Does CBD Pose A Risk Of Reducing Inflammation Too Much?
CBD is anti-inflammatory
The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD come well-documented. Reducing inflammation is a recognised potential use case for the diverse cannabinoid. Naturally, reducing inflammation helps to combat chronic inflammation (CI). Believed to be the precursor to heart disease, diabetes, and several forms of cancer, CI-prevention is linked to living a longer, happier life. Both the risks and preventative measures associated with CI are covered at length here.
If we focus exclusively on CBD’s anti-inflammatory abilities, what does the research say? The Journal of Experimental Medicine sought to evaluate CBD’s effectiveness at suppressing inflammatory and neuropathic pain.
To do so, they monitored the reaction between CBD and glycine receptors. The receptors were linked to dorsal horn neurons in the spines of rats. These are a collection of sensory neurons that transmit information—in this case, telling our brain we are in pain. Researchers concluded that “administration of cannabidiol (CBD), a major non-psychoactive component of marijuana, and its modified derivatives significantly suppress chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain”.
A further study, this time published on PLOS one, also examined the effectiveness of CBD at mitigating inflammation. The study focussed on “biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis (UC)” and “intestinal segments of mice with LPS-induced intestinal inflammation”. UC is a long-term chronic condition that causes the human colon and rectum to become inflamed. Again, CBD demonstrated its efficacy. Preliminary results showed that CBD “counteracts the inflammatory environment induced by LPS in mice and in human colonic cultures derived from UC patients”.
If CBD is proving to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, the cannabinoid could become incredibly beneficial. It does beg the question, though—what happens if we lower the effectiveness of our inflammatory response too much? Remember, we need to try and maintain a balanced state.
CBD can reduce inflammation too much
Thankfully, that is something scientists at the Research Center of the University Institute of Cardiology and Pulmonology of Quebec also wanted to understand. An appropriate inflammatory response is vital for our immune system to be effective in fighting infections. By analysing data collated by the scientific community, the regulation of lung immunity and inflammation caused by cannabinoids was scrutinised.
Initial interpretation found that through the downregulation of the functions of immune cells, cannabinoids “could diminish host defence”. Doing so would increase the risk of contracting an infection, and reduce our immune system's effectiveness. They did go on to acknowledge that the relationship between too much and too little support with inflammation is a complicated one. More extensive research would be needed to transfer the data from animal models to humans.
Too much of a good thing can be bad
Conflicting research always makes for concerning reading. However, the inflammatory “balancing act” is no different from several other aspects of healthy living. If you take a look in your medicine cabinet, it is bound to be filled with a broad spectrum of health supplements. Iron, vitamin D, vitamin C; several essential supplements are needed to give our bodies a boost. It is a form of support that may be needed because of limitations in lifestyle or diet. Just like the scenario with CBD, ingesting too many vitamins can lead to adverse effects.
We shouldn't fear the implications of taking too much of something that is good for us. In most cases, the tolerable level is much higher when the effect is beneficial, rather than detrimental. In reality, something that is “good” for us can be “bad”, and vice versa. The trouble is, if we segregate products in this way, it becomes impossible to know if a supplement is safe to consume. Instead, we should always come back to the theme of balance. Good versus bad is merely too basic, especially when each of us is uniquely different in our genetic makeup.
Dosage is crucial
We know from research that CBD has fantastic potential as a potent anti-inflammatory. We also know that in some of the data collected, this can lead to diminished effectiveness in our immune system. Presented with those two statements, the next logical step is to factor in dosage. The ideal dose of CBD will depend on numerous variables—more than have been studied thus far. Your physiology, the condition or disease, CBD concentration, external factors; the list of potential parameters is extensive.
While we wait for the experts to identify and narrow down variables, the safest option is to start low. Build CBD intake slowly to establish the impact on your own body. With a little patience, the hope is that comprehensive research will establish and quantify the exact implications of CBD use.