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Hemp/CBD for Inflammation

A couple weeks ago, I alluded to the differences in the two broad kinds of inflammation. Acute inflammation is the body’s healing response to injury or infection. Chronic inflammation is a sort of generalized response to insults such as excess weight, alcohol, smoking, lack of exercise, or any of a number of bad lifestyle choices. Acute inflammation may be uncomfortable, but it is a healing process. Chronic inflammation generally heralds sickness such as heart attack, stroke, or diabetes. So when we consider the question of CBD for inflammation, the stakes may be high.

I am not going to deal with acute inflammation here, because I think that, on the whole, it may be less of a problem than a blessing. Most of the time, when you have acute inflammation, you would be better off eliminating the cause of the inflammation (i.e., the infection or injury) than you would be in suppressing the inflammation. Inflammation fights germs, helps to heal damaged tissues, and even fights cancer.

Chronic Inflammation is Dangerous

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is a serious stress to your system. Your immune system is working overtime when there is no infection or injury present. It may go to work on your endothelial cells, eating holes in the linings of your blood vessels and creating plaques that can cause heart attack or stroke. It may attack the beta cells in your pancreas, leading to insulin shortages and diabetes. Chronic inflammation is also implicated in many kinds of cancer, in autoimmune diseases, and even dementia.

The research on fighting inflammation with cannabidiol (CBD) is voluminous. This page (on the Project CBD site) lists nearly 20 papers. These papers show that hundreds, maybe thousands, of mice have seen their chronic inflammation reduced through the administration of CBD. There hasn’t been quite as much work reported on human patients as mice. But that’s primarily because you can’t (or really shouldn’t) give people inflammation just so you can find ways to clear it up. Researchers don’t have those kinds of scruples when it comes to mice.

CBD for Inflammation

Nevertheless, all these experiments have led to the publication in 2009 of a paper in the journal Future Medicinal Chemistry called “Cannabinoids as Novel Anti-Inflammatory Drugs.” This paper was a massive review of the research. You can find it cited on most of the websites that cover (or sell) CBD. The paper explains that cannabinoids work because the human body has cannabinoid receptors as part of its own cannabinoid system. One of the purposes of the body’s cannabinoid system is to regulate immune response.

The researchers found that

    • cannabinoids suppress inflammatory response via many processes
    • they have demonstrated experimental success in autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and hepatitis 
    • they may also be beneficial in certain types of cancers that are triggered by chronic inflammation and can actually inhibit tumor growth or reduce the supply of a tumor’s nutrients.

If you know you have chronic inflammation, or if you suspect you may have it because of a lifetime of poor choices, you could do worse than putting yourself on a CBD regimen. CBD is no substitute for healthy habits, but it may be able to do for you what it’s done for all those mice. Furthermore, it’s not really a drug. It’s a nutritional supplement and no less than the World Health Organization (PDF) has vouched for its safety: “CBD is generally well tolerated with a good safety profile. Reported adverse effects may be as a result of drug-drug interactions between CBD and patients’ existing medications.” So check with your doctor before using it.

Our CBD Products

If you want to try a hemp oil tincture on your own inflammation, Peak Recovery & Health Center offers two. Our products — Peak’s Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil and Peak’s Iso-Filtered Hemp Oil — come from American-grown hemp and are typically much purer than Asian hemp products. Questions? We are here to help. Call Peak at 603-402-4564.

Photo: “Doctor with prescription stop with bad habits” by Marco Verch, Professional Photographer and Speaker. Creative Commons license 2.0