How the Immune system works: and how CBD can help
What does the immune system do?
The main function of the immune system is to help protect your body from illnesses caused by viruses, bacterias and other pathogens that enter the body. It does this through the cooperation of individual cells and organs that constantly search the body for foreign particles.
Important Parts of the Immune System
Our immune system is made up of multiple organs and cells that work together to help detect and destroy pathogens in the body before they become a major problem.
White Blood Cells (Leukocytes)
One of the major parts of the immune system is leucocytes, more commonly known as white blood cells. We often hear about these during a routine blood test or when our doctors detect a possible infection in the body. They are sometimes called the warrior cells since they are primarily responsible for fighting off harmful pathogens that enter the body.
White blood cells increase in our body when they detect an infection or any inflammation caused by an injury or chronic illness. This is why it important to constantly track your health and stay in touch with your doctors when experiencing any pain, discomfort, or any other symptoms or increased immune activity (See signs of a weakened immune system below)
There are 5 types of leukocytes with a different function for each:
these are the primary cells in our lymph nodes. Their primary role is to help create antibodies which help to destroy and fight off harmful viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in our body. The natural killer cells, T cells and B cells, are lymphocytes.
The largest of all white blood cells, monocytes can turn into macrophages when they reach the tissues in our bodies. They are then able to help remove dead cells and even engulf certain types of bacteria. Monocytes play an important role during the inflammatory response and are often found in large numbers at the site of inflammation.
These are the first white blood cells that arrive when an infection is detected. They are considered the first line of defense in fighting off an illness.
Responsible for our histamine response, basophils signal an alarm to the immune system to let it know that a potentially dangerous object has entered the body. These cells also play an important role in preventing blood clotting since they contain an important substance, known as heparin.
These small cells help us against parasites and bacterial infections as well as playing an important role in the immediate allergic response. Eosinophils also help in the inflammatory response which helps the body to isolate the area of infection and help it to fight off the disease.
Antibodies play a vital role in the immune response. They help to identify the antigens that surround many types of viruses and bacteria, as well as parasites, chemicals and even certain toxins found in foods. They are made by our memory B cells and help to trigger an immune response where white blood cells are rushed to the site of infection to help destroy the foreign object.
Why are antibodies important?
Antibodies signal to our immune system that a dangerous pathogen has entered into the bloodstream. This signal informs our T cells to attack and destroy the targeted antigens that our antibodies have marked for destruction. Without antibodies, our immune system would take a longer time to start protecting and would soon be overwhelmed by the spread of the foreign pathogen.
How long do antibodies last?
Depending on the type of antibody, some can last for your entire lifespan. In an interview by Time magazine one of
the co-authors of a study looking into the antibodies from the 1918 influenza pandemic mentioned that the antibodies
can last up to 90 years plus.
Here is an excerpt from the interview
Here is a link to his study: https://www.nature.com/news/2008/080818/full/news.2008.1045.html
CBD and the immune system.
With all the new research being performed on hemp cannabinoids, it’s no wonder that researchers are finding that cannabinoids play a role in immune function.
How CBD affects the lungs in Covid-19 patients
In October of 2020, researchers from Medical College of Georgia and the Dental College of Georgia published a study showing CBD’s ability to help improve oxygen levels in the blood as well as protecting lungs from sytokine damage.
Here is an excerpt from the study and a link to
the full study results :
“ Importantly, several reports demonstrated that cannabidiol (CBD), a phytocannabinoid produced by the cannabis plant, can block IL-6 in several models of inflammatory diseases. 9 Therefore, it is very reasonable to investigate whether cannabinoids can be as therapeutic agents to treat severe viral respiratory infections including current COVID-19 and ARDS symptoms. ” - Hesam Khodadadi, Évila Lopes Salles, Abbas Jarrahi, et alCannabidiol Modulates Cytokine Storm in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome Induced by Simulated Viral Infection Using Synthetic RNA; Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 2020 Published 2020 Sep 1. doi/10.1089/can.2020.0043
A breakdown of the studies shows that CBD (Cannabidiol) has an ability to reduce the amount of disruption caused to the lung tissue by respiratory diseases such as Covid-19.It is able to do this by improving the lung function of the damaged lung and also increase the amount of oxygen in the blood, which is commonly lowered during a covid-19 infection..
CBD mediates the inflammatory response
One of the major ways CBD has an effect on your immune system is through its ability to mediate the inflammatory response of the body. Not only can it help your gut , which makes up 70% of your immune system cells, but it can also mediate your inflammatory reaction depending on whether it is underactive or overactive.
How does this work?
CBD activates the CB1 receptors located throughout the body which produces an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect. It is then able to increase or decrease the activity depending on what is happening in the body, and in effect able to lower the immune response when it is overactive.
Why is this important?
One of the most damaging ways sars-cov-2 attacks the body is by creating a massive cytokine storm in the lungs. CBD has the ability to lower this inflammatory “storm” in the body therefore lowering its impact on your lung tissue.
The immune system relies on many cells and organs to help keep you safe from external bacteria viruses and other pathogens. One of the best ways you can help your body to provide an optimum immune response is by lowering stress and taking care of your diet and nutrition. Finally, you can also take advantage of the anti-inflammatory and immune mediating effects of powerful cannabinoids such as CBD.