Your immune system. It’s your gatekeeper, helping to prevent you from spending days in bed during cold and flu season, speeding to the site of injury to prevent infection and fighting off invaders that try to weaken your body. A healthy immune system is critical to your wellbeing.
Your immune system is a whole network of parts, continually working to stomp out germs and other interlopers. The big work is done primarily by your white blood cells. These cells isolate and destroy anything that’s not supposed to be present in your body. Consider them a sort of superhero janitor, cleaning up bad guys who have set up camp where they’re not supposed to be. They also chase out the cells that aren’t doing their job.
How Does the Endocannabinoid System and Immune System Work Together?
CBD supports your endocannabinoid system. Why does that matter for immunity? With two primary receptors, the endocannabinoid system is vital to our sense of wellbeing. CB1 receptors are found throughout the brain, central nervous system and peripheral nervous system. These moderate everything from mood and memory to motor function and the perception of pain. CB2 receptors can be found primarily in the immune system and gut. CB2 receptors help moderate our response to inflammation as well as how our body handles pathogens -- pathogens being the bad actors that cause infection, give us the flu, and that sort of thing.
Since CBD interacts with your endocannabinoid system, it can help your CBD2 receptors deliver a more effective response to those harmful pathogens, thus a stronger immune system. However, more research is needed to understand exactly how CBD works within the immune system.
Sleep is Key
Getting adequate sleep is a critical component to staying healthy. Our bodies require long periods of sleep to restore and rejuvenate, grow muscle and repair tissue. As every new parent of a newborn baby knows, sleep is oh so precious.
During sleep, your immune system releases proteins called cytokines. Certain cytokines need to increase when you have an infection or inflammation, or when you're under stress. Lack of sleep might decrease production of these important cytokines. Research also suggests that infection-fighting cells are reduced during periods when you don't get enough ZZZs.
CBD’s ability for promoting a calm mind can play a role in getting your sleep back on track, thus supporting your body’s immune system. Learn more about how CBD can support optimal sleep.
CBD Helps with Stress, Too.
Scientists have been studying the impact of stress on our immune systems for decades. An accurate “fight or flight” response to a stressful situation is good for us -- for example, literally running away from danger is the correct response. But we’ve evolved to respond to factors that are not quite so hazardous, like sitting in traffic, with that same response. That taxes our immune system in potentially damaging ways.
All kinds of things hit that immune system -- stressful work or school situations, lack of sleep, worrying about relationships, all the complicated stuff that makes up modern life. Fight or flight makes sense if, for example, there’s a tree falling and you’re in its way, but it doesn’t help when you’re on the phone with the cable company arguing about your bill. While CBD can’t fix those problems at the source, it can moderate your response to events that don’t require you to fight or run. Saving that stress response for when you really need it takes a load off your immune system. Learn more about CBD for stress relief.
And that’s where CBD can help. Does it impact your immune system directly? We’re not sure yet, there’s still a lot of research to be done. Does it help lower stress levels and is that good for your immune system? All signs point to yes.