Marijuana and Inflammation: How CBD Can Help Treat Various Inflammatory Diseases
In 2017, Canadians currently spent over 7 billion dollars on cannabis. That number is only expected to increase now that cannabis has been legalized for recreational purposes.
Despite the growing popularity, there are still plenty of people who aren't informed on the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
Cannabis can be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including inflammatory diseases like arthritis.
Read on to learn more about the link between marijuana and inflammation and how you can use medical cannabis to combat all kinds of illnesses.
What is Inflammation?
Before exploring the benefits marijuana has on inflammation, it's important to understand what inflammation is and why it's problematic.
Is Inflammation Always a Problem?
Inflammation is a natural reaction to illness or injury. Contrary to popular belief, it's not always a bad thing. In fact, there are many times when inflammation is necessary.
For example, inflammation often occurs in response to an ankle sprain or another acute injury. Your body sends blood to the affected area and it will begin to swell. This isn't bad; it's a sign that your body's immune system is working properly to protect you.
At the same time, some people's immune systems are a little too active.
In these people, the immune system begins to perceive many things, including -- sometimes -- the body's own tissues, as foreign invaders. This results in frequent immune responses which, in turn, cause them to become chronically inflamed.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to a wide range of chronic diseases, including the following:
- Chronic ulcers
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn's disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Active hepatitis
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer's disease and dementia
Many people who suffer from these illnesses turn to over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory drugs (like ibuprofen or naproxen) to help them manage their inflammation and the pain that often accompanies it.
There a few problems with this approach. First, there is the fact that long-term anti-inflammatory use can cause other serious health issues, including an increased risk of developing heart disease or digestive problems.
Some of these drugs can also be habit-forming when consumed in excess, and people who rely on them may start to notice diminishing returns after a while.
What is the Connection Between Marijuana and Inflammation?
Marijuana provides a natural alternative to traditional anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers.
There are two cannabinoids (components of cannabis) that are especially beneficial to people struggling with chronic inflammation and inflammatory illnesses: cannabidiol (also known as CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC).
CBD is the non-psychoactive component of cannabis (meaning it does not get you high) and THC is the psychoactive component.
These two cannabinoids work in different ways to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Both THC and CBD decrease the body's production of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that send signals for all of the body's cells to react. These reactions include inflammatory responses.
CBD also suppresses the amidohydrolase enzyme. When this enzyme is suppressed, anandamide production increases. Anandamide is an endocannabinoid (naturally occurring cannabinoid) that has been shown to further reduce inflammation in the body.
CBD Vs. THC
CBD and THC can be used together to treat inflammation, or CBD can be extracted and used on its own. Many strains of cannabis also contain higher amounts of THC or CBD.
Some people are under the impression that CBD is the "good" cannabinoid because it doesn't get the user high.
It's true that CBD-only or CBD-dominant strains of cannabis are beneficial to people who don't want to feel high after using cannabis. But, they're not necessarily "better" than other strains that contain THC.
This is because THC and CBD work together to reduce inflammation and provide medicinal benefits. CBD can also dampen the psychoactive properties of THC without dulling its anti-inflammatory benefits.
CBD-only or CBD-dominant products can be a good option for beginners. But, there are also plenty of benefits that come with using products that combine CBD and THC.
If you're not sure what you should be using, talk to a doctor or dispensary employee to see what they recommend for you and your specific symptoms.
Ways to Use Medical Marijuana to Treat Inflammation
There are many different administration methods that patients can use when medicating with cannabis. Some of the most popular options include:
- Dry herb (for smoking or vaping)
- Herbal concentrates (for vaping)
There are also a number of CBD-only products that people who want pain relief but don't want to experience any psychoactive effects can utilize. The most popular CBD-only products include:
- CBD oil
- CBD vapes
- CBD topicals
- CBD edibles
Smoking and vaping can be a little more intimidating for first-time users. But, they are also the fastest-acting options and are often considered to be the best for pain and inflammation relief.
When you smoke or vape, cannabinoids enter the bloodstream through the lungs and bypass the digestive tract. As a result, you'll experience their effects much more quickly than you would if you consumed medical marijuana in the form of an edible or topical product.
It's important to keep in mind, though, that faster isn't always better. For some people, a slower-acting product might be more beneficial. At the end of the day, it all depends on your illness and your specific reasons for using medical marijuana.
Want to Learn More?
As you can see, the connection between marijuana and inflammation treatment is pretty significant. You can use medical marijuana to treat all kinds of inflammatory diseases, from depression to dementia.
Now that marijuana has been legalized in Canada, there's no reason for you not to try using it to treat your illness. There are dispensaries throughout the country ready to serve you.
Do you live in the Vancouver area? Are you interested in learning more about using medical marijuana to treat your health conditions?
If so, consider becoming a member of our dispensary to gain access to high-quality medical marijuana today.
You can also check out our blog to learn more about the benefits of medical marijuana and find out how it can help you.