CBD for Arthritis and Pain: what you should know
How does CBD provide a natural alternative to regulating our bodies level of inflammation which plays a role in our pain perception, and why else do we need to keep the amount of inflammation in check?
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s response to any trauma. There are two different kinds of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the response to a specific event, but chronic inflammation is where our bodies are continually producing inflammation. It happens when our cells become sick, and we trigger an immune response that cascades into a vicious cycle where we continuously trigger the release of more inflammation.
Usually, when we want to lower inflammation, a lot of us would look to use an anti-inflammatory. The most popular being NSAID’s (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin or ibuprofen, however, when we use them too frequently, it can harm our gut health because they impact what are known as cyclooxygenase enzymes (c0x1 and c0x2). When we inhibit these enzymes, we can negatively impact our gut health because we need to keep a little bit of inflammation in the gut to stay healthy.
How is CBD different to aspirin?
Endocannabinoids and inflammation
Our body’s possess endocannabinoids (endogenous cannabinoids), which play a role in regulating inflammation. These aren’t chemicals that come from cannabis but are instead naturally occurring substances within the body derived from long-chain fatty acids.
You may have heard of eicosapentaenoica acid (EPA) found commonly in fish oil pills or Omega 3. Cannabinoids are produced from fats like EPA. However, they are only released by our brains neurons when they notice that inflammation levels have increased. So, contrary to what you may think, the endocannabinoids do not come from within CBD oil, but CBD helps to create the right internal conditions in order to help us produce more. There is a ultimately a natural communication between these fats and neurons to release the endocannabinoids.
Anandandamide is one example of one of our naturally occurring endocannabinoids in the body and is responsible for producing the feeling of ‘bliss’. CBD can help us create more Anandandamide by limiting the cytokine activity of Tumour necrosis factor 1 Alpha (TNF) which is an inflammatory marker. By doing this, we reduce the ability of the body to fight off production of our endocannabinoids like Anandandamide.
Anandandamide can further help regulate our inflammation levels as it holds the key to being able to turn off or at least reduce the production of another inflammatory marker called, Nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kB). NF-kB is the bodies master control switch when it comes to inflammation. It is responsible for our genetic response to inflammation within the body because our DNA will change if continually subjected to high levels of inflammation. Of-kB also increases, which in turn alters our DNA to make us more likely to keep producing inflammation, creating a vicious cycle, contributing towards the creation of auto immune diseases such as arthritis.
Does CBD do anything else for inflammation?
CBD will also regulate the production of what are called Cytokines. These are signalling proteins that are secreted by our immune cells upon stimulation from things like unhealthy cells or microscopic tears in our muscle fibres after a workout. They are the moderating factors that balance out the initiation and termination of inflammation production, helping us not to produce too much. This=can benefit our body in areas where we have immune cells that are overactive and causing inflammation in brain and joints.
CBD also limits the activity of the T-helper cells, which are involved in our immune response. There are two kinds of T-cells in the body: T-Helper cells and T-killer cells; T-helper cells label potentially dangerous cells. To be destroyed later by the T-killer cells. CBD limits the cytokine activity of these T-helper cells, stopping T-killer cells producing too much inflammation as a byproduct of the destruction of too many cells unnecessarily.
What are the benefits of regulating the amount of inflammation in the body?
By regulating the amount of inflammation, we produce properly we reduce our risk of developing chronic inflammation, which can lead to many autoimmune diseases such as cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 2 Diabetes. But inflammation can also play a significant role in our mental health too, with clear links between inflammation and depression and even brain fog.
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