Are you looking for a way to naturally boost your immune system this cold and flu season? If so, then you might want to consider marijuana or a CBD hemp product. The cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), have been found to positively interact with your body’s immune system and might be just the jumpstart you need to remain healthy.

Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System

The human body has an endocannabinoid system that is made up of receptors (CB1 and CB2) which regulate the immune system and many other body functions. The cannabinoids found in cannabis actively bind with the CB1 and CB2 receptors.

Cannabis and Inflammation

Many chronic health problems, such as lupus, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis, cause long-term, painful inflammation in the body due to an overactive immune system. With such health conditions, the strong anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis reduce the inflammation which is caused by the body’s rampant immune system. By curtailing the inflammation by suppressing the immune system, many people find considerable relief from swelling, pain, and discomfort.

HIV/AIDS and the Immune System

In individuals with an underactive immune system, such as those suffering from HIV/AIDS, cannabis spurs the body’s immune system by giving it an extra boost.  In one study, marijuana users who were suffering from HIV/AIDS actually experienced lower viral loads and significantly higher CD4 immune cell count. In another study, patients used dronabinol (a synthetic form of THC) and experienced a higher T-cell count.

Cancer and Marijuana

The immune system plays a crucial role by letting diseased cells in the body know if they should live or die. The process of diseased cell death is known as apoptosis. Cancer occurs when diseased or deformed cells no longer respond to the body’s call to self-destruct which leads to the growth of a tumor. However, cannabis triggers cell suicide in malignancies in studies. The National Cancer Institute advises, “Chemical components of Cannabis, called cannabinoids, activate specific receptors throughout the body to produce pharmacologic effects, particularly in the central nervous system and the immune system.”

Crohn’s Disease and CB Receptors

The human body’s endocannabinoid system produces a natural cannabinoid known as anandamide (AEA) which effectively suppresses immune cell activity in the digestive tract, so healthy bacteria can thrive. Researchers have found that sufferers of Crohn’s disease have low levels of natural cannabinoids. However, CBD effectively replaces the low natural cannabinoids and restores balance in the immune system to relieve symptoms.

Cannabinoids also boost the immune system by reducing stressors in your everyday life by relieving anxiety, depression, inflammation, chronic pain, and muscle spasticity. Undoubtedly, the cannabinoids such as THC and CBD found in marijuana could modulate the immune system for good which may prove beneficial for many individuals suffering from chronic health conditions that are causally related to their immune system functions. The body’s immune system is extraordinarily complex, and cannabis contains innumerable cannabinoids that all appear to work together to focus on various responses. However, in time, researchers will continue to uncover exactly how the body’s endocannabinoid system reacts to the cannabinoids found in marijuana to reveal the many immune system benefits of the relationship.