The immune system is your bodies built in defense system, protecting you from foreign invaders like bacteria, viruses, and pollutants. Having a strong immune system is crucial for maintaining your overall health, especially during these unprecedented times. Individuals are constantly looking for ways to boost the immune system to avoid getting sick. So, does incorporating cannabis into your daily routine strengthen your immune system? Does the way you ingest the cannabis matter? Will cannabis suppress my immune system? We will be answering all of these questions, as we explore the link between cannabis and the immune system which is being explored by researchers with promising results.
THE LINK BETWEEN CANNABIS AND THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
In order to explore the link between Cannabis and the Immune System, we have to understand how the Endocannabinoid System works, and how the overlap contributes to how they can work together. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for maintaining a balanced environment, or homeostasis in the body. The endocannabinoid system regulates body processes like: pain, hunger, mood, stress responses, etc, through its receptors (CB1 and CB2). If both the immune system and cannabis play roles in the endocannabinoid system, it would only make sense that the interaction of the two would have benefits.
WHAT DO STUDIES SHOW?
As studies come out about the immune response and its link to cannabis, inflammation has been the response with the biggest link to cannabis. Cannabis is frequently sought out by individuals looking for relief from inflammation related problems, such as pain and autoimmune diseases. It is known that cannabis has anti-inflammatory properties (by binding to CB2 receptors), and that the inflammatory response is actually an immune response. Although the inflammatory response is triggered by the immune system to protect the body, autoimmune diseases are caused by an overactive immune response, when there is no danger present to the body. Cannabis mitigates this response with its anti inflammatory properties. Studies have also shown that the cannabis users presented with higher white blood cell (immune system cells) counts than non cannabis users, specifically users who ingested cannabis versus smoking cannabis.
SO, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
More research is necessary and more knowledge is to be gained to support the connection between cannabis and the immune system in order to definitively say that cannabis improves the immune system. As of now we do know that it does not negatively affect it and has shown positive results especially in its use with autoimmune responses and inflammation responses from ailments such as HIV and cancer.