Inflammation often goes hand in hand with pain. The most common symptoms of inflammation include pain, heat, redness, and swelling. Typically, inflammation is treated with anti-inflammatory medications, including both non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and steroid medications.
CBD also appears to affect a class of molecules important to the inflammation process called cytokines. CBD tends to reduce the effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, thereby reducing inflammation.
How does CBD reduce inflammation?
Such medications have risks and side effects, however. Some people choose to take a more preventative approach to treating inflammation, such as consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, and taking anti-inflammatory supplements. Could CBD contribute to a more natural approach to treating inflammation?
CBD is known to be an anti-inflammatory and it is likely one of the safest medicines to provide such an effect.
Cannabinoids, including CBD, are believed to be anti-inflammatory. Several studies in cells, rodents, and humans support the idea that CBD may be an effective anti-inflammatory, but more research is needed to determine how it works and the best applications for specific types of inflammation.
Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports: “Cannabis for the Treatment of Epilepsy: an Update.”
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity: “Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”
Mayo Clinic Proceedings: “Clinicians’ Guide to Cannabidiol and Hemp Oils.”
Potential Risks of Hemp Oil
Over time, excess inflammation in your body can contribute to a variety of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and asthma. It has been suggested that gamma linolenic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid found in hemp, acts as an anti-inflammatory. Studies have also linked the omega-3 fatty acids in hemp with reductions in inflammation.
Hemp oil, also known as hemp seed oil, is made from hemp, a cannabis plant like the drug marijuana but containing little to no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical that gets people “high.” Instead of THC, hemp contains cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical that has been used to treat everything from epilepsy to anxiety.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Although hemp and marijuana come from the same species of cannabis plant, hemp has little to no THC. This means that consuming hemp is legal in the U.S. and will not cause you to become intoxicated or impaired.
“I have had IBD for over 20 years, and had been on a range of medications, from steroids to opioids,” Orr told Weedmaps. “The steroids helped a lot with inflammation but not with the pain, and the Oxy was like trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer — brutal side effects. It made me feel awful due to bad nausea and extreme fogginess.”
There is already a large body of scientific literature and anecdotal evidence that supports CBD’s potential for the treatment of inflammation.
Riggle emphasizes that the mechanisms by which CBD acts on the body, its specific applications, and appropriate doses require further study. That being said, he acknowledges that CBD represents a low-risk, high-reward treatment for inflammation, as it is non-toxic and has minor side effects.
Acute inflammation occurs following an injury, infection, or illness. The immune system unleashes immune cells to the affected area to protect it, causing redness and swelling.
Stacia Woodcock, a pharmacist at Curaleaf New York, which sells CBD products, points out that it may take some time for CBD oil to exert its anti-inflammatory effects on the body.