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What Does Marijuana Do To Your Immune System?

Cannabinoids are immune-modulators, which means that they alter our immune system in different ways, but what does it really mean?

Cannabis is a plant that can have myriad effects on our bodies, depending on our mood or the strain that’s consumed. Cannabinoids are immune-modulators, meaning that they exert some kind of influence in our immune systems. This has been a topic of interest for a lot of physicians, but what does it mean?

Results from studies provide several explanations:

Some research claims that cannabis suppresses our immune system, which is the reason why it’s so good at decreasing inflammation. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your situation. When it comes to viruses and infections, inflammation does play an important role in our bodies, trapping them and preventing them from spreading around.

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.

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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 hard to treat.

RELATED: Study: Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life In Fibromyalgia Patients

There’s a lot of information out there, but there’s still not enough research to definitively explain cannabis’ role in our immune systems. Cannabis is an extremely versatile plant but it all comes down to each patient’s unique situation. 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 provide what you need. 

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