FDA as a highly restricted drug with no medicinal value. Then CBD is lumped together with marijuana and suffers from the same prejudice and restriction. Interestingly, the US government holds a patent on cannabis for medicinal use!

In the meantime, we know that CBD/hemp oil extract supports many healing functions, such as relieving stress and anxiety which are rampant currently, as well as having promise as an immune enhancer, and has the ability to mitigate inflammation. Sounds like a good idea right now!

We fortunately have access to it and can make our own choices. It’s certainly my go-to product to prescribe for stress, pain, anxiety and sleep. I also recommend it to help individuals taper off psychiatric medications.

Back to Coronavirus Defence:

Continue to support your immune system with a healthy diet and lifestyle, and take supplements such as:

  • Vitamin C, preferably liposomal, 1000 mg 3x daily
  • Colloidal silver, 1 Tb twice daily and nasal spray especially when you’re going out
  • Vitamin D 5000 IU daily. Have your level tested, but that is not excessive for most people. If you’re getting sick, double it.
  • You’ll find a more complete list of immune supportive supplements on Fullscript.
  • Take hemp oil extract for anxiety, stress, pain, sleep and an enhanced, balanced immune system.

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