If you have an autoimmune condition, then you know how hard it can be to gain control over your symptoms. You might take medication that makes you feel worse than the condition itself, or you might be living with chronic pain or anxiety daily as a result of your disease.
Research shows that CBD can help your autoimmune condition on many levels. It acts as an immunosuppressant, which can help control your immune response. It also alleviates pain, depression, and anxiety. Read on to learn more about taking CBD for autoimmune disorders.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is a disease that occurs when your immune cells mistake healthy cells in your body as foreign invaders and attack them. Many people associate an autoimmune disease with a weakened immune response.
However, research shows that an autoimmune disorder occurs as a result of an overactive immune response. In other words, your immune system goes into overdrive and attacks parts of your body that it shouldn’t because it thinks they are pathogenic. There is nothing weak about it!
Currently, there are more than 80 different autoimmune conditions. They are usually classified by the different body parts affected. For example, Crohn’s disease is an autoimmune disease that affects your colon while multiple sclerosis affects the nerves in your brain.
Here are some other examples of common autoimmune disorders:
● Type 1 diabetes: type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition that occurs when your body attacks the pancreas, which is responsible for creating insulin that regulates blood sugar levels.
● Graves disease: Graves disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid gland and usually leads to hyperthyroidism by producing more thyroid hormone than your body needs.
● Hashimoto’s: Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition that also affects the thyroid gland. However, unlike Grave’s disease, Hashimoto’s causes hypothyroidism, which occurs when the body does not make enough thyroid hormones.
● Lupus: lupus is an autoimmune condition that may affect any organ in the body. It most commonly affects the skin, joints, heart, lungs, brain, and blood cells.
● IBD: irritable bowel disease (IBD) is an autoimmune condition that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease can attack any part of the GI tract from the mouth to anus while ulcerative colitis only affects the colon.
● Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): RA is an autoimmune condition that results in painful, inflammation joints.
● Celiac disease: Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that stems from a reaction to gluten, a protein that is commonly found in wheat.
There are many other autoimmune conditions out there, and some can even be deadly. Current treatment options include taking steroids to reduce inflammation and immunosuppressants in anattempt to “calm down” your immune system so that it stops attacking itself.
While medication is essential for many people with an autoimmune disease, it’s also possible to control your symptoms using alternative approaches, such as CBD. Medical marijuana has also been shown to reduce some of the secondary symptoms associated with autoimmunity, such asdepression, pain, and anxiety.
CBD and Immune Health
Cannabidol, or CBD, is a non-stimulating compound (unlike THC) found in cannabis that contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It works by binding to CBD receptors in the body and reducing inflammation, which is an underlying cause of anxiety, depression, and pain that are common side effects of autoimmune diseases.
Additionally, research shows that CBD has an immunosuppressant role in the body that may prevent the immune system from going into overdrive and attacking its own cells. One study indicated that CBD administration leads to immunosuppression and recovery from immune-related injuries to organs, such as the liver.
The same study noted that unlike immune cells, CBD can protect against cell death in central nervous system cells, which can help protect against autoimmune conditions, including multiple sclerosis. Cannabinoids also help alleviate neuropathic pain linked to autoimmune conditions.
Researchers note that CBD’s protective role in diseases such as MS also appear to be long-lasting – results were seen 80 days after treatment in animal studies. Many people who take CBD report having a better quality of life due to reduced anxiety and pain, which can be common symptoms of both the autoimmune disease itself and associated medications.
CBD is easy to administer, too. Here are some ways you can take CBD:
If you are currently taking medication for an autoimmune disease, talk to your doctor before you start taking CBD to rule out and contraindications. CBD is generally well-tolerated among those with debilitating conditions, and the benefits seem to outweigh the risks. A doctor can help you make the best decision based on your medical history, and you should consult your medical professional before you stop taking any autoimmune medicine.