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Endocannabinoid Tone and Inflammation

Endocannabinoids or CBD for Inflammation?

Inflammation is the immune system's response to infection.

White blood cells flood the affected area with chemicals which increases blood flow and allows your body to protect or repair itself. 

Inflammation is a natural process; however, it can become chronic if it continues after the initial cause has been dealt with.

As the immune response continues, the white blood cells will attack the body's own cells and tissue. 

Some of the symptoms of chronic inflammation are:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue 
  • Insomnia
  • Depression, 
  • Anxiety 
  • Diarrhoea
  • Acid reflux
  • Changes in weight

Chronic inflammation has been linked to a range of disorders and inflammatory conditions, including:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Crohn's disease 
  • Ulcerative colitis

Chronic inflammation occurs for various reasons, such as autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins and untreated acute inflammation.

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CBD and Your Endocannabinoid Tone

CBD raising the body's Endocannabinoid Tone

CBD works in your body in many different ways, but one of the most vital interactions is how it stimulates the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and raises your endocannabinoid tone:

What is the endocannabinoid system?

The endocannabinoid system is a collection of signal molecules (endocannabinoids), receptors and enzymes.

It's active throughout the body, particularly in the central and peripheral nervous systems. 

When the ECS is activated, it makes tiny chemical adjustments that enhance the signalling capacity of cells within your body.

This allows your body systems to communicate effectively and quickly restore a healthy balance following damage or illness.

What is your endocannabinoid tone?

Endocannabinoid Tone

Endocannabinoid tone refers to the level of potential endocannabinoid activity in your body and the ability of your endocannabinoid system to respond to any problems.

This can be affected by a range of factors, including genetics, diet, stress and disease.

If your endocannabinoid tone is low, your endocannabinoid system is unlikely to be able to restore your body systems to a state of healthy balance. As a result, you may feel unwell or experience symptoms related to anxiety. 

Regular consumption of CBD can stimulate the action of your endocannabinoid system (ECS) and raise your tone. 

To learn more about how CBD raises your endocannabinoid tone, you can read our article: Endocannabinoid Tone and CBD.


Key terms:

Cannabinoid Receptors in the body

CB1 and CB2 – These are the most common endocannabinoid receptors.

  • CB1 is found in the central nervous system.
  • CB2 is present in the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system and in immune cells throughout the body.

Anandamide (AEA) and 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) – These are endocannabinoid signalling molecules present in humans and animals. They can interact with a range of chemical receptors, including CB1 and CB2.

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Endocannabinoid Tone and Inflammation

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is closely linked to the immune system; CB1 receptors are present on neurons and CB2 receptors are found on almost all types of immune cells.

In people with a medium to high endocannabinoid tone, the activation of CB1 and CB2 receptors can produce powerful anti-inflammatory effects. 

This occurs thanks to four main actions:

1. Apoptosis – Endocannabinoids can trigger a series of chemical events that lead to the death of T-lymphocyte immune cells (apoptosis). This prevents them from killing body cells and activating other immune cells.

2. Inhibition of cell proliferation – By regulating the transmission of immune signals, the ECS can reduce the multiplication of immune cells in the inflamed area.

3. Suppression of cytokine production – Cytokines are proteins secreted by immune cells to influence the behaviour of other cells. Endocannabinoids bind with CB2 receptors, slowing cytokine production to disrupt the immune response.

4. Induction of T-regulatory cells – By modulating the induction of T-regulatory cells, activated endocannabinoid receptors set in motion a process that will suppress the spread of T-cells.

With these four approaches, the endocannabinoid system can regulate the inflammatory signals passed on by the immune system.

When an inflammation response gets out of control, more endocannabinoids and receptors are produced to create a regulatory response and bring it back in line. 

However, the ECS doesn't just reduce the immune system's actions; through a complex system of signals and chemical reactions, it can make tiny adjustments that keep everything in a homeostatic state of balance.

As a result, someone with a higher endocannabinoid tone is more likely to have an effective immune response and less chance of developing inflammation disorders.

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