CBD and the human immune system

CBD info

Our immune system consists of many biochemical compounds and processes whose function is to protect us against attacks from a variety of agents, such as parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Within the complexity of our body, the immune system must be able to distinguish healthy cells and microorganisms from diseased or external ones. All vertebrate animals have an innate immune system and an adaptive immune system. We also have a specific neuroimmune system to protect our brain.


The immune system is a dynamic communications network. It is structured into subsets of different cells exchanging information about the health of tissues and organs, and possible threats. For most of the time, the immune system has to respond to small external attacks on our body. But sometimes those threats can be more serious.
Anything that can trigger an immune response is called an antigen. An antigen can be a virus or even cells from another person (our immune system works tirelessly when we make love). A receptor is a molecule that receives chemical signals from outside a cell, causing a cell signaling response. Disorders in cell signaling of the immune system can lead to autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, while immunodeficiency can result in recurrent and life-threatening infections.


The immune system protects living organisms with increasingly specific layers of defences: physical barriers, such as skin or hair, prevent certain bacteria and viruses from entering our bodies. Invaders that manage to penetrate the skin barrier are immediately attacked by the innate immune system with generic chemical weapons. If the pathogens are able to survive this second protective barrier, the adaptive immune system will be ordered to attack each invader with specific agents. This last direct response implies the recognition of the pathogenic agent using an immunological memory that allows storing information about old and new enemy profiles, and their corresponding defensive responses. It is not an easy process and sometimes the immune system can mistakenly launch an attack against the body’s own tissues or cells. In other cases, the immune system may overrespond to a harmful substance like pollen.

Inflammation is one of the first responses of the innate immune system to infection. It is produced by the action of eicosanoids and cytokines. These chemical transmitters are capable of recruiting new immune cells at the site of infection to attack the pathogen and then heal the damaged tissue. Certain studies have shown that cannabinoids enhance the production of cytokines. The second barrier of the immune system houses the leukocytes, or white blood cells. They behave as independent organisms with the ability to attack pathogens by “destroying” or “smothering” them. The innate immune system also has NK (natural killer) cells that function in a similar way to leukocytes. The difference is that NK only attack cells in our body that are contaminated or infected by a virus.

The adaptive immune system is our last protective barrier. Your organs are located throughout the body and produce cells called lymphocytes. These defensive agents travel through the body through the blood and lymphatic vessels. Immune cells then switch between both types of vessels, allowing the lymphatic system to monitor attacks and abnormalities. The adaptive immune system also generates its own NK cells, equivalent to those of the innate system.


The recently discovered endocannabinoid system is made up of two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, and their endogenous cannabinoids, which our bodies produce on demand. CB1 cannabinoid receptors are found primarily in the brain. CB2 receptors are found in the periphery, especially on immune cells. Thanks to prohibition’s obstacles to research, scientists were unable to identify endocannabinoid receptors until the early 1990s. For that very reason, current science is still a long way from understanding the effects of cannabinoids on the immune system.
The first known endogenous cannabinoid was anandamide, whose name comes from the Sanskrit word for “joy” or “happiness.” It binds to CB1 cannabinoid receptors (technically known as a CB1 ligand) to send messages to other cells. THC from the cannabis plant is the botanical equivalent of anandamide, that is, it acts as a ligand for the same receptor and triggers similar biochemical effects. The other major endocannabinoid is 2-arachidonylglycerol, which is a ligand for both CB1 and CB2 receptors. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is its phytocannabinoid equivalent.

Research in recent years has shown that cannabinoids, whether produced internally or consumed as medicine, can modulate many different functions of immune cells in humans and animals, such as cytokine production in the event of external pathogenic attack or autoimmune disorders. Many studies have examined the effects of the endocannabinoid system on appetite, metabolic health, blood sugar regulation, obesity, pain, oxidative stress, thermoregulation, mood, anxiety, depression, memory, and more. Both CB1 and CB2 receptors appear to play an important role in our body’s internal homeostatic balance.


Apparently, scientific research is now confirming that the patients’ experiences are due to the effects of cannabinoids on the regular functioning or repair of the immune system. A new line of research studies the role of the endocannabinoid system in **immune modulation processes, while **other reports begin to consider the endocannabinoid system as the starting point for future therapies for inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases.

eitherother reports

Cannabidiol has been shown to play the specific role of modulating neurogenesis and neurodegeneration in cerebral stroke, injury, and ischemia in assays with mice and cell samples. Laboratory research shows that cannabinoids can reduce inflammatory responses in autoimmune diseases, as evidenced by this study in diabetic rats and another investigating multiple sclerosis-like diseases. Therefore, a new avenue of research is opened that focuses on the endocannabinoid system with novel therapies against inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases. Meanwhile, CBD, THC, and other phytocannabinoids from medical cannabis and cultivated hemp are regularly used in patients to help restore balance to their immune systems, as well as reduce neuropathic pain from fibromyalgia or muscle spasms from fibromyalgia. multiple sclerosis.

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The therapeutic mechanisms of cannabinoids are still not fully understood. CBD generates a lot of expectation because it acts at various molecular levels, combining with other receptors in addition to the main entry point for cannabinoids, CB2. For example, CBD is an antagonist of our vanilloid receptor TRPV-1, whose name comes from the pain-relieving properties of the vanilla plant. This means that cannabidiol stimulates the action of that specific receptor, which causes a chain reaction associated with our perception of pain.

Other CBD sensitive receptors are responsible for different functions of the immune system, such as apoptosis. This ancient Greek word meant “withered petals.” Today it represents programmed cell death that happens when cells stop working properly. Natural apoptosis is a fundamental defense against the growth of diseased cells, and apoptosis induced by foreign substances has the same therapeutic functions.
CBD or cannabidiol is the main phytotherapeutic compound of hemp, and is present in various varieties of medicinal cannabis. It acts as a THC antagonist, reducing its psychotropic effect. These two fundamental cannabinoids cause different effects depending on their proportions. An herbal remedy that contains only CBD is safe, legal, and cannot cause any psychoactive effects.

That said, proving that a substance can enhance the functions of the immune system is difficult. Instead, we must remember that a healthy lifestyle can improve the functioning of our immune system in the same way as natural remedies: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, monounsaturated fats and sugars, exercise, correct weight, healthy sleep habits and infection precautions.

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