It’s the time of year when your immune system takes the biggest hit. (Not to mention we’re in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic.) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 8% of Americans get the flu each year. If you’re in the other 92%, you still may have times when you feel run down.
Many of us double (and triple) up on medicine once we’re already sick—but the key to staying healthy year-round is preventive care. The stronger your immune system, the better your chances of fighting off illness. Everything from the amount of sleep you get to the foods you eat can help you ward off the flu and colds. In recent years, another possible preventive measure has come to light: cannabidiol, or CBD.
Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD may be a natural immune system booster thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to help regulate the body’s homeostasis. Below, we’re diving into how CBD can help you during flu season, the coronavirus outbreak, and all-year round.
The role of inflammation in illness
Your immune system can become inflamed, or damaged, by stress, fever, bacteria, and other sources of trauma. This triggers your body’s immune response. The immune system fights off illnesses and foreign substances (called antigens) using a system of white blood cells: lymphocytes, which destroy and remember antigens, and phagocytes, which “eat” antigens.
Autoimmune diseases result when the immune system is overactive, or incredibly inflamed. Common autoimmune diseases range from the more mild Celiac disease, which causes gluten sensitivity, to multiple sclerosis, which affects spine and brain functions. There are no cures for autoimmune diseases—only ways to manage pain and flare-ups.
CBD and the immune system
Based on current research, CBD may hold immunosuppressive qualities for people with autoimmune diseases, cancer, and other conditions where the immune system acts abnormally. For a long time, scientists thought that suppressing the immune system was the only thing CBD could do.
In recent years, scientists have found that CBD can potentially increase the response of the immune system in healthy people. Across various studies using both mice and human subjects, CBD has been found to increase antibody production and stimulate phagocytosis, the process in which white blood cells consume invaders. Initial research shows that CBD may have promise in boosting under-active immune functions—for example, when you’re gearing up to fight the flu or the common cold.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS), a regulatory system that contains receptors for various cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, offers some potential answers to how CBD interacts with the immune system. It’s believed that endocannabinoid receptors regulate the body’s homeostasis, balancing immune functions so they are neither under nor over active.
The bottom line
If you’re already sick, CBD isn’t a magic cure. But it can be an important part of an everyday routine that has shown promise in helping your system function over time. Not into pills and potions? Favour is a convenient, discreet, and portable way to get your daily dose of CBD in, with a unique gum delivery system that’s ultra-potent.