There’s no one on Earth that’s undefeated against the common cold. Try as we might, the onset of a sore throat, congestion, and nasty cough just seems to throw us for a loop. In response, we turn to the types of treatments that we think work to stave off the symptoms. We pop over-the-counter meds, take zinc supplements, drink orange juice, and do our best to sleep it off. While doses of Vitamin D, Zinc, and Vitamin C are proven immune system-boosters, they aren’t the only game in town.
What many people don’t realize is that cannabidiol, also known as CBD, can also be an effective way to bolster the immune system. While it should never be touted as a cure for the common cold or flu (and certainly not for COVID-19), there is scientific merit to CBD’s positive influence on our ability to keep viruses at bay. If you’ve considered taking CBD as part of your regular health regimen, you’ll want to read below as we explore how CBD strengthens the immune system.
As a refresher — or new information for those of you just starting your research — CBD is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant. However, unlike fellow cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD does not get you high. The reason why one gets you high and the other doesn’t is the same reason why CBD can help to boost the immune system. It all has to do the endocannabinoid system (ECS).
The ECS is one of our most significant biological systems, yet it’s only been studied for about 30 years. The role of the ECS is to help our bodies achieve homeostasis, which is another word for a regulated or even state. Basically, it’s the body’s way of keeping key functions like memory, mood, pain, sleep, stress, energy, and immune response from going haywire.
Included in the ECS are two receptors called the CB1 and CB2. While both are spread throughout the body, CB1 has its most considerable influence on the brain, as well as the lungs, vascular system, and GI tract. As for the CB2, it heavily influences the immune system and a few other areas like the liver and bone marrow.
Why is all this important? Because CBD intensely binds to CB2 receptors, which means it can have a profound impact on the immune system. In case you were curious, THC binds tightly with the CB1 receptors in the brain, which is why its use causes the euphoria associated with smoking marijuana.
There’s a common misconception among many people that inflammation is the same thing as infection. The reality is that inflammation is the body’s response to harmful stimuli, which can include damaged cells, and is the first step toward bodily components (like immune cells) initiating repair of the problem. Still, inflammatory pain like what can occur with arthritis, can be bothersome.
Among the many health benefits of CBD, we know that relieving pain and inflammation is near the top of the list. Scientific research has proven that CBD has anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects to help reduce pain sensations. A testament to its potent pain-relieving effects, CBD has even been used to treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
One other study performed on mice found that CBD was effective at reducing inflammation in the lungs, which helped to improve lung function in the test subjects.
How many times have you found yourself stressed out and worn out only to come down with a cold soon after? According to the American Psychological Association, stress weakens the immune system. Fortunately for even the most tightly-wound, many people have found great success in combatting stress and anxiety with CBD.
Remember the ECS? It comes into play here again. As part of its role in regulating our bodies, the ECS helps to stabilize the amount of adrenaline (the emergency hormone), cortisol (the stress hormone), and serotonin (the happy hormone) coursing through us at any given time. More importantly, the ECS (and CBD) can result in more of a chemical balance, eliminating unnecessary and stress-inducing hormone swings.
As we mentioned earlier, CBD isn’t something that’s going to cure you of a virus. What it can do, however, is build up your immune system to give you a better shot at avoiding the types of illnesses you may have been susceptible to in the past. Additionally, we know that CBD’s other benefits include reducing inflammation and stress, both of which can be life-changing improvements.
If you’re curious about where to start, we always encourage new users to review our CBD dosing guide. In it, you’ll find details on calculating serving strength, a comparison of delivery methods, and other tips to keep yourself safe. Before you dose CBD or start any kind of new health and wellness plan, it’s always a good idea to discuss your plans with your doctor.