The immune system is a vital part of your health and wellbeing. In some cases, however, the immune system may be overactive or poorly-regulated, triggering autoimmune disorders.
Fortunately, cannabis can help suppress unhealthy inflammatory responses for individuals with autoimmune diseases. However, it can also weaken the immune system in other ways.
THC and CBD are Immunosuppressants
The immune system is a complex organ in the body that helps protect the body from infections. However, in some people, the immune system mistakenly attacks the body, causing inflammation and other symptoms. This is called an autoimmune condition and can be classified into two classes: organ-specific and systemic autoimmune diseases.
The effects of cannabis on the immune system are still being studied, but there is some evidence that it may have a positive effect on people with autoimmune diseases. The main way that this is possible is by triggering cell death, or apoptosis, in immune cells. This can reduce the number of these cells that attack healthy tissue and cause pain, inflammation, and other symptoms in those who suffer from autoimmune conditions.
THC and CBD are cannabinoids that are naturally produced by cannabis plants (also known as Cannabis sativa). They can produce different effects on the body depending on how they interact with our endocannabinoid system.
When it comes to the medical benefits of cannabis, most of the studies that have been conducted show that THC and CBD have a positive impact on the treatment of a wide variety of conditions including autoimmune diseases. They are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the pain and discomfort associated with certain types of chronic conditions.
Both THC and CBD suppress the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. This is done by interacting with endocannabinoid receptors on the surface of the cells in our body. These receptors are responsible for regulating how the body responds to stress and other external stimuli.
These cannabinoids also inhibit a protein called cyclooxygenase 2, which is responsible for producing inflammatory compounds such as COX-2 and IL-1. In addition, CBD suppresses nitric oxide, which is another important chemical that can trigger the production of inflammation.
Lastly, CBD can activate regulatory cells like Tregs and MDSCs that prevent the overproduction of T-cells. These cells help control the body’s autoimmune response and can be helpful in treating some conditions, such as multiple sclerosis.
While CBD and THC have a positive effect on many conditions, they can also cause negative effects if taken in large doses. These side effects can include psychotic disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. They can also be linked to long-term high THC use, which is why it’s so important to discuss your cannabis consumption with your doctor before taking it.
They Deplete Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to suppressing the immune system, cannabis can also deplete the body of vital vitamins and minerals. This includes antioxidants like vitamin C & E, as well as B-vitamins, GABA, and magnesium.
The human immune system is a complex and powerful body part that works with the help of several other systems to fight off diseases and infections. Among the various aspects of the immune system are the endocannabinoid system (ECS), immune cells, and antimicrobial defenses.
Using cannabinoids can be helpful to those who have an autoimmune disorder, as it can help to balance their immune system and decrease inflammation. CBD has been shown to suppress inflammatory pathways and promote the growth of regulatory cells that are known to control the immune system.
However, these effects can be countered by frequent marijuana use and the related lowering of white blood cell count and natural killer cells. This is because frequent consumption can inhibit the production of these key cells, which may make you more susceptible to a wide range of infections and illnesses.
Another study demonstrates that cannabinoids have an effect on the body’s inflammatory response by dialing down apoptosis, which is the cell death process that normally occurs in the immune system to prevent infection or cancer.
This is a particularly important function for patients with autoimmune disorders, as the immune system can mistake their own bodies for foreign invaders and attack them in various ways.
While the science isn’t clear, researchers believe that the aforementioned effects of cannabinoids are responsible for some of the positive outcomes seen in patients with autoimmune conditions. THC, in particular, is said to be a great way to manage certain autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis by controlling inflammatory processes within the body.
While this may be an excellent tool to use when fighting off a disease, it can also be dangerous if used regularly, as it can cause serious damage to the liver. In addition, it can be difficult to tell exactly how much you’re taking and what doses will work best for you.
They Increase Inflammation
The immune system is designed to fight off infection and diseases by sending white blood cells out into the body to find and destroy foreign organisms. When the immune system is suppressed, these white blood cells are less effective at destroying disease-causing organisms and are more likely to die off or be reabsorbed into the body.
Inflammation is a normal part of the immune response, but it can also be harmful when chronic or abnormal levels are present. It is a sign of the body being out of balance, which can cause a range of health issues, from simple headaches to serious disease.
Cannabinoids including THC and CBD are anti-inflammatory agents that block the body’s natural production of inflammation and reduce it. They do this by triggering apoptosis, or the natural process of cell death, in immune cells. In turn, this decreases the body’s production of inflammation-producing chemicals known as cytokines (8).
Several experimental models have been developed that demonstrate the effects of cannabis on the immune system and its role in inflammatory-related diseases (Castillo et al., 2010). These studies suggest that cannabis exerts its anti-inflammatory effect through its interaction with ECS and CB2 receptors.
A multivariable analysis of nationally representative data from Wave 1 of the PATH study indicates that respondents self-reporting recent cannabis use, particularly those who reported that they smoked in the past 30 days, have lower biomarkers of inflammation, such as high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), interleukin 6 (IL-6), and fibrinogen. However, the wide confidence intervals around the point estimates indicate that these associations were not statistically significant.
Although the findings are not robust enough to predict clinical outcomes, it is worth exploring this relationship further. More research is needed to assess the impact of cannabis on inflammation and its underlying mechanisms. In addition, future research should include biological measures of the cannabis used and prospective and experimental study designs.
They Accelerate Disease
The two major chemicals in cannabis, THC and CBD, are considered immunosuppressants. They dial down the inflammatory response in the immune system and may even induce cell death. This naturally-suppressing effect could be very helpful for patients with autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
However, researchers have also found that both THC and CBD can accelerate disease. They may increase the risk of hepatitis C infection in chronic HCV patients by inhibiting the production of antiviral immunity. They can also decrease the number of natural killer cells and reduce white blood cell function, both of which can help protect against cancer and microbial infections.
Moreover, it has been found that regular heavy cannabis use can weaken the immune system and predispose an individual to lung infection. This is especially true in individuals who have a weakened immune system as a result of HIV infection or chemotherapy.
Studies have shown that people who regularly smoke marijuana have more cytoplasmic components in their sputum than non-smokers, indicating that cannabis suppresses pulmonary immunity and increases the risk of respiratory disease. This is particularly true in people who are unable to fight off bacterial pneumonia because of their weakened immune system, such as those with AIDS and cancer.
Smoking marijuana also has been linked to a lowered survival rate among HIV-positive individuals, but it has also been associated with improved virologic response in those who were on hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment. Additionally, research suggests that HIV-positive patients who use cannabis have a higher percentage of CD4 cells than those who do not.
In addition, smoking cannabis has been linked to increased steatosis and liver fibrosis in chronic HCV patients, and may contribute to the progression of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. These negative effects are likely due to the way that cannabis activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the liver.
It is worth noting that both THC and CBD are also immunosuppressants, and they can significantly deplete the body of vitamins and minerals needed by the immune system. Moreover, they can cause vomiting, dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that can lead to serious health problems. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible.