Is Cannabis Good or Bad For the Immune System?

Cannabis is slowly and steadily being acknowledged for its therapeutic benefits. It offers management for a wide range of medical conditions. For instance pain, inflammation, PTSD, and anxiety. With its growing popularity for managing medical conditions, consumers are also questioning the safety of cannabis use. After all, marijuana still falls under the list of scheduled controlled substances and this means that cannabis is still illegal on the federal level. 

However, the big question still remains – how does cannabis affect your immune system? If you consume cannabis regularly, you are most likely to weigh the pros and cons based on personal experience. As it turns out, besides personal experience we also have research that helps us understand the relationship between cannabis and the immune system. So, let’s dive into it and broaden our knowledge of how beneficial or bad cannabis is bad for our immune system. 

Your Immune System

The immune system is one of the integral networks made up of a collection of cells and endogenous chemicals. It works in tandem with the organs to ward off bad bacteria, infections, pathogens, and viruses. All in all, the immune system protects the health and well-being of the human body. 

The immune system is multifaceted and it helps maintain the homeostasis of the body while combating infections in the most effective way. The active compounds such as the white blood cells, thymus, spleen, antibodies, bone marrow, and the lymphatic system fight pathogens collectively. However, here we will largely focus on the white blood cells. 

Did you know that memories are logged inside the white blood cells? Memories in the form of previously defeated microbes enable the immune system to eliminate infection easily and quickly. That’s why we always associate the removal of malfunctioned cells with the immune system.

So, what is the role of cannabis? Can it really help enhance the productivity of a weakened immune system? While there is research exploring the effects of marijuana on the white blood cells, we have few pieces of evidence showing how cannabis works in the case of the thymus, spleen, and other systems. Perhaps why so many people get a medical marijuana card online to alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of medical conditions. 

The Relationship Between Cannabis, Endocannabinoid System, and the Immune System

If you ever come across a cannabis study, you will fall upon this term quite often – the endocannabinoid system (ECS). So far, the scientists have established that there is a connection between the immune and the ECS. The ECS protects the immune system at the onset of an infection or a viral disease. It acts as a gatekeeper and prevents inflammation from turning into a disease. Not only this but the ECS also relates some of the functions of the specialized immune cells.

The two main receptors namely CB1 and CB2 mediate the interaction between marijuana and the immune system. This interaction leads to distinctive reactions. The reason why both THC and CBD appear to affect the body uniquely. Besides, we have literature suggesting that cannabis interacts with the ECS and hence the immune system to affect the functions of the body. 

A 2020 literature study found out that CBD is capable of suppressing an inflammatory response. The study also suggested that CBD may destroy cells that deteriorate the functioning of the immune system. Death of the immune cells means that new cells can emerge and help the immune system fight pathogens efficiently. 

Like CBD, THC also provided therapeutic benefits. Studies suggest that it suppresses immune activity and decreases inflammatory responses. THC is also effective in cases where the patient’s immune system starts attacking its own organs. It alters the functions of cells responsible for any sort of antimicrobial activity. Overall, this means that both THC and CBD can help the immune system in some or the other way but let’s delve deeper and find out more. 

Cannabis Impact on the Immune System

When we study about cannabis and the immune system, ideally, two things come up frequently. Immunomodulatory or immunosuppressive effect of cannabis. The effect of cannabis leads to the modification of immune response. When cannabis suppresses the immune to perform a certain action or to cause a reaction, the term we use is called immunosuppression. 

In addition to this, it is vital to note that the ability of cannabis to suppress or regulate the immune system is beneficial in certain cases. For instance, the dysregulation of the immune system. In that case, cannabis can suppress the cells causing problems for a specific organ or the body. If not, cannabis might not be the best option for your immune system. 

To prove the immunomodulatory effects here is a study published in 2017 that indicates both CBD and THC act as hosts for the immune cells. The study goes on to say that the lymphatic system contains lymphocytes (white blood cells). The white blood cells fight foreign substances and keep them away from entering the human organs. When an individual orally consumes THC or CBD the concentration of lymph cells increases three-fold. This means that the more the no. of lymphocytes the better it can fight for people who have autoimmune diseases.

The Benefits and Disadvantages of Cannabis as an Immunosuppressant

So far, we have learned that cannabis can suppress the cells inside the immune system. However, immunosuppressive properties are good for patients with an autoimmune disease. People who consume cannabis otherwise may face problems in the near future. 

According to research conducted in 2003 on healthy subjects regular cannabis, the administration led to discrepancies in the immune system. For example, regular cannabis users had less pro-inflammatory cells and more anti-inflammatory cells. While an anti-inflammatory response is good for the proper functioning of an organ, in this case, it causes the reduction of lymphocytes. Impaired white cells mean the overall ability of the immune system to fight diseases also reduces gradually. 

Regular cannabis use also decreases the count of natural cell killers. In particular, cells that fight serious diseases such as tumors and microbial infections. The study also suggested that dose is an important factor here. You see, regular users are more susceptible to infections and diseases. In contrast, people who consume cannabis less frequently may have a better functioning immune system than regular users.

The Effects of Cannabis on Immunocompromised Patients 

Unfortunately, cannabis decreases the ability of immune cells to fight certain infections. The only problem here is that studies suggest that cannabis might actually help patients suffering from cancer and HIV. So, how does this mechanism work in cancer patients?

After all, the suppressive response may further cause the immune system to deteriorate. According to research, patients with HIV or cancer are vulnerable to infections. Cannabis may enhance the immune system by decreasing the virus and increasing the capacity of CD4 cells. CD4 cells boost immune response and function. While existing research leans a little towards cannabis use in the case of cancer and HIV patients. We require more concrete proof in this case. We do not have sufficient research to clearly say that cannabis works efficiently alongside the immune system. 

Final Thoughts

The current cannabis system allows the use of medical marijuana cards to avail of high-quality cannabis products. In fact, nowadays more and more people get a medical marijuana card online to alleviate the symptoms of certain medical conditions. The use of CBD and THC has broadened in the past few years.

What remains is the effectiveness of cannabis and its impact on the immune system. Some researchers are challenging the therapeutic potential of cannabis while others approve of cannabis use. Until we have concrete proof make sure that you consult a doctor and use cannabis under medical supervision. 

How Can Cannabis Improve Your Daily Life?

We are always hunting for ways to make our lives healthier and happier. Consultations with a dietician, yoga classes, a session at soul cycle and whatnot. But, despite the many things we do, we are always looking around for new and interesting ways to improve our life. That’s why you are here reading this blog too. Or maybe you are just curious. Either way, I have a healthy solution for you. Here’s a hint- it is just a medical marijuana recommendation away. You guessed it right, cannabis can improve your life in many ways than you can imagine.

Not a lot of people are aware of how cannabis can be a healthy addition to the routine of not just medical patients but also regular people. When taken in the right amounts and after a consultation with a professional, you’ll see that cannabis can improve your level of health significantly. So without any delay, let’s take a look at the many ways in which cannabis can improve your daily life.

It’s a medical aid

In recent years, cannabis has evolved as a medical aid. Going by the scientific and anecdotal evidence, cannabis has been providing therapeutic benefits for people suffering from AIDS, cancer, seizures and even PTSD. So if you are a medical patient, you can consider using medical marijuana.

The state government of California recognizes the potential of cannabis as a medicine and legally allows people to buy and use cannabis for medical reasons. Every state has a list of conditions and symptoms that qualify for a medical card. You can find the information on the state government website and check if you qualify or not. Or just consult a medical marijuana doctor online or offline.

Help you get rid of everyday pain and aches

Cannabis is most commonly used as a pain reliever in healthcare. And this aspect can be helpful even in your daily life. With the modern lifestyle that never stops, it is very common for the body to feel tired, stiff and achy. But you don’t have to live with these everyday pains. With a little dose of cannabis, your body will relax and pain will go away as if it never existed.

Cannabis works by inhibiting pain signals. The cannabinoids (chemicals in cannabis) activate the CB receptors in the brain area which reduces the exchange of pain signals from the affected area to the brain. Another major cause of pain is inflammation and cannabis can help deal with it effectively. Inflammation is a response of the immune system to irritants and other contaminants in the body. But it is also the reason why redness and pain occur. Cannabis inhibits the response of the immune system and thus reduces pain by acting as an anti-inflammatory.

Better sleep

The modern lifestyle creates sleeping problems in many. You are either out of sleep because of stress or your sleep cycle is a mess. So instead of popping sleeping pills every day try cannabis. It can help you get back on track and not just sleep but have a deep sleep.

Cannabis is often used by patients of insomnia who find immediate relief. This is because cannabis has a sedative effect. The cannabinoids like THC and terpenes like myrcene and caryophyllene are very effective in helping you sleep. In addition to inducing sleep, cannabis also works by eliminating other factors that may be causing a hindrance in you achieving your good night’s rest. For example, muscle pain, stress and anxiety. So if you have trouble sleeping, help yourself with a dose of cannabis. Just remember to take a low amount or else the effects may be totally opposite of what you desire.

Improves your fitness regime

Are you a fitness freak? If yes, then cannabis can be your perfect partner.

A dose of cannabis before or after a workout can increase your productivity and recovery. Cannabis helps you focus and concentrate on your workout. So if you are lifting weights, a puff before a workout will put you in the zone and help your stay focused. It is also a great alternative to an energy booster. If you feel, skip your protein shake and use cannabis instead. Recovery is necessary after a workout. Cannabis can help relax the muscles, ease any body tension or pain and help you sleep better.

Along with workout, cannabis also helps maintain a healthy weight by checking your food intake. Whether you are looking to reduce your appetite or increase it, the right strains of cannabis can make it possible.

Balances the mental state

Stress, anxiety, depression and other negative feelings can severely affect daily life and routine. It can be very difficult to work with a disturbed mental state. And yet again, cannabis can rescue you from this situation.

Cannabis is psychoactive which means that it can affect your brain. And this manipulation of brain functions is how you receive all the therapeutic benefits. Your happy hormones like serotonin, endorphin and dopamine rise that induces positive and happy feelings. This is what cannabis consumers refer to as a ‘euphoric feeling’. With a small dose, you achieve a balanced mental state and all your negative emotions and feelings fade away.

It’s a storehouse of nutrition

There’s more to cannabis than cannabinoids and terpenes. It is a superfood with a number of nutrients that are essential for the body. It is rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, protein and antioxidants. The best way to take advantage of these nutrients is to consume raw cannabis. You can do it by grinding the plant and eating it as a salad or add it into a smoothie or pressed juice. In addition to all the nutrients, raw cannabis will also give you the benefits of cannabinoid acid THCA and CBDA which have their own set of medicinal properties. These are the acidic forms of THC and CBD and are only found in raw cannabis.

Safer than alcohol

Cannabis is a safer alternative to alcohol. For starters, cannabis does not pose a risk of fatal overdose. Because by the time you reach a fatal dose, you will already be fast asleep. Secondly, alcohol consumption raises the risk of certain types of mouth and throat cancer. Cannabis, on the other hand, is used as a treatment for cancer as it is known to rescue the number of cancer-causing cells in the body. Regular use of alcohol is also damaging to the brain but cannabis in fact has neuroprotective properties.

So now you know that choosing cannabis is a step towards a healthy lifestyle. It can be a solution to a lot of problems in your life. Whether you are medically incapable or are a victim of the modern lifestyle, a small dose of cannabis can positively affect your life.