Our immune systems work by identifying invaders releasing cytokine surpluses into the bloodstream to fight off the invaders. This blog shares information on Cannabinods and the immune system. Cytokines levels impact how you feel and what symptoms you experience. Increased cytokine levels, increased symptoms. According to Dr. Mary Clifton’s cannabinol protocol, laboratory studies in animals suggest pre-treating with CBD before coming down with a cold or flu, decreases the levels of cytokines (symptoms) by 86%.
PRE-TREATING WITH CANNABIS
Smoking cannabis may not be the best option to improve immunity due to its impact on chronic inflammation. Incorporating cannabis tinctures such as our Focus 1:20 THC CBD formula and our Relax 20:1 THC:CBD formula into your routine is an easy and effective way for Cannabinods and the immune system to work together while not increasing inflammation.
In addition, there has been a lot of 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. There is a direct connection between our gut health and our overall immunity.
With this knowledge has come the realization that the microbiome is a key player in human health, affecting everything from mood to metabolism and especially the strength of our immune system.
Current thinking 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 – but chronic imbalance or impairment of the gut microbiome, also called dysbiosis, can harm physical and mental health.
TARGETING THE MICROBIOME
If the ECS communicates with both the gut barrier and the microbiome, whose health 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 also pioneering investigations into the ECS, the gut microbiome, and disease. It may even have found a clue for treating 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’s beneficial in 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 it impacts our immune system and our overall health.