Cannabis and Inflammation: Everything You Need to Know

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Citizens of the world have used cannabis to combat inflammation and the related pain for thousands of years. Users and non-users can win if they understand the connection between cannabis and inflammation, how it works, and what strains they might like.

Modern research and pharmaceutical research and development have confirmed the beneficial connection, and there is an increasing demand for cannabis and cannabis-derivatives for the treatment of inflammation. Here’s what you need to know about cannabis and inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a common process. It’s a natural process, and the pain it causes is a signal to the brain that something is wrong.

When unhealthy bacteria, infection, and viruses invade the body, white blood cells and other chemicals gather to fight the invasion. The body’s immune system goes into gear to kill the bad stuff.

In an autoimmune disease, like arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, and more, the immune system attacks good and bad cells. When it damages your tissues, the consequent inflammation tells your brain you’re in trouble.

  • Acute inflammation starts immediately following an injury as simple as a cut or scrape as blood flow increases because of the dilation of blood vessels in the injured area. This process also creates the swelling marking a sprained ankle, surgery site, sore throat, punch to the face, or other injuries. And, it tends to decline in intensity within minutes, hours, or days.
  • Chronic inflammation last for months or years. In some cases, it lasts as long as you fail to eliminate whatever causes the inflammation, like an irritant in the environment like asbestos. But, it typically results from your immune system mistaking something in your system for something pathogenic. If it continues to misread that those signals, it will continue to inflame cells and tissues.

Inflammation is treated with NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofen. Doctors prescribe corticosteroids, glucocorticoids, or mineralocorticoids depending on the diagnosis.

And, non-traditional medical care has recommended herbal therapy with:

  • Cannabis
  • Harpagophytum procumbens
  • Hyssop
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

An increasing number of people suffering from chronic pain conditions are investing their money and faith in cannabis and its results.

What does cannabis do for inflammation?

Cannabis has properties that can do two things. It can help you ignore or psychologically manage the pain related to inflammation. And, it will reduce the physical inflammation itself.

There is a substantial research affirming the positive effects of cannabis on inflammation. But, if we look at the most recent, we find:

  • Poznan University of Medical Sciences (2017) pursued a study to identify a “cannabinoid extract with reduced psychoactive component (THC), which due to its high content of cannabidiol (CBD) is meant to provide analgesic properties, and at the same time to reduce the risk of addiction and overdose. University of Medical Sciences is evaluating the analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiemetic properties of the extract of Cannabis sativa in animal models coupled with neuropathic pain.”
  • The European Journal of Pain (2016) concluded, “data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.”
  • Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care (2014) found “It is increasingly recognized how tightly this expanded ECS [Endocannabinoid System) is intertwined with key processes involved in inflammation.”
  • The European Journal of Pharmacology (2012) said, “Cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid component of marijuana (Cannabis sativa), has potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.”
  • PLoS One (2011) argued, “Our results, therefore, indicate that CBD indeed unravels a new therapeutic strategy to treat inflammatory bowel diseases.”
  • The AAPS Journal (2009) covered a study focused on “A possible mechanism for these actions is suggested involving increased production of eicosanoids that promote the resolution of inflammation.”

And, there are more serious scientific explorations of the mechanism of action between cannabinoids an inflammation. Unfortunately, that mechanism has proven elusive and difficult to explain.

We do know cannabis contains at least 70 cannabinoids. THC and CBD, the two most studied, provide immune modulation and anti-inflammatory properties. These natural cannabinoids engage with the human endocannabinoid system to change how the body regulates pain by energizing the body’s self-repair system.

It calms inflammation to give the nerves and tissues time to recover. This may result from direct interaction with CB2 receptors on neurotransmitters. It may be the result of the interference with the body’s reabsorption of the bliss particle “anandamide.” It could result from the anti-proliferation properties.

We know THC can be 80 times more potent than aspirin and twice as potent as hydrocortisone and the nonpsychoactive constituent cannabichromene also suppresses induced inflammation. And, we know CBD reduces the generation of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-a and reduces fatty acid aminohydrolase (FAAH) activity thereby modulating the production of anandamide.

So, somewhere among these interactions, synergies, and correlations, they will eventually nail down how cannabis helps inflammation.

5 strains to manage inflammation

  1. Cannatonic leads anyone’s list for a strain to reduce inflammation-related pain. It has been engineered to escalate its CBD level. With CBD as high as 17%, it delivers fast relief of inflammatory pain.
  2. Charlotte’s Web has been the gold-standard in calming effects. A less than .3% THC offers an ideal medical approach to inflammation and anti-spasmodic needs.
  3. The Ox is a seven-time Cannabis Cup winning Indica with 19-20% THC and 12% CBD. It offers an unabashed high for those with acute and chronic pain and stress.
  4. God Bud will put you down, so you should wait until bedtime. This Indica-dominant hybrid runs THC about 14% - 22% to offer an intense and euphoric uplift, a creative energy, and a knock out sleep.
  5. LA Confidential is a sedating Indica-high hybrid. Fast acting and potent, it delivers a whopping 20-25% THC. You’ll feel better immediately, but you should avoid a heavy hit unless you want to go to bed right away.

Strains heavy with THC will help you ignore and forget the pain. Strains high in CBD may reduce the inflammation. Either way, you are better off.