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Does CBD have an anti-inflammatory effect?

26/06/2021 5 MIN. READ Mirko Berger
26/06/2021 5 MIN. READ Mirko Berger

Forget the battlefield and call of duty: As soon as a potentially dangerous intruder – be it a tiny splinter or some sort of pathogen – threatens to harm our bodies, our immune systems immediately launch a massive defence scheme that would impress and dumbfound even the most experienced military commander. 

One of the things our bodies start to produce as part of this defence response is the stress hormone known as cortisol. Fever and exhaustion are also among the less pleasant side effects of the body’s immune response. Still, it’s precisely this immune reaction that has no doubt saved our asses, um, I mean, our lives on more occasions than we can count. 

But there’s often a fine line between protection and self-destruction. This is why we take fever-reducing medications, for example, when the potential damage of a fever becomes greater that its benefit.

And then there are those moments when our immune systems start to freak out and suddenly find themselves in a permanent state of war. It sounds unhealthy, and it is. In fact, chronic inflammatory responses tend to emerge in conjunction with a number of diseases and subsequently appear to actually encourage the diseases even further.

Luckily, we also have something to say about what happens to us. In addition to various medications, there are other anti-inflammatory substances out there than can ensure that our immune system gets a breather. 

We already know that cannabis can help the body simmer down and relax. But can CBD have a similar effect on our immune systems?

What are the signs of inflammation?

The following five symptoms are considered to be the most typical signs of inflammation:

  • warmth
  • redness of the skin 
  • swelling
  • pain
  • functional interference (e.g. being unable to move an inflamed joint as easily as you normally would)

Of course, all five of these cardinal symptoms don’t have to be present in order for there to be an inflammation. If none of the abovementioned symptoms occur, it’s referred to as a “silent inflammation”. In this case, the best way to determine early on if an inflammation is present is by doing a blood test and examining the results.

Acute and chronic inflammations

One way to recognise if an inflammation is caused by an actual disease is by the “itis” at the end of its name. Some of the most common inflammations of this variety are bronchitis, cystitis (inflammation of the bladder or urinary tract) and gastritis (inflammation of the lining of the stomach).

If you have an inflammation and it becomes chronic, your immune system will find itself in a permanent state of stress. In the case of asthma, for example, this will impact the respiratory tract, and in the case of osteoarthritis, it’s the joints that are affected. Bronchitis is one of the inflammatory diseases that can be both acute and chronic. 

Still, even if we’re not suffering from a disease at the moment, the level of inflammation in our bodies can vary. For example, studies have shown that people who are more physically fit have lower levels of inflammation overall as compared to people who are less physically fit. In this context, even low inflammatory responses that lie below threshold values can actually be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Do anti-inflammatory substances help fight colds?

When we get a cold, our immune systems trigger an inflammatory reaction in response as a way of defending itself against the pathogens. Unfortunately, it’s precisely this reaction that also leads to those charming symptoms that delight us every time we get a cold:

With a sore throat, it’s the inflamed mucous membrane in the throat that is often the culprit. A swollen nasal mucosa is often the cause of a cold. And if inflammation of the nasal mucosa also spreads to the sinuses, this leads to the unpleasant feeling of pressure in the head.

As we all know, these inflammatory responses are, to a certain extent, absolutely necessary to combat the cold. However, there are some specific targeted measures that can provide us with some much desired relief.

This is precisely why hydrocortisone is often contained in nasal sprays, for example. This is why, for example, nasal sprays often contain hydrocortisones, which are nothing more than a synthetic form of cortisone, the hormone that our bodies produce as a way of getting inflammatory responses under control. This hormone inhibits inflammation and functions as a decongestant that finally allows us to breathe freely again.

Today, we also know that old-fashioned home remedies, such as warm milk & honey and herbal teas, can provide us with relief thanks to their anti-inflammatory effects.

Does CBD have an anti-inflammatory effect? What the science says

Fortunately for humans, Mother Nature herself has provided us with access to some additional protection through CBD, a non-psychotropic component of the cannabis plant.

An Italian study investigated the cannabinoid in two ways: An Italian study recently undertook a two-prong investigation into cannabinoids: researchers examined inflamed intestinal segments in mice but also intestinal biopsies taken from people with colitis ulcerosa, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. While they treated the mice directly with CBD in the first part, they limited themselves to extracted cells in the second.

In both cases, they study was able to establish a positive effect, which suggests that CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect. According to the scientists, CBD may therefore offer a promising new way to treat inflammatory bowel diseases.

In rats with arthritis, CBD gel applied topically significantly reduced joint swelling. Researchers also observed a decrease in inflammation levels depending on the dosage.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers assume that inflammation processes – or, more precisely, neuro-inflammations – play a key role. In a study conducted on mice, CBD in the right dosage was able to significantly diminish comparable neuro-inflammatory responses.

Unfortunately, current research on cannabidiol is limited to animal and in-vitro studies in test tubes, which means that it remains unclear to what extent these findings can be extrapolated to human beings. 

Still, the findings to date give us hope that CBD from cannabis can alleviate inflammation and thus provide relief in the treatment of a variety of diseases. For example, if you take it in the form of CBD oil, CBD could help out when you have a cold.

CBD: A potential ally in the battle against inflammation

  • Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s natural immune response
  • However, severe or chronic inflammation can have a negative impact
  • Inflammation plays a role in a variety of diseases, from common colds to arthritis and asthma
  • Several studies suggest that CBD may have an anti-inflammatory effect
  • Studies carried out on animals and in test tubes suggest that CBD could be used in the future to treat inflammatory diseases


What is CBD?

CBD is a non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. The WHO defines CBD as a non-addictive substance. Cannabinoids are said to have numerous positive effects on mental and physical health, as confirmed repeatedly by patient testimonials.

What does CBD do?

Research indicates that CBD oil has a potential anti-inflammatory, calming and anxiety-reducing effect. In addition, cannabinoids may also have an effect on a person’s perception of pain. 

There are few known side effects and interactions associated with CBD oil.

How do I take CBD oil?

Use the pipette to put the desired number of drops under your tongue. Here’s a tip: It’s best to do this in front of a mirror so that you can more easily count the number drops.

Try not to swallow the oil right away. Instead, keep it under your tongue for 1 to 2 minutes, if possible. When you allow the CBD oil to be absorbed via the mucous in your mouth, it can take effect more quickly and may even have a higher bioavailability under certain circumstances.

Take a look at our CBD oil dosage guide to find out everything you need to know about the best way to use it.

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