The cannabinoids in marijuana are immune-modulators, which means that they can manipulate our immune systems. So, what does that mean?
Cannabis is a multipurpose plant. Depending on our moods, method, strain, and more, the plant can have different effects. The compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, are known as immune-modulators. This refers to them having some kind of influence on our immune system, thus producing a wide variety of effects.
So, for people who are not scientists, what does this mean? There are several possible explanations and they’re all contradictory and complex, so we’ll try our best to break them down in simple terms.
Research claims that cannabis suppresses our immune system, which is why it has such a powerful impact as an anti-inflammatory agent. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your immune system and what you’re currently going through. When it comes to viruses and infections, inflammation plays an important role in our bodies, trapping them and preventing them from spreading around. Cannabis could stunt your immune response and produce more harm than good.
Other studies suggest that the cannabis plant does something else entirely, making our immune systems stronger and helping it battle infections. This seems to be the case with patients that suffer from cancer or AIDS, where cannabis helps them cope with their symptoms and strengthens their bodies’ response to the disease.
Research conducted on mice with cancer found that cannabis causes apoptosis, which means that it kills cancerogenous cells. Another study conducted on humans with AIDS/HIV discovered that the patients that consumed cannabis ended up with stronger immune systems and had higher CD4 counts (these are T cells that kill the HIV virus).
When it comes to CBD, much of the research out there continues to reflect these contradictory ideas. Essential Health explains that for a healthy person, CBD can compromise their immune system.
For people with an autoimmune disease, where someone’s immune system doesn’t work properly and attacks the healthy cells in their bodies instead of the infections, CBD can provide some benefits, reducing the strength of these symptoms. Autoimmune diseases include HIV, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and more, all of which are difficult to treat.
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There’s a lot of information out there, but there’s still not enough research to definitively explain cannabis’ role in our immune systems. Like most things cannabis related, the way in which it interacts with our bodies is highly individualized and needs much more research than the one that’s available now.
Before you consider taking cannabis as a way of managing disease, it’s important to talk to a doctor to see if your situation warrants this and if the plant will be able to provide you with what you need.