How will CBD help inflammation?

By Andrew Megahy Dec 12, 2019 3 min

Over the course of my blogs I’ve done considerable research into the potential therapeutic effects of CBD and why people take it. Personally I’ve found the three main complaints for which people use it to be anxiety, inflammation and pain relief. I covered anxiety in an earlier blog – albeit briefly – so I feel it’s finally time to address one of the two remaining ‘major’ uses for CBD. While the ability to reduce inflammation may seem fairly straightforward, I’d like to take some time to go through the topic and hopefully explain just how widely this process affects the human body.

Over the course of my blogs I’ve done considerable research into the potential therapeutic effects of CBD and why people take it. Personally I’ve found the three main complaints for which people use it to be anxiety, inflammation and pain relief. I covered anxiety in an earlier blog – albeit briefly – so I feel it’s finally time to address one of the two remaining ‘major’ uses for CBD. While the ability to reduce inflammation may seem fairly straightforward, I’d like to take some time to go through the topic and hopefully explain just how widely this process affects the human body.

Inflammation is a very general purpose description for a rather complicated process. At its simplest it can be described as a protective response by the body in reaction to damage, infection or irritants. It is characterised by heat, pain, redness, swelling and loss of function in the inflamed area, with symptoms presenting to different degrees depending upon severity. The mechanism employed involves increased movement of blood to the affected area. By pumping more blood to the affected area, the body can clear out dying cells and tissue, initiate tissue repair and eliminate the initial cause of the injury. Typically this process is beneficial to the body, as it prevents build-up of infectious organisms that could otherwise lead to death. However, there are times when the body over expresses the inflammation response, which can cause its own problems.

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CBD has been alleged for some time to have neuroprotective properties, so it’s likely that this comes about through prevention of this inflammation occurring in the first place.

One such example of chronic inflammation (which means that it occurs over a prolonged period of time) is arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis is more applicable than osteoarthritis, but both are fairly common afflictions where the cartilage and bone within joints break down over the course of many years. These two tissues are crucial for ease of movement, so when they degrade the body induces inflammation to protect the area from further damage and remove breakdown particles produced by the damaged tissues. Unfortunately, long-term inflammation actually puts pressure onto the joints, causing pain and uncomfortable swelling. Since CBD has a reputation for returning the body to homeostasis, it can be used to reduce the total amount of inflammation caused by the body. Since it is the over-expression of inflammation that causes most of the pain and discomfort in arthritis, this can be mitigated while not sacrificing the protective effects of it completely.

CBD has been alleged for some time to have neuroprotective properties, so it’s likely that this comes about through prevention of this inflammation occurring in the first place.

There is considerable scientific research indicating that certain neurodegenerative disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (Chen et al. 2015), Alzheimer’s disease (Kinney et al. 2018) and Parkinson’s disease (Herrero et al. 2015) are connected to chronic inflammation, among others. For these mentioned diseases there is considerable buildup of cytokines, which are a broad class of chemicals that are released by immune cells and have effects (in this case they promote inflammation) on other cells in the body. Under normal function they are crucial for the positive reasons mentioned earlier, but with these diseases they are over-expressed and cause their respective degenerative effects, in conjunction with the other aspects of each disease. Again this is the perfect situation for CBD to help with, as it can help return the body back to its natural state by reducing inflammation. CBD has been alleged for some time to have neuroprotective properties, so it’s likely that this comes about through prevention of this inflammation occurring in the first place.

CBD has been alleged for some time to have neuroprotective properties, so it’s likely that this comes about through prevention of this inflammation occurring in the first place.
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There is considerable scientific research indicating that certain neurodegenerative disorders such as Multiple Sclerosis (Chen et al. 2015), Alzheimer’s disease (Kinney et al. 2018) and Parkinson’s disease (Herrero et al. 2015) are connected to chronic inflammation, among others. For these mentioned diseases there is considerable buildup of cytokines, which are a broad class of chemicals that are released by immune cells and have effects (in this case they promote inflammation) on other cells in the body. Under normal function they are crucial for the positive reasons mentioned earlier, but with these diseases they are over-expressed and cause their respective degenerative effects, in conjunction with the other aspects of each disease. Again this is the perfect situation for CBD to help with, as it can help return the body back to its natural state by reducing inflammation. CBD has been alleged for some time to have neuroprotective properties, so it’s likely that this comes about through prevention of this inflammation occurring in the first place.

The last inflammatory statement I have to make is regarding allergens and their respective immune responses, like hay fever. Also referred to as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is characterised by a runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus pressure and sneezing. These symptoms are caused by irritation of the nose, eyes, throat and sinuses by small proteins contained within pollen (NHS Inform, 2019). Normally your body ignores these proteins, but in hay fever sufferers it treats them as if they were a dangerous foreign body like a virus, and triggers an inflammatory immune response. The runny nose, watery eyes and sneezing are an attempt to flush the ‘invader’ from your system and the sinus pressure comes about from inflammation in an attempt to improve the supply of white blood cells. This all leads to the tissues of these areas becoming swollen, irritated and inflamed. So from what we’ve learned from our previous examples, it seems like CBD has potential to help alleviate at least the sinus pressure, and potentially reduce the severity of the other aspects to hay fever too.

From the examples shown above we can see that inflammation has wide-ranging effects on almost all parts of the body. Since it has a general application of effect, CBD could prove to be an effective measure for alleviating most if not all of these inflammatory disorders. Since many have no true cure, CBD may be a valuable tool in managing the symptoms in people suffering from these conditions.

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From the examples shown above we can see that inflammation has wide-ranging effects on almost all parts of the body. Since it has a general application of effect, CBD could prove to be an effective measure for alleviating most if not all of these inflammatory disorders. Since many have no true cure, CBD may be a valuable tool in managing the symptoms in people suffering from these conditions.

Andrew Megahy1

Andrew Megahy

Lead Scientific Officer Linkedin