Using CBD For Auto Immune Diseases
What is an Autoimmune disease?
Autoimmunity (AI) is an "attack on self," where the immune system gets triggered and thinks that the body's healthy tissues are invaders.
The location of the autoimmune attack will vary based on the condition. For example, if there is autoimmunity in the joints, rheumatoid arthritis may result.
If molecular mimicry occurs in the thyroid, it may lead to Hashimoto's.
Molecular mimicry = where external antigens have a similar amino acid sequence to cells from our body and our immune system begins to attack those cells.
For skin disorders like psoriasis, the dermal layer is the target. Autoimmune conditions may attack more than one part of the body at the same time. Lupus can manifest in the skin, digestive system, joints, and the brain.
The reason why the self-attack switch is turned on is relatively unknown. The common consensus is that those with autoimmunity have a genetic predisposition for these types of conditions. Then a particular event like an infection, parasite, leaky gut syndrome, or a traumatic experience sets off the autoimmune reaction.
Conventional treatments include dietary or lifestyle changes such as eating a gluten-free diet or staying away from hazardous chemicals. Following strict routines to help eliminate these stressors and chemicals from our lives has been proven to help stop or reverse the progression of the autoimmune disease.
Cannabis for immunity
An alternative is the use of cannabinoid therapy. Cannabis is an adaptogenic herb and is known to be immune-modulating. It regulates our immune systems so that if they are over or underactive, it helps bring it back to the level it should be functioning at.
Cannabis can help improve immunity in three different ways:
- Modulation of the immune system
- Lowering of inflammation
- Improves our digestion
Research has shown that CB2 receptors play an essential role in immune function. The CB2 receptors are part of our endocannabinoid system, which is the system with which cannabis (marijuana and CBD) effect.
The CB2 receptor regulates many complex pathways involved in the immune system.
Some preclinical studies showed that when the CB2 receptors are triggered, it leads to a suppressed immune response, reduction in the proinflammatory cytokines, and improvement of the anti-inflammatory cytokines meaning there is a better balance.
So what does CBD do specifically?
- CBD has been found to modulate the immune system instead of suppressing it. I.e., keeps it in a better state of balance.
- Cannabidiol also slows down T-cell production and suppresses immune system memory, meaning that CBD could cut down on the likelihood of future autoimmune attacks.
- CBD has also been found to increase the expression of genes that deal with oxidative stress, which may reduce cell damage from autoimmune attacks
Some studies also suggest that CBD can help reduce the amount of pain we experience, which can e useful for a lot of autoimmune diseases, for example, arthritis, which can cause severe pain in the joints.
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