What We Know About CBD and Inflammation
If you have noticed the CBD boom in the past two years, you may have noticed that CBD for inflammation is one of the reasons it's becoming so popular. While CBD for inflammation is not FDA approved, there is a lot of evidence to support this idea. We’ll first look at what CBD is, then we will put the spotlight on some of the research supporting CBD for inflammation.
What is CBD?
CBD stands for cannabidiol and it is a compound found in marijuana and hemp plants. CBD is more specifically referred to as a cannabinoid, and cannabinoids are found densely throughout the cannabis plant. Like CBD, THC is also a cannabinoid that you may be familiar with. This cannabinoid causes the psychoactive high associated with smoking or using a marijuana product. CBD does not create this psychotropic effect, it is a way to get the benefits that cannabinoids bring - without the high.
In 2018, the federal government passed what’s known as the 2018 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill removed industrial hemp from the Schedule I substance list, effectively exploding the CBD industry in the United States. The law requires industrial hemp to contain less than 0.3% THC. If the plants test “hot”, meaning more than 0.3% THC, they are required by law to be discarded and destroyed - not to be used or sold at all.
Once the hemp plants test out appropriately, they are then processed into CBD products. There are many different kinds of CBD products, you just have to find the one that works best for you!
CBD for inflammation: what is the research?
The thing about inflammation is that it manifests itself in many different ways. Inflammation can present itself as pain, digestive disorders, autoimmune conditions, and even skin disruptions can occur due to an inflammatory response. While inflammation is a natural response from the body to protect itself from harm, it can cause lingering issues. Prolonged inflammation increases the production of free radicals, which are harmful atoms that cause damage to the body. Free radicals have been linked to cancer and a host of other diseases. It is imperative that we manage our inflammation to the best of our ability - without suppressing its protective response.
Even though it is not FDA approved, there are dozens of studies to support the idea of using CBD for inflammation. This 2017 study for example explores CBD’s effect on inflammation in mice with osteoarthritis. The results indicate that CBD helped these rodents with osteoarthritis, with the study concluding that “acute, transient joint inflammation was reduced by local CBD treatment,” as well as local CBD administration blocking pain caused by osteoarthritis. The study concludes, “These findings suggest that CBD may be a safe, useful therapeutic for treating OA joint neuropathic pain.” This 2019 study found that CBD has a positive effect on inflammation in the airway in asthmatic patients.
This information is all fine and good, but why does CBD work? CBD works because our bodies are equipped with something called the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system contains receptors throughout our body, they’re essentially portals for cannabinoids like CBD to enter our body and work its magic.
There are two kinds of receptors: CB1 and CB2. CBD works primarily with CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors can be found all throughout our body, but they are primarily found in our immune cells and vital organs. Many of our immune cells are located in our digestive system, which is why CBD has such a big impact on digestive disorders. CB1 receptors and THC fit each other like a lock and key, and CB1 receptors are mainly found in our brain stem, nervous system, spinal cord, and more. Our endocannabinoid receptors and cannabinoids work synergistically together to bring the body to homeostasis. Our body also produces naturally-occurring cannabinoids that are made as we need them.
It is important to remember that the research we have available to us is merely giving us the ability to explore CBD for inflammation, the studies don’t give us an automatic pass to use CBD as a treatment option. It is important to always talk to your doctor before introducing CBD to your routine, especially if you are on other prescription medications.
Which CBD product should I choose to combat my inflammation?
As we briefly mentioned above, inflammation manifests itself in many different ways. Therefore, there is no one “right” way to use CBD, it just depends on the goals you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to stop digestive inflammation in its tracks - check out this CBD oil or these gummies. They are sweet in flavor, so they’re palatable for people who may not be able to stomach a bitter CBD taste. These two products are great for body and muscle pain, as well!
If you have a skin condition, check out this hand cream! It is jam-packed with additional ingredients to soothe inflamed skin, like ceramides and colloidal oatmeal. There is 500 milligrams of CBD per bottle, so you’ll get approximately 2-3 milligrams of CBD per application. Topical CBD products for muscle and joint recovery are also an option, so browse around for those, too.
In a nutshell
To sum it all up, there is no FDA-approved CBD product for inflammation. With that being said, CBD for inflammation has been widely studied and the results are very promising. Much of the evidence we have is anecdotal, so explore different CBD options to find the one that works for you.