How Does CBD Reduce Inflammation?
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed devotee of CBD or have just begun your foray into the world of cannabinoids, there’s a solid chance you’ve heard that CBD’s properties may have the potential to curb inflammation and foster wellness.1
But is the association between CBD and inflammation legit or sheer hearsay? And if it is valid, how does CBD reduce inflammation, exactly?
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation often dominates conversations about health—so much so, we may think we know what the biological phenomenon is without having a genuine grasp on it.
Inflammation is a wholly natural process, as automatic as cell turnover and converting calories into usable energy. And while it may get a bad rap, it’s actually positive and imperative—at least when it’s acute as opposed to chronic. Let’s take a quick glimpse at the distinction:
The swelling, tenderness, and redness that results is acute inflammation in action. After your knee and tissues have healed, the inflammatory response ceases, and your knee returns to its usual color, size, and shape.
This can cause temporary and/or ongoing aches, fatigue, weight issues—both gain and loss—and infections that refuse to go away. Moreover, it may increase the risk of more dire health conditions related to the joints and cardiovascular system.
Chronic inflammation is seldom caused by a skinned knee. Smoking, obesity, stress, alcohol, autoimmune conditions, and unresolved injuries and infections are a few of its most common culprits.
How Might CBD Help With Inflammation?
In order to understand how to use CBD oil for pain and the potential CBD has to decrease inflammation—both acute (from, say, overworking your muscles in HIIT Pilates) and chronic—it’s important to review what CBD is, precisely, and how it works in the body.
Remind Me: What Is CBD Again?
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabinoid—one of the two most active ingredients in the cannabis sativa plant, the same plant that delivers us hemp and marijuana. So far, more than 400 cannabinoids have been discovered, but CBD is believed to be one of the most potent in terms of pharmacological effects and therapeutic benefits.1
It’s important to note the difference between CBD and THC. Unlike cannabis’s other primary active constituent, THC, CBD doesn’t cause intoxication.3 The World Health Organization has also “praised” it (or at least that’s the way we see it) for being neither addictive nor subject to abuse. Rather, CBD is lauded for its potential advantages, which have helped propel it into a billion-dollar industry.4
How Does CBD Work in the Body?
As you might recall from high school science, we have hundreds of different types of cell receptors scattered throughout our body, which help us accomplish everything from growing new cells when we need them to generating Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight.5
We also have two specialized cell receptors—called CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors—that are located in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) and work with endocannabinoids to help regulate a variety of functions.5
The ECS, which is situated in the brain, central nervous system, and peripheral nervous system, influences plenty, including:
- Appetite and digestion
- Motor control
- Fertility and reproduction
- Physical sensation
CBD works with these cell receptors to help bring the body back into balance. They don’t alter these receptors, or harm them.
Instead, they urge them to perform a little harder—which is one of the reasons CBD has been linked to a brighter mood and healthier sleep. They can also help prevent endocannabinoids from breaking down so they can continue working on behalf of your brain and body.6
How Does CBD Reduce Inflammation?
With all that behind us, let’s examine how CBD might have the potential to reduce inflammation.
While researchers are still trying to obtain a full picture of the ECS, we do know that it has, importantly, been linked to inflammation. Meanwhile, CBD boasts potential anti inflammatory properties. Put the two and two together and you can see why CBD has been cautiously celebrated as a possible method for decreasing inflammation.
One of the most notable discoveries is this:
- CBD’s anti inflammatory properties may directly decrease the production of proinflammatory cytokines—small proteins that may exacerbate an “intrusion” like an infection and may also contribute to physical discomfort.7,8
- At the same time, CBD pumps up the synthesis of anti-inflammatory cytokines, which may suppress chronic inflammation—such as the sort of inflammation we see in joint stiffness.9
Furthermore, CBD products–with the exception of CBD isolate—are rich in terpenes, naturally-occurring compounds with their own anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
So, What Do Studies Have to Say About the Link Between CBD and Inflammation?
CBD’s anti inflammatory effects have ignited a great deal of interest from the science community. Research on the topic is still in its toddlerhood, but several studies indicate that CBD may indeed help with inflammation. Here’s a bit of what we know thus far:
- A 2015 study published in the European Journal of Pain found that topical CBD reduced joint inflammation in rats—and without side effects.10
- A 2017 review of studies featured in Frontiers in Pharmacology suggests that CBD’s neuroprotective, anti inflammatory properties may have therapeutic benefits for brain health and memory.11 However, more studies are needed to confirm the connection.
- According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, CBD may have an analgesic effect—meaning, it may minimize aches and tenderness.12 Moreover, CBD’s anti inflammatory properties might have an impact on the cause of aches. It’s also noted for being well-tolerated. All that said, more studies are required—especially on the prolonged use of CBD.
CBD and Inflammation: FAQs
Intrigued by CBD’s potential? That’s understandable—but you might also have some questions before you give it a whirl (if you haven’t already). Here are just a handful of common inquiries about CBD and inflammation.
Should I Use CBD?
Only you can make this call. So far, we have a paucity of studies on CBD and inflammation—even if what we do have is promising.
But topical CBD, we should mention, has become a favorite among athletes for the targeted pain relief it may offer to tired, achy muscles—which, you guessed it, is caused by inflammation.13,14
What Type of Products Should I Use?
This, too, is subjective, and your decision should be based on your goals, lifestyle, and preferences.
Fortunately, there are an incredible number of CBD products, including:
- CBD gummies and other edibles
- CBD oil
- CBD tinctures
CBD product options are also available in three types: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full spectrum CBD and broad spectrum CBD have trace amounts (0.08% or less) of THC. CBD isolate has none, rendering it an optimal choice for individuals who haven’t taken well to CBD in the past.
But Is It Safe?
CBD is usually tolerated well, and most topical products—if that’s the method of delivery you ultimately choose—do not enter the bloodstream.15 And yet, all of our bodies are unique; a CBD gummy that works for your sparring partner at the boxing gym might not for you. Although side effects are relatively rare, they include:
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in weight
It’s important to note that CBD may also interact with medications and dietary supplements, so you may want to get the green light from your healthcare professional before diving into CBD products.
And when—or, rather, if—you do? Start off slowly and gradually increase the amount you take to reach the desired effect.
How Else Can I Reduce Inflammation?
We can do little about acute inflammation except for giving ourselves some TLC when we’ve been injured or come down with an infection—and, again, acute inflammation is key to, well, remaining alive.
To mitigate your risk of chronic inflammation, however, the general rule of thumb is to follow a healthy lifestyle, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Amping up physical activity
- Piling your plate with antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory foods, such as dark, leafy greens, olive oil, tomatoes, nuts, fatty fish (like salmon and tuna), and an abundance of fruit—namely, oranges, cherries, and blueberries
Power Up Your Well-being Routine With Peels
The association between CBD and inflammation may only be in its infancy but even preliminary studies indicate that CBD may have a bevy of therapeutic advantages.
Reap some of those rewards with Peels. Whether you want to amplify your post-workout recovery with our CBD oil without THC or take your self-care routine up a notch with our delicious gummies, you can bask in the benefits of CBD sans side effects or THC. How? Our award-winning products are made entirely with orange peels, which share the same molecular structure with those terpenes we mentioned earlier via natural botanical terpenes.
Every day is a good day when you peel aside some time for yourself with Peels.
- Antioxidants. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023045/
- Healthline. What is chronic inflammation (and how to treat it).https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation
- Harvard Health. Cannabidiol (CBD): what we know and what we don’t.https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/cannabidiol-cbd-what-we-know-and-what-we-dont-2018082414476
- Money. Celebrities are rushing to invest in CBD. Should you?https://money.com/cbd-companies-investments/
- Very Well Health. What are cell receptors?https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-is-a-receptor-on-a-cell-562554
- Healthline. A simple guide to the endocannabinoid system.https://www.healthline.com/health/endocannabinoid-system
Frontiers in Pharmacology. Cannabidiol as a therapeutic target: evidence of its neuroprotective and neuromodulatory function in parkinson’s disease.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7770114/#B152
- International Anesthesiology Clinics. Cytokines, inflammation and pain.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2785020/
- Nature. Anti-inflammatory and immune-regulatory cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis.https://www.nature.com/articles/s41584-018-0109-2/
- European Journal of Pain. Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis.https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ejp.818
- Frontiers in Pharmacology. In vivo evidence for therapeutic properties of cannabidiol (CBD) for Alzheimer's disease.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5289988/
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Cannabidiol for pain treatment: focus on pharmacology and mechanism of action.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7700528/
- Medical News Today. 8 of the best CBD topicals in 2022.https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/best-cbd-topicals
- Healthline. Muscle fatigue: causes, symptoms, and treatment.https://www.healthline.com/health/muscle-fatigue
- Healthline. Using CBD for pain management: does it work?https://www.healthline.com/health/cbd-oil-for-pain#side-effects
- American Parkinson Disease Association. The role of inflammation in Parkinson's disease.https://www.apdaparkinson.org/article/the-role-of-inflammation-in-parkinsons-disease/