Cannabinoids and the Immune System

For those familiar with cannabinoids, their fascinating interactions
with the human body are probably old news. Their effects on the immune
system, however, may not be as well-known. According to new research,
cannabinoids may have an important balancing role that allows the immune
system to function at maximum efficiency.

What Are Cannabinoids?


To put it simply,
are the chemical compounds that are components of the cannabis plant.
They have long been used in medical circles to treat symptoms ranging
from pain to inflammation. Today, they’re also gaining popularity for
their positive effects on the human immune system.

There are many varieties of cannabinoids, including
[phytocannabinoids]( Phytocannabinoids),
which are found in cannabis and several other plants, and synthetic
cannabinoids, which are manufactured in a lab.


What Is the ECS?

The endogenous cannabinoid
also known as ECS, is a complex network of lipids and receptors.
Endocannabinoids and their respective receptors are produced naturally
by the body and are located in the brain, connective tissues, glands,
and, notably, the cells of the immune system. These receptors are
designed to interact actively with cannabinoids in a variety of ways.

Recently, scientists have discovered that cannabinoids derived from the
cannabis plant can actually help the ECS to function at optimal levels,
thus promoting optimal health. This is especially important due to the
fact that ECS receptors have a direct effect on bodily functions such as
hunger, pain sensation, mood, memory, appetite, blood sugar levels, and
the immune system.

The ECS and Its Ties to the Immune System

Study of the ECS has revealed that cannabinoids can act as
for a wide assortment of human processes, including learning, appetite,
and immune response. Within the immune system, endocannabinoids function
to protect and lubricate systems for optimal function. Additionally,
they play an important role in reliving symptoms of disease progression
and pain.

Although the effects of the ECS on the human immune system warrant far
more study, scientists currently know that targeted cannabinoids are a
promising treatment for certain autoimmune diseases, such as multiple
Parkinson’s, lupus and arthritis. As a treatment, cannabinoids can often
serve to reduce inflammatory
and provide
increased comfort for affected patients.

How Cannabinoids Affect Neural Function

Cannabinoids have been scientifically proven to play an active role in
maintaining and regulating the processes of
neurogenesis and
neurodegeneration. In
animal trials, cannabinoids have alleviated symptoms of stroke and
traumatic head injuries. This provides an important link between
cannabinoids and the immune system. The immune system is capable of
helping the body recover from

because of its power to reduce inflammation in the central nervous
system. With that in mind, it stands to reason that using cannabinoids
to help decrease inflammation while also promoting the construction of
new neural pathways (neurogenesis) could go a long way toward supporting
the immune system’s natural function and creating quicker stroke
recovery periods.

Cannabis can Help to Balance Different Functions of the Immune System

Predominantly, the body uses two immunity mechanisms to prevent disease
and illness. These types are as follows:

  • Cell-Mediated Immunity: Cell-mediated
    not utilize antibodies to fight disease. Instead, it relies upon the
    creation and activation of antigen-specific T-lymphocytes known
    as phagocytes. These phagocytes target various antigens by releasing
    cytokines to neutralize the threat and restore the body to
    normal function.
  • Humoral Immunity: Humoral
    known as antibody-mediated immunity) relies on the macromolecules
    located in extracellular fluids to fight off antigens, unlike
    cell-mediated immunity which involves T-lymphocytes.

Because the immune system is so complex, it’s not altogether surprising
that it sometimes falls out of balance. Multiple sclerosis, for example,
is an autoimmune disease that results from the cell-mediated immune
system becoming overly active and targeting the body’s brain and nervous
system as if it were a dangerous antigen. Within M.S., the immune system
attacks the

(the fatty, protective coating) around nerve fibers, resulting in
extensive scar tissue and damage. Over time, the buildup of scar tissue
begins to interrupt nerve impulses as they travel to and from the brain.
This, in turn, causes a loss of motor function and eventual paralysis in
the affected individual.

Until now, conditions like this had no known treatment or cure. But
excitingly, scientists have recently discovered that the ECS and various
cannabinoids may actually help to balance the various branches of the
immune system
. This is
important because when the immune system is overstimulated, autoimmune
diseases and dangerous allergic reactions such as food sensitivities,
often occur. This is due to the fact that an overstimulated immune
system treats even routine things, such as dust or pollen, as dangerous
intruders and releases "false alarms" that tell the body to attack the
allergen. When the immune system is under-stimulated, however, cancer
and disastrous infections can easily arise. If cannabinoids can help
balance the immune system for optimal functionality, it stands to reason
that the rates of these adverse affects would be drastically decreased.

Using Cannabinoids to Produce Maximum Immune Function

While routine, recreational use of marijuana may have adverse affects on
an individual’s overall health and well-being, research from the
targeted use of cannabinoids for the purpose of boosting the immune
system is overwhelmingly positive. In addition to mitigating the

of arthritis and various neural problems, cannabinoids have been shown
to interact with the ECS in a way that helps promote maximum immune
function and optimal health through various stages of life.

Although the topic of cannabinoids and the immune

requires further study and evaluation, scientists have already compiled
a large body of research, which is starting to reveal how cannabinoid
compounds can help the immune system function at optimal levels.

Photo Credit.


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