Can CBD Reduce Inflammation?
If you haven’t tried CBD for your inflammation, you could be living with unnecessary pain and discomfort.
Inflammation can sound pretty scary, but it’s your body's natural response to several different situations. When your body doesn’t STOP being inflamed though, it can be very painful and uncomfortable. Luckily, CBD can help!
Unlike its cousin THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD mostly interacts with our immune system. If you weren’t aware, our immune system is pretty powerful and affects almost all other aspects of our bodies, including inflammation!
Whether or not you’re dealing with minor aches caused by inflammation or painful chronic inflammation, keep reading to decide whether or not CBD is right for you.
What is Inflammation?
Picture this. You’re an avid runner and one day you decide to push yourself to run farther or faster than you’ve ever run before. Obviously, you crush that goal because you’re awesome. However, the next day your knees ache and you can't get up out of bed.
Or maybe, at the last second, your sister needs you to babysit your nephew. He’s got the sniffles, but it doesn’t seem too bad. The next day, though, you’ve got a sore throat; it hurts to swallow. Both of these are examples of inflammation!
LifeScience says, “Inflammation is a vital part of the immune system's response to injury and infection. It is the body's way of signaling the immune system to heal and repair damaged tissue, as well as defend itself against foreign invaders, such as viruses and bacteria.” Without this natural response, our bodies wouldn’t heal.
When our bodies detect foreign organisms (like bacteria or viruses) or even foreign objects (like splinters), white blood cells are sent to protect us. The release of white blood cells means more blood flow to the area, which can cause redness, warmth, and sometimes swelling. Often this can be irritating or painful. WebMD even says, “The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining and, eventually, wearing down of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones).”
So, while inflammation is a natural response, too much of it is NOT good.
There are, however, two different types of inflammation to be aware of. The two scenarios we described above are both considered acute inflammation.
What Is Acute Inflammation?
This is the type of inflammation that everyone deals with. Anytime you get a cut, sprain a knee, or even just get a sore throat, your body creates short-term, localized inflammation to help the healing process. The National Library of Medicine says that this type of inflammation can be recognized by swelling, redness, heat, and sometimes pain and loss of function.
Think about the last time you sprained your ankle. Did your ankle swell, hurt, become red and warm, and lose some function? That’s acute inflammation.
Once the injury is sufficiently healed, any acute inflammation should subside in a day or so. But what if you have inflammation all the time? What if you deal with inflammation even when you haven’t experienced an injury or minor illness?
That’s the other type of inflammation. When that happens, it’s considered chronic inflammation.
What Is Chronic Inflammation?
When a healthy individual develops chronic inflammation, it can sometimes mean that they had acute inflammation that went on too long. Because of that, it developed into chronic inflammation. This can often happen with sports injuries that weren’t treated properly or that were re-injured.
Sometimes the immune system will trigger an inflammatory response even when there aren’t any “foreign invaders” around. This is often seen in autoimmune disorders where a person's immune system can start attacking healthy cells.
Chronic inflammation isn’t short-lived and it doesn’t necessarily have to be localized. Many individuals with autoimmune disorders experience inflammation all over their bodies and it can have a huge impact on their lives.
A shortlist of some disorders involving chronic inflammation are:
- Crohn’s disease
- Some cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
Seriously, this list could go on and on. Part of that reason is that disorders can cause inflammation... but when inflammation goes on for too long, inflammation can be what causes the disorders. It’s a disheartening chicken vs. egg scenario. Luckily, CBD can offer temporary relief for both chronic and acute inflammation.
Inflammation and Your Endocannabinoid System
Like we said earlier, CBD interacts with your immune system. It does that through your ECS (endocannabinoid system). This is a vast communication system with receptors throughout your body, and its purpose is to help your body achieve homeostasis.
Your ECS accomplishes homeostasis by regulating several different areas of your body. Some items include your pain responses, your sleep cycle, appetite, adrenal system, mood, memory, and even your immune system.
When your body detects an imbalance, it binds endocannabinoids (the natural ones your body produces) with ECS receptors. This creates a chemical response that balances whatever physiological process was out of balance. All of this happens without you even realizing it!
There is, however, a possibility that some people have a condition called clinical endocannabinoid deficiency. Essentially, the body doesn’t naturally create enough endocannabinoids for the ECS to be effective. This could explain why two people with the same condition have completely different responses to medical treatments.
Regardless of whether or not you have clinical endocannabinoid deficiency, CBD will still function the same way.
How does CBD Decrease Inflammation?
For anyone who’s hoping that CBD will help decrease their inflammation, or even just make their inflammation more manageable, the process will work the same way.
Once CBD is in your system and binds to receptors in the ECS, CBD helps your body by flushing cells it doesn’t need anymore, stopping harmful cells from multiplying, and making it harder for certain immune cells to cause harmful reactions.
Basically, it boosts the balancing power already within the ECS. Balance is the natural state, and CBD just helps your body find balance again.
How to Use CBD to Fight Inflammation
That’s the best part. CBD comes in many different shapes and sizes, so you can use whatever method works best for you!
Want to eat a few CBD gummies throughout the day? Go for it. Do you like the idea of taking a CBD Vape break at work? Then invest in high-quality vape juice and vape away! If you have localized inflammation from an athletic injury, then find a soothing CBD balm and massage it into sore or stiff muscles.
You don’t have to drastically change your personality or lifestyle to use CBD, so use whatever method is the most practical for you.
If, however, you deal with severe, chronic inflammation, then you should consider opting for the most powerful, bioavailable option: sublingual oils and tinctures.
CBD Oils and Tinctures Vs. Chronic Inflammation
Anything you eat has to pass through your digestive tract. That means the effects can take several hours to kick in, and your liver may only process a fraction of the CBD. So unless it has a high dose, it may not be powerful enough to ease your inflammation.
Inhalants are popular because the effects can be felt within a minute or two. The downside is that the effects last the shortest amount of time. If you’re struggling with painful inflammation that makes it hard to get around, you don’t want your CBD wearing off at an inopportune moment.
Topicals are great for localized pain (think stiff joints, muscles, or inflamed skin), but the effects can take hours to kick in. Plus, if you have chronic inflammation, fighting it from the inside-out is like fighting with one arm tied behind your back.
That’s why sublingual oils and tinctures are ideal for fighting chronic inflammation.
By placing a few drops (sometimes a full dropper) underneath your tongue and holding it there for a few minutes, CBD is absorbed straight into your bloodstream via your mucous membrane. This bypasses the digestive tract and liver, meaning your body absorbs the maximum amount of CBD. Plus, the effects can be felt within 20-30 minutes and last for several hours.
If your quality of life is diminished by painful, chronic inflammation, adding a sublingual oil or tincture to your morning or evening routine can be a game-changer.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor before adding any CBD supplements to your regimen. Side-effects are rare, but it’s best to be cautious. This is especially important for those who are already on prescription medications, as CBD can interact with certain blood thinners.
If you’re ready to improve your quality of life with a CBD Oil or Tincture then check out our products and find something that fits your lifestyle. Nervous about finding the right dose with oils and tinctures? Read our CBD Oil Dosage How-To Guide. It may take some trial-and-error to see what works best, but once you’ve got it figured out you’ll quickly make CBD a permanent part of your routine.
We’re incredibly passionate about improving people's lives with CBD. So please let us know in the comments if you or someone you know has had a positive experience using any of our products. The more we communicate and share our CBD success stories, the more people we can help!
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Hannah Walker is a mostly-retired University English instructor who spends her time freelance copywriting. When not doing that, she’s writing articles related to CBD, skincare, and/or media. With an MA in English-Creative Writing she’s probably working on a creative piece at this very moment. See more about Hannah’s work on her website or on Instagram.