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During this time in our lives, where the COVID-19 pandemic is still at large, you would have probably heard of the word “immunity” being frequently mentioned, especially in the health and wellness industry. Come to think about it, it definitely comes as no surprise that everyone would love to live their lives worry-free regarding their physical wellbeing.
Although there are various approaches in which we can adopt to boost the strength of our immune systems, such as having a balanced diet packed with all essential vitamins and nutrients, coupled with a consistent and sufficient amount of sleep, another fascinating field of research and public interest lies within cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oil. Though you might be wondering - what exactly are CBD and hemp oil, and how do they function in the body?
Curious to learn more? Well, you’re in for a good treat, dear reader, as we share everything that we have gathered so far about the connection between CBD and immunity.
The importance of having a robust immune system, especially during the time of COVID-19 pandemic
At the point of writing, the rapid global transmission of the contagious severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has forced the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare the state of this outbreak as a pandemic. Up to this date, no suitable vaccine or specific antiviral medication has been found to be useful in the prevention or treatment of the COVID-19 disease.
As a result, we have to depend solely on a healthy immune system to protect our bodies from being attacked by any foreign pathogens. Pathogens are defined to be bacteria, viruses, or any other types of microorganism that have the capability to cause disease in the human body.
Why is your immune system your saviour?
At every second of each day since our birth, humans are exposed to a never-ending wave of potential infections and diseases, caused by pathogens found in the environment that we live in. These bacteria and viruses have the power to ultimately kill us if it weren’t for our amazing built-in immune system that tirelessly keeps all these intruders from wreaking havoc within our bodies.
The term “immune system” is a very general one, and it covers a broad range of organs as well as internal body processes that are involved in defending against invading microorganisms, keeping all of them at bay. Their primary roles are vital in ensuring our body does not develop fatal tumours, cancerous cells or fall victim to infectious diseases found in the external environment.
As part of the final curtain call, some of the main casts in the immune system’s reliable performance would be white blood cells (which can be further separated into lymphocytes or phagocytes), antibodies, thymus, spleen, bone marrow, the complement system, and the lymphatic system.
Nevertheless, just like how even a superhuman like Superman possesses a weakness, our immune system is challenged with several types of kryptonite. One of the critical factors that may weaken your immune system includes old age, malnutrition, smoking, underlying medical conditions (such as diabetes, liver disease, or severe obesity), pregnancy, or medications (like chemotherapy). These conditions would leave the person vulnerable to the dangers of the external environment. Fortunately, there are various natural methods that you can all employ to boost our immune system consistently, and one of those methods would be to practise the consumption of CBD and hemp oil every single day.
The endocannabinoid system and immune system - how are they connected?
Before we dive deeper into the details about CBD and hemp oil, an essential area for us to learn more about would be the endocannabinoid system. The endocannabinoid system has only been discovered relatively recently with researchers still trying to study its biology to gain a high-level, big picture understanding of its function within our bodies. Nonetheless, we do know that the endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in generating and maintaining homeostasis (i.e. balance) between the various physiological processes in our bodies.
Not to mention, did you know that your endocannabinoid system and immune system are intimately connected?
Your body naturally generates endocannabinoids on demand. Endocannabinoids are one of the critical components that can help to modulate or regulate the function of your cells, which include the cells that are forming part of our immune system. With that in mind, CBD and hemp oil can affect your endocannabinoid system, and ultimately bring many benefits for your immune system.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol (CBD) constitutes one of the 100 variants of a compound known as cannabinoids. These cannabinoids are produced naturally by cannabis (marijuana and hemp) plants. CBD shares a similarity in terms of their structure with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but consuming CBD does not result in intoxication or a “high” feeling that you may experience with taking cannabis. Thus, CBD would only offer therapeutic values to you. As a matter of fact, CBD products are now widely distributed in the United States, with European CBD market currently being on the rise as well.
What is hemp oil?
Hemp oil is a variant of oil that is extracted from hemp seeds. The type of hemp seeds used typically contains around 30% of oil, but cannabinoids are absent.
One of the biggest misunderstandings of hemp oil is that it is the same as CBD oil. This understanding is incorrect because CBD oil is obtained from the flower buds and leaves of a cannabis plant, whereas hemp oil is extracted from the cold pressing of hemp seeds. To go into greater detail, as part of the hemp oil extraction process, the hemp seeds will undergo de-shelling whereby its outer husk is removed. After that, the hemp seeds will go through the cold pressing process to obtain the hemp oil.
One of the common ways in which you can consume hemp oil is by adding it into your cooking recipe. Interestingly, hemp oil can be a natural substitute for olive oil, and it is filled with a massive amount of protein. If you are someone who loves to eat nuts, today is your lucky day, as hemp oil has a tasty nutty flavour for you to enjoy. Besides that, there would be no need for you to worry about intoxication from hemp oil consumption because all types of hemp oil originate from food-grain strains of hemp. In particular, the Cannabis and Cannabinoid Journal specified that food-grain strains of hemp have to contain below 0.2% of THC, so you’ll be perfectly safe!
How could taking CBD positively impact our immune system?
There are at least two different types of receptors present in your endocannabinoid system, namely the CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors, which can interact with CBD. The CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors are tasked with several functions such as motor regulation, memory processing, appetite, pain sensation, mood, and sleep. CB1 receptors are usually found within your connective tissues, reproductive organs as well as other vital organs, whereas CB2 receptors are present in regions of your body such as your brain, gastrointestinal system, and your immune system.
The therapeutic effects of CBD are realised through its interaction with the specialised cannabinoid receptors of your endocannabinoid system, whereby CBD serves as a neurotransmitter (which is a type of chemical messenger for your nervous system) to send signals all over your body as part of homeostasis maintenance. Although both CBD and THC could bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors, the outcome of their associations differs significantly, whereby when THC binds to the CB1 receptor, it prevents the secretion of neurotransmitters and raises the production of other compounds that can manipulate your normal cognitive abilities. On the other hand, CBD was thought to promote the generation of more endocannabinoids by your body, leading to a decrease in pain, anxiety, and inflammation.
CBD as an anti-inflammatory agent and painkiller
Inflammation is the natural process initiated by our bodies as part of an immune response to an infection or injury. It is critical in ensuring the infection is contained in a single region, thus preventing the condition from worsening. Still, chronic inflammation has been tied to various potentially fatal diseases such as heart disease or stroke. It could also lead to autoimmune diseases, which are diseases caused by our immune system mistaken our healthy cells as a threat, and thus initiates an attack on them. Such conditions include type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, Crohn’s disease, or Huntington’s disease. This type of inflammations could cause stiffness and pain, and to a certain extent, severe internal organ and tissue destruction.
However, fret not, as it appears that several experiments were suggesting the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. For example, one research reported that CBD played a significant role in protecting the mice models against the harmful consequences of inflammation caused by multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, another research also highlighted that CBD might be a potential candidate to be used in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Sounds fascinating, right? But you might be wondering - how is that even possible?
The answer seems to lie with CBD being able to tone down the influence of chemokines, which are a type of substance that is responsible for promoting inflammation in our bodies. Chemokines essentially act as a chemical agent to attract immune cells (like white blood cells) to a specific area of infection, so that immune cells can launch an attack on the invading foreign microbes. You can imagine our body as a castle, the microbes as the trespassers, and the chemokines as the frontline patrolling knights. When the trespassers successfully infiltrate the castle’s borders, the frontline patrolling knights will then immediately signal the internal army (i.e. the white blood cells) to the trespassers’ location to eliminate these trespassers before they cause any more damage.
There were also postulations that CBD can delay the generation of immune cells and effectively subdue our immune system memory. These may result in a decrease in the volume of healthy cells destroyed by autoimmune diseases.
Other than that, CBD was shown to be an immunosuppressant as well as an immunomodulator. This means that CBD could be beneficial to your immune system when it is weakened or overly responsive by re-establishing a sustainable balance (which is scientifically termed as “homeostasis”).
If you find yourself suffering from chronic pain, you could consider taking CBD as various studies have conveyed the idea that it is an excellent painkiller. One literature review investigates how effective CBD is in relieving chronic pain, whereby they assessed experiments performed between 1975 and 2018 that were studying different variants of pain, including pain from cancer, neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia and pain from rheumatoid arthritis. As their final judgement, the team concluded that pain management using CBD does a splendid job in helping the patients cope with their condition, with negligible side effects caused by CBD consumption.
Using CBD in cancer treatment
Moving on, you might be able to use CBD to help treat cancer patients! In various investigations that explore the impact of CBD consumption within patients who have cancer and a severely weakened immune system, many researchers have implicated that the patients were able to manage their illness better while taking CBD. To provide an example, one study noted that CBD presents anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic functions. They have the ability to disrupt the progression of tumour growth of different types of cancer, such as (but not limited to) lung cancer, glioma, thyroid cancer, lymphoma, skin cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal carcinoma. Another research also observed that CBD slowed down the rate of tumour growth and its spread, and so it substantially reduces the number of tumours formed within a cancer patient. Also, one study also highlighted that CBD could remove dysfunctional cells in our body, whereby harmful cells like breast and prostate cancer cells are shown to display sensitivity towards cannabinoid-induced apoptosis (which is defined as programmed cell death). Given the fact that cancer cells are recognised for their natural capability of surviving apoptotic signals to spread further within our bodies, the findings from this study is a promising one!
As more and more studies are being conducted to gain a better understanding and appreciation of how CBD works in the human body, scientists might eventually fashion novel cancer treatments using CBD that are free from side effects and more effective than the current conventional approaches. As a matter of fact, The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has even acknowledged CBD as a potentially viable option for reducing the side effects caused by chemotherapy.
The role of CBD in stress and anxiety relief
You probably are aware that having anxiety and too much stress usually leads to insomnia. The immune deficiency caused by having an insufficient sleep would then lead to a stress response in your bodies. This, in turn, promotes the generation of proinflammatory cytokines that results in a negative impact on your health.
Fret not, because CBD is here to help prevent this issue from happening to you, by manipulating the production of serotonin as a result of its binding with the CB1 and CB2 receptors. Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that is vital for good mental health as in some instances, insufficient serotonin leads may result in symptoms of anxiety.
The existing literature appears to be supportive of this theory too. To begin with, one experiment studied the effects of CBD on altering the anxiety levels of 57 healthy male subjects. All male subjects were subjected to a simulated public speaking test, which was verified as an established method to induce anxiety amongst individuals. The group eventually discovered that CBD does assist in significantly decreasing the male subjects’ level of anxiety. A literature review also reported that CBD has notable potential to be used as a treatment option for multiple anxiety disorders.
So, if you want to improve your quality of sleep, CBD might be the solution you were looking for!
The influence of CBD on your circulatory system
CBD could positively impact your heart and the rest of your circulatory system. This could be possible due to the ability of CBD to lower your blood pressure and heart rate when we are subjected to stressful events.
A study subjected mouse models to stressful conditions which caused an increment in their blood pressure and heart rate. They eventually recorded a reduction of both parameters after the mice were given a dose of CBD. Meanwhile, an investigation focused on healthy human volunteers who were subjected to stress and then given one dose of CBD. At the end of their experiment, the research group found that taking CBD significantly reduced their blood pressure when directly compared to the control group that was given a placebo.
Besides that, CBD may also potentially help you to protect yourself from heart strokes. To provide some context, your risk of getting a stroke increases upon getting heart disease, whereby two different types of strokes may occur - an ischemic stroke (which takes place when the blood flow into your brain is blocked by a blood clot) or a haemorrhagic stroke (which happens when a blood vessel in your brain bursts). A literature review suggested that CBD might help in protecting patients suffering from a stroke against brain damage. CBD could even boost the patients’ recovery by stimulating higher brain activity. In addition to that, another review on the haemodynamic effects of CBD concluded that CBD might increase the cerebral blood flow within animal models that have a stroke.
Need to lose weight? CBD might help!
CBD may potentially boost your metabolism and help with your weight loss programme, as preliminary research has implied that taking CBD could boost your metabolism and help you to lower your food intake. These, as a result, can help you to lose weight.
A two-week study found that rats injected by a different dose of CBD daily dose exhibited a significant reduction in their body weight, with the higher dosage producing a more significant weight loss effect. Furthermore, other animal studies reported that CBD could influence body weight through its interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors located within the lymphoid tissue and the brain. These receptors are postulated to play critical roles in metabolism and appetite.
How could hemp oil improve your immune system?
Scientific research on hemp oil is currently still at its infancy stage. Nonetheless, with CBD emerging in its popularity within a rising number of food-related industries, this has kickstarted various research efforts studying the potential health applications of hemp oil. Fascinatingly, hemp oil is typically recognised as a type of superfood for it is loaded with high omega-3, omega-6 fatty acids and other kinds of nutrients such as vitamins E, B, B1 and B2, proteins, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and fatty acids.
These omega-3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory properties that are beneficial to you. For instance, a randomised controlled trial studying the blood samples of 68 medical students. They compared the production of proinflammatory cytokines (a type of substance that stimulates inflammation) as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression between periods of low stress and on days before an important examination. These researchers eventually discovered that medical students taking omega-3 supplementation had lower levels of inflammation and anxiety.
Besides that, hemp oil could be used to help you sleep better, relieve stress and provide support to your joints and muscles during and after sports. Therefore, consuming hemp oil can be deemed to be extremely beneficial for your general physical wellbeing.
Besides, hemp oil can also be consumed to improve your heart health. For example, hemp oil is an excellent source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and an enzyme known as lipase. These substances play a role in preventing the formation of plaques in our blood vessels. This, in turn, promotes a healthy heart and dramatically reduces the likelihood of heart diseases from occurring. Furthermore, a type of amino acid called arginine that is also found in hemp oil contributes to the production of nitric acid, and so it can dilate and relax the blood vessels in your body. As a result, hemp oil can be used to lower your blood pressure.
Meanwhile, hemp oil could be of use when treating diabetic patients. Researchers have realised the connection between diabetes and the unbalanced consumption of essential fatty acids. Given that hemp oil is filled with essential fatty acids, taking hemp oil presents a high potential to help you prevent or treat diabetes.
Why should you consider taking CBD and hemp oil?
Overall, CBD and hemp oil have been well-received by many health organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) that explicitly acknowledged that CBD is “generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile”. The Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Nora Volkow, also mentioned that CBD is non-addictive, making it safe for daily consumption.
Much of this is attributed to CBD and hemp oil being non-intoxicating compounds and are therefore safer than the majority of over the counter (OTC) and prescription drugs, which may produce several undesirable side effects. Other than that, CBD and hemp oil are relatively easy for you to experiment with, so you can verify whether they could be helpful additions in your journey to boosting your immunity.
How to choose the right CBD and hemp oil for boosting your immune system?
Consuming CBD and hemp oil every day could be the solution you have been searching for to have improved health overall. Nevertheless, how could you ensure that you are choosing the suitable CBD and hemp oil products?
One of the first rules-of-thumb would be for you to only purchase high-quality CBD and hemp oil products from legitimate and reliable brands. Most of the companies that sell top-quality CBD and hemp oil cultivate their hemp plants or buy them from licensed hemp producers. These hemp plants are typically 100% organically grown as part of minimising their exposure to harmful pesticides. CBD and hemp oil are also expected to be extracted using carbon dioxide, ethanol or olive oil.
Henceforth, you need to request for a third-party certificate of analysis when purchasing CBD and hemp oil. This is because a research project found that only approximately 31% of the CBD and hemp oil products are accurately labelled, and this paperwork showcases the chemical composition of the manufacturers’ CBD and hemp oil products. It ultimately makes sure that the product has been correctly labelled, without any contamination by substances like poisonous heavy metals.
Finally, it would be ideal for you always to consult a trusted medical professional who is experienced in the field of CBD and hemp oil to discuss your suitability to consume these products before deciding to purchase any of them.
Why should you believe in Amphora’s products?
Based on what we have just discussed, Amphora is happy to declare that all our CBD products are harvested from 100% organically grown hemp plants. In addition to that, our products are extracted using carbon dioxide, with all ingredients classified by a third-party laboratory to be equivalent to medical standards. Plus, they are all verified to be THC-free!
But wait, there’s more!
Amphora offers vape pens as well as four different types of CBD vape pen cartridges, with each of them containing four various concoctions to help you with a different aspect of your wellbeing, including sleep, anxiety, muscle recovery, and general wellness.
You could try using our ZZZ CBD vape pen cartridge for a better night’s sleep, or perhaps our PEACE CBD vape pen cartridge to relieve you from anxiety as CBD has been shown to aid in anxiety and stress relief. These products can thus indirectly contribute to boosting your immunity, as having enough sleep and peace of mind are vital for good health!
Alternatively, you could consider purchasing our MEND CBD vape pen cartridge to relieve you from any body aches you might be experiencing, as research has shown that CBD can help your muscles to relax from a long, tiring day by reducing pain!
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD oil.
Contributors | Angus Taylor + Dr Gaylord Wardell
IPI is a pharmaceutical ingredient company that cultivates cannabis strains curated to extract specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids for the formulation of effects-based health and wellness products. Angus is an experienced public speaker, engaging stakeholders, governments and media. Angus was the co-founder of NewLeaf Cannabis, Canada’s most successful retail brand to date, and has been established as a well-known and recognized expert in the field.
Dr Wardell is a practising physician with over 40 years of clinical and educational experience in pain management, medical practices and education. Dr Wardell is past President of the Pain Society of Alberta, and current President of the Alberta Medical Association, section of Pain. He is a popular public speaker, an active blogger on medical and pain-related issues, and proponent for scientific validation for patients experiencing pain.
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.