What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a significant response from the immune system. This response is triggered when healthy tissue is injured or is under threat of infection. It is our body's way of signaling where the "attack" is occurring so that all vital fluids, proteins and white blood cells (components necessary for recovery) flow there and the healing process begins. Without this immune response, wounds would never heal and instead would rot, causing an added infection, which would allow the virus to spread throughout the body. Although this response is what prevents what we have just discussed from happening gradually, inflammation of an affected area can last for long periods of time and cause severe pain or discomfort. Ultimately, it can lead to other complications such as heart disease or stroke. Pain always comes from the inflamed areas swelling, pushing the cells to the surface.
Inflammation can mainly be classified into two groups: acute pain and chronic pain. These are diagnosed taking into account factors such as severity and triggers. Acute inflammation is a healthy response, for example, when you have a throat infection and your throat becomes red and scratchy due to inflammation in that area, or if you are bitten by a mosquito you will see a small red, hot lump appear around the bite.
Allergic reactions can also be considered as acute and chronic inflammations depending on the severity of the reaction and the abundance of the allergen. People who suffer from hay fever (a plant pollen allergy), during certain seasons of the year (such as spring and summer) have to be constantly treated. Antihistamines serve to inhibit the release of histamines but, due to the inflammation in the lining of the nose and in the protective layer of the eyes that causes the joy, these
antihistamines need to be taken in conjunction with anti-inflammatory drugs.
Inflammation has been seen to occur in a number of diseases, in addition to being the cause of many chronic pain problems. When the inflammatory process is triggered unnecessarily, the body sends help to areas that do not need real protection causing large amounts of pain and discomfort. It is classified as chronic inflammation when this process leads to the destruction of healthy cells and tissues creating long-term health problems.
An example of this is rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks a person's healthy joints, usually affecting the hands and feet. Chronic inflammation in these areas leads to stiffness, discomfort, loss of mobility, and severe pain. Currently, there is no cure for this type of arthritis and patients are doomed to take NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) throughout their lives. As helpful and effective as they are, in the long run taking these drugs can cause huge problemssuch as kidney failure, heart failure, and strokes.
Current treatment options for chronic inflammation
Currently, there are not many OTC medications that specifically treat long-term chronic inflammation. There are only pills intended for short-term treatments that, when taken over a long period of time, can lead to problems in the gastrointestinal tract, kidney failure, high blood pressure, stroke, or deathPatients suffering from chronic inflammation and related diseases such as arthritis, IBS or endometriosis, among others, need a potent, safe, non-toxic and non-addictive anti-inflammatory that can be taken over long periods of time.
Cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment option for inflammation
One of the best known properties of cannabidiol, or CBD, is that it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and painkillerCBD works to regulate the endocannabinoid system in our body through its interaction with cannabinoid receptors, but it also interacts with glycemic receptors, which are key to transmitting pain signals to the brain. By blocking these signals, CBD effectively reduces pain and inflammation in chronic cases. We can find CB2 receptors scattered throughout all the cells of our body, especially those that are closely related to the immune system. With this in mind, if any irregularity is found in the immune system we can manipulate it through the endocannabinoid system with cannabinoids.
Is it safe to use CBD?
In 2018 the WHO (World Health Organization) reported that a major benefit of CBD is that it is non-toxic and non-addictive. It has been proven that CBD can be taken over long periods of time with virtually no negative side effects (dry mouth, dizziness and vertigo being the worst). CBD has the ability to enhance the effect of other drugs, so it is always recommended to talk to a doctor who is knowledgeable about the subject before starting on a long-term treatment plan.
Research on Cannabinoids and Inflammation
Some studies, such as this one in 2009, found that anti-inflammatory treatment worked better when a mixture of CBD and THC (tetrahydrocannabidol) was used. This is somewhat controversial as THC is illegal in most countries of the world. However, the fact that CBD remains effective without THC (and is also non-toxic) means that it is a viable alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other over-the-counter drugs. Most whole CBD extract oils have to have less than 0.2% THC to be sold legally. Even this small amount of THC is enough to allow for the entourage effect, but it will not produce the 'high' for which it is known.
Diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Endometriosis, Asthma, Crohn's Disease, Periodontitis, and stomach ulcers have a great deal in common; they all have chronic inflammation as their main symptom. CBD's effectiveness in reducing pain and inflammation in patients with these chronic diseases - and the fact that it is safe and non-addictive - makes it a valid and much-needed treatment option. Ultimately, more research will always be needed, but what is already known is promising and sufficient to give patients hope.
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