What is sinusitis?
Many people are very familiar with the feeling of having sinusitis, as the disease is unfortunately widespread. This inflammation of the sinuses causes a buildup of mucus that puts pressure on the sinus cavities. Depending on where the buildup is, the pain can cause pressure around the eyes, headaches, swelling, or an inability to breathe through the nose. Sinusitis is the result of an infection, either viral or bacterial. It can also be induced by fungus, but this is usually the result of an underlying allergy that develops into sinusitis.
Cases of sinusitis are very numerous and usually affect adults, although there are also cases of children with sinusitis. Some cases can last for several months, but then it is classified as an acute condition rather than a chronic one. People with chronic sinusitis are considered to have symptoms for more than 90 days, or recur every 10 days.
Current Treatments for Sinusitis
In most cases, antibiotics are used to treat acute sinusitis. If the condition becomes chronic, then topical steroids and even surgery may be used to try to drain the sinuses. Problems associated with long-term use of antibiotics are increasing, so researchers have been looking for alternative means of treating sinusitis. Since inflammation is a key mechanism in both the onset of sinusitis and its treatment, the endocannabinoid system has become a major focus due to its influence on our immune and inflammatory systems.
What is the link between the endocannabinoid system and sinusitis?
Our endocannabinoid system is made up of a complex array of receptors. These receptors are found in parts of our digestive system, in specific areas of our brain, and most importantly, in our immune and nervous systems. The activation of these receptors, either through cannabinoids such as CBD or endocannabinoids produced by our own body, causes a series of biological effects. One thing that cannabinoids have been shown to be effective at is reducing inflammation.
This reduction has been observed in the inflammatory response caused by aspirin-exacerbated respiratory disease (AERD). NERD is a chronic disease that includes asthma, aspirin sensitivity, and sinusitis. The study found that activation of CB2 receptors linked to the endocannabinoid system leads to “a reduction in type 2 inflammation.” The researchers added that suppression of the CB2 receptor may be related to airway inflammation in AERD. Despite the potential demonstrated by the results of this study, the researchers quickly recognized that further studies were needed to validate the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in the treatment of AERD.
CBD as a possible solution for sinusitis?
The severity and symptoms of sinusitis are directly related to our inflammatory response. Scientists believe that the endocannabinoid system may be instrumental in controlling this response, helping our bodies deal with inflammatory problems without the need for antibiotics. However, the above study, along with others, has suggested that to achieve this, we may need to activate CB2 receptors linked to the endocannabinoid system.
That’s where CBD comes in. The compound has shown the ability to promote the activation of a number of receptors (including CB2), while excluding certain enzymes. CBD can take an indirect approach, but it allows the endocannabinoid system and its receptors to work more efficiently. It is still necessary to understand exactly how this mechanism can be activated, not to mention what dose of CBD may be enough, but the potential is there, in any case. CBD could be used to promote the activation of CB2 receptors, which, according to the above study, can reduce inflammation associated with sinusitis.
The future of sinusitis and allergy-related treatments
The possible link between our endocannabinoid system and the modulation of the inflammatory response is an exciting development. Unfortunately, much of what scientists assume has yet to be extensively tested and proven. There is no universal criteria regarding the endocannabinoid system, nor in the use of cannabinoids. However, as our understanding of it increases, so does the support for cannabinoids as an innovative treatment. With the potential for cannabinoids like CBD to help control inflammation, its use in the treatment of sinusitis could simply be a matter of time.