CBD for autoimmune disease?
I talk a lot in this blog about the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Inflammation is a really big deal. It can be helpful, but too much for too long and it becomes harmful.
How so, you ask? The helpful part of inflammation looks like this. Let’s say you bump into something and the area that was hit swells. That’s inflammation protecting an injury. Or if you have an infection; inflammation to the rescue. The body turns loose protective substances in white blood cells that combat infection. This inflammatory response is what aborts infection from taking over.
The not-so-helpful part of inflammation is that it can become chronic, and that’s when the damage can begin. What kind of damage? Well, chronic inflammation is seen as the culprit in many diseases, the most well-known being dementia, depression, cancer, heart disease, MS and types 1 and 2 diabetes. But can also be a factor in asthma and arthritis, among other conditions. The list is pretty long, really.
What’s an autoimmune disease? Let’s break it down. Essentially, in an autoimmune disease, your immune system attacks normal healthy tissue, mistaking it for a disease-causing interloper. Although medical doctors don’t know for sure the cause of autoimmune diseases, they suspect it’s a combination of genetics, diet, infections, and exposure to chemicals.
If we look at autoimmune disease from a holistic perspective, it’s inflammation that has been allowed to fester too long. According to Dr. Andrew Luster, Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, “it’s a smoldering process that injures your tissues, joints and blood vessels, and you often do not notice it until significant damage has been done.” Gulp. What can a person do?
CBD and inflammation
Inflammatory disease is on the rise, and as I noted, researchers suspect our dietary choices and environment may have a part to play. Our Western diet of overprocessed food with vitamins and minerals added back in are a poor substitute for real food with all its components intact. Plus, breathing air that, let’s face it, is less than pure can also be a factor. Diet, adequate rest, exercise and moderation in all food and drink are a no-brainer. In fact, check out this list of some anti-inflammatory foods and feel free to partake at will.
· Olive oil
· Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and collards
· Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts
· Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
· Fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries and oranges
As further prevention, adding CBD oil, which is an anti-inflammatory, could help counteract some of those harmful influences.
CBD and your endocannabinoid system
Here’s how CBD works in your body to control inflammation. Every body has an endocannabinoid system—even your pets. This system is charged with keeping balance in your body, especially when it comes to inflammation. It does that by inhibiting the production of excess cells that divide and multiply rapidly. It also helps induce regulatory T cells, which helps our immune system decipher healthy tissue from foreign invaders.
Combined as a supplement with a healthful diet rich in whole grains, fruits and vegetables and regular low-impact or aerobic exercise, CBD can help balance your body’s immune system. It can decrease inflammation and the build up of free radicals, both of which are considered the cause of many chronic conditions.
Obviously, the interaction between CBD and the endocannabinoid system is much more complicated than I’ve made it here. Think of this blog as the Cliff’s Notes version. But, there is a lot of really good information available for you to learn more. Two books I’ve been reading lately really cover the basics and then some. One is CBD oil, every day secrets, by Gretchen Lidicker, the other is Cannabis and CBD for health and wellness, by Aliza Sherman.
Do yourself a favor and learn all you can about CBD and its benefits. You’ll thank yourself for it.