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Can CBD enhance your immune system?

With the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, self-isolation and talk of quarantines being put in place, many people are feeling stressed out, fearful and drained. Some people are turning to natural products such as CBD to help them deal with their anxiety and depression. But, there could be another benefit of taking CBD during this time, supporting your immune system. 

In this article we will look at how CBD works with the endocannabinoid system to help support your immune system and its function.

Brief Overview of the Immune System and How It Works

The immune system is the body’s first line of defenses against pathogens like viruses, bacteria and other types of foreign bodies that are intent on invading the body. The immune system consists of different components including:

  • Leukocytes / white bloodcells that act like independent, single-celled organisms of which there are two types:

    • Lymphocytes that comprise B and T lymphocytes that kill pathogens and build immunity by creating antibodies

    • Leukocytes that include phagocytes, neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and mast cells that ingest and digest invading pathogens, foreign particles, and dead or dying cells

  • Immune cells that comprise dendritic cells, granulocytes and lymphoid cells that process antigens and act as immune system messengers

  • Proteins like cytokines that that play a fundamental role in communication within the immune system and in allowing the immune system and host tissue cells to exchange information 

  • Lymphoidorgans like the thymus, spleen and liver which have multiple immune system functions and contains cannabinoid receptors 

  • Lymphatic system comprising a network of lymphatic vessels for the transportation of white blood cells to and from the lymph nodes into the bones 

For the immune system to function properly, it is reliant on a variety of other factors and systems. One of these is the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which to a large extent modulates immune responses when confronted with foreign and invading bodies.

The Role of the Endocannabinoid System in immune functions

The main function of the ECS is to maintain homeostasis within the body, and as such, cannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, including the lymphoid organs, lymphatic system and immune cells. 

For instance, CB1 receptors can be found in immune cells with the activation of CB1 receptors being linked to changes in immune cell reactivity while the endocannabinoid Anandamide being linked to the modulation of immune function. Likewise, endocannabinoids are also present in immune cells and are thought to impact their functionality in localized environments. 

Similarly, CB2 receptors are found in abundance throughout the immune system and along with 2-AG, is the main “interface” between the ECS and the immune system. For example, CB2 receptors are found in monocytes, macrophages and leukocytes as well as several lymphoid organs while 2-AG, when binding to CB2 receptors, selectively targets cell types that have an immune function capability. CB2 receptors are also involved with immune function and response as well as the regulating inflammatory responses through an activation of the immune cells responsible for recognizing, destroying and processing antigen materials. 

The end result of all of this is one in which the ECS together with the immune system combines to regulate and modulate immune functioning and responses that can result in either an immunosuppressant (suppressing the immune system) or immunopotentiating (enhances the immune system) effect.

CBD for Immune System Support

Because cannabinoids like CBD interact directly on the ECS, they also have the ability to impact immune system function, including disease resistance. For one, CBD inhibits the excess release of FAAH, a metabolic enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids. As such, when FAAH release is inhibited, higher levels of both anandamide and 2-AG are present, both of which are implicated in maintaining homeostasis and healthy immune function. 

Similarly, CBD also has the ability to activate TRVP1 receptors that enhance the immune system’s response to pathogens. When TRVP1 receptors are activated, the release of the immune systems messenger proteins called cytokines and chemokines are stimulated that, in turn, regulates and supports innate and acquired immunity against infection.

CBD and immune system response to COVID-19

From the above, a picture emerges that CBD may be helpful in supporting the immune system to fight off infectious diseases like COVID-19. Because of the way in which CBD plays an adaptive and modulatory role in ECS function and the ECS’s implicit effects on immune system function, it could potentially help support the immune system. 

Regardless, more research is needed to draw any definitive conclusions. Be responsible and follow the guidelines set out the World Health Organization to prevent getting infected - supplementing with CBD is no substitute for true prevention of getting infected with COVID-19. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, there is no substitute for seeking medical care early.

Other Ways CBD Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The true impact of COVID-19 is the social isolation that restricts access to support systems. There is a great deal of anxiety about the future and other stressors that leave lives completely upended, leaving a great number of people feeling stressed, hopeless, and drained. CBD can greatly help to control and manage feelings of anxiety and depression while also helping with relaxation and sleep. Read our articles on CBD use cases for more insights. 

When considering taking a CBD supplement, look for a good quality CBD oil or CBD hemp flowers for the best results. We also suggest buying your CBD products through an online shop like ours here at uWeed to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and/or spreading infection in the process. At the same time, you can benefit from our loyalty program as well as great prices following the Swiss government’s recent decision to remove the 25% tobacco taxes from hemp flowers.

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