Guest post by Dr. Raw Organics
Our immune systems work by identifying invaders and releasing cytokine surpluses into the bloodstream to fight them off. Cytokine levels impact how you feel and what symptoms you experience. Consequently, increased cytokine levels result in worsened symptoms. According to Dr. Mary Clifton’s cannabinoid protocol, laboratory studies in animals suggest consuming CBD before coming down with a cold or flu decreases the level of cytokines (symptoms) by 86%. This blog shares information on some of the research focused on cannabinoids and the immune system.
Cannabis & Immunity
Smoking cannabis may not be the best option for improving immunity due to its tendency to increase inflammation in the airways. Incorporating a cannabis tincture such as Dr. Raw’s Focus 1:20 THC:CBD formula or Relax 20:1 THC:CBD formula into your routine is an easy and effective way to allow cannabinoids and the immune system to work together while not increasing inflammation.
In addition, there has been much discussion on how CBD supports the health of our microbiome (gut). Living inside and on each of us is a vast population of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Cumulatively, the microbiome includes as many cells as the human body and encodes 100 times more genetic material than the human genome. Up to 1,000 different species of bacteria live in the gut alone. Furthermore, there is a direct connection between our gut health and our overall immunity.
With this knowledge comes the realization that the microbiome is a key player in human health. The microbiome is known to affect everything from mood to metabolism, as well as the strength of our immune system.
Current research suggests that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) serves as a sort of bridge between bacteria and the body itself — including the brain — relaying signals back and forth in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial relationship.
At least, that’s how it should be. Chronic imbalance or impairment of the gut microbiome, also called dysbiosis, can be harmful to one’s physical and mental health. This, in turn, can weaken the immune system.
Targeting the Microbiome
If the ECS communicates with both the gut barrier and the microbiome, the health of which is essential to human well-being — and we know we can manipulate the ECS through diet, exercise, and cannabis-derived compounds — might there be other ways to target the microbiome through the ECS in order to achieve specific health outcomes?
THC & COVID-19
A cannabinoid science lab led by Prakash Nagarkatti at the University of South Carolina is one institution pioneering investigations into the ECS, the gut microbiome, and disease. It may even have found a clue for addressing one of the most harmful complications of COVID-19 in some patients.
In a June 2020 study published in Frontiers in Pharmacology, Nagarkatti and colleagues demonstrated that administering THC to mice affected with a form of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) could stop the condition in its tracks. A severe consequence of the runaway immune response known as a cytokine storm, ARDS occurs in a small percentage of COVID-19 patients but is often fatal.
THC alters the microbiome in the gut in a way that is beneficial for suppressing inflammation because bacteria that are favored by THC seem to produce short-chain fatty acids that suppress inflammation.
Though this was demonstrated in mice and is therefore not directly transferable to humans — or COVID-19, for that matter — this is perhaps the first evidence that cannabinoids’ alteration of the gut microbiome can play a role in suppressing the systemic inflammation seen in a cytokine storm, Nagarkatti stated.
Indeed, there remains much more to learn about interactions between the ECS and the microbiome, and how this interaction impacts our immune system and overall health. Remember to always consult with a doctor before adding cannabis to your health and wellness regimen. In the meantime, stay well.
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing said, done, typed, printed or reproduced by Torrey Holistics is intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or take the place of a licensed physician.