Updated on January 29, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Inflammation is not supposed to be a health hazard. In fact, your immune system uses inflammation to protect you from foreign substances, like infection, viruses or bacteria. When these outside influences threaten your health, the immune system kicks in by dispatching white blood cells to surround and protect the affected area, returning everything to as it should be. This helpful response is known as acute inflammation.
However, sometimes your immune system triggers this response inappropriately. Either the inflammation lasts too long, or there is no foreign substance to fight off and it targets healthy tissue. The immune system sees this normal tissue as a threat and attacks, causing damage and other negative side effects.
This type of chronic inflammation is often caused by an autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis or Crohn’s disease. Inflammation is a major symptom connected to other serious disorders, from heart disease to obesity.
Many environmental factors can play a role in the development of chronic inflammation. Struggling with this condition produces many different symptoms, such as:
One of the most recognized medicinal benefits of marijuana, and especially the cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), is its ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. This is an exciting option for patients stuck in a cycle of medications that are either ineffective or cause severe and unpleasant side effects.
The endocannabinoid system plays a key role in keeping us healthy and our body well balanced. It is essential in the function of many physiological systems and helps the body maintain homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system affects numerous bodily processes, including pain sensations, appetite, mood and even the immune system.
One of the jobs of the endocannabinoid system is to suppress or limit the body’s inflammatory response. When immune cells are activated, our body produces endocannabinoids to bring balance. In the case of chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases, there are not enough naturally occurring endocannabinoids to limit the excessive inflammatory response — that’s where CBD treatments come into play.
Many researchers and medical experts are excited by CBD’s ability to act as an anti-inflammatory. CBD is one of marijuana’s more than 85 cannabinoids, which are naturally occurring molecules that mimic the endocannabinoids our bodies naturally produce.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another cannabinoid, also receives attention because it produces marijuana’s high and is one of the most commonly found compounds. Since CBD has no psychoactive properties but still maintains many healthful benefits, it could be the perfect medication for patients with chronic inflammation.
Introducing CBD treatments can help the endocannabinoid system regain balance in the fight against chronic inflammation. CBD works with the body to naturally stop the inflammatory response in several different ways, such as by:
Aside from treating the inflammation itself, CBD medications can also help other associated symptoms, like pain, and the effects chronic inflammation can have on a patient’s mental well-being. Despite being non-psychoactive, the federal government still bans CBD because it’s derived from the cannabis plant. That’s why those who wish to receive CBD medications need to join their state’s medical marijuana program.
Most physicians suggest patients treat their chronic inflammation with certain lifestyle changes and some type of medication. Recommended changes include a proper diet and regular exercise, which are positive habits to develop but sometimes don’t work to help treat inflammation. Some medications, like Corticosteroids or NSAIDs, can be effective, but they have the potential to cause adverse reactions.
In comparison to these, CBD medications are very safe, with relatively few negative side effects. Plus, many different forms of CBD products are available on the market today, including:
The fastest form of relief is vaporizing the CBD oil or strain. This produces infused steam that can be inhaled, and the medication brought directly into the bloodstream. However, this is not a good option for patients who struggle with respiratory issues like asthma or lung disease.
Taking CBD orally with a tincture is another excellent option because it’s fast, effective and delivers the medication directly to endocannabinoid receptors. Doctors like this method, along with capsules, because they allow patients to watch their dosage and follow a prescribed recommended allowance of CBD. This keeps individuals safe under the watchful eye of their healthcare provider.
CBD topicals are another excellent option, especially for those experiencing inflammation in their joints. It allows the medication to be applied directly to the affected area without having to travel through the bloodstream first. Topicals can be used wherever and whenever at the patient’s discretion. However, you may want to speak to your physician to get their recommendation on this form of treatment.
Don’t live one more day with chronic inflammation. Make an appointment with a marijuana doctor in your state to speak to them about how CBD treatments can help you.
Learn more about Chronic Inflammation and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Chronic Inflammation’s symptoms.