CBD seems to have three modes of action for reducing the severity of autoimmune conditions. First the anti-inflammatory nature of CBD reduces the triggers for the over-sensitive immune system and can also counteract the inflammation that has been caused by the misdirected autoimmune response. Second, cannabinoids have antioxidant properties and autoimmune diseases are at least partially diseases of oxidation. Thirdly it seems that CBD can modulate immune response. Additionally, where a symptom of some autoimmune diseases is fatigue, CBD helps many improve the quality of rest.
For the details of the original NIH patents for cannabinoids, look at our resource page on the CBD science. From the NIH patent #US6630507B1
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
As this paper from HealthLine indicates, CBD works by interacting with the endocannabinoid system of the human body where “Experts think it plays a role in maintaining homeostasis, or balance, in the body.” When CBD interacts with the complex immune response system of a person, it doesn’t reduce the function of the system by suppressing it across the board, instead it may improve the balance of the overall response. For a person with an autoimmune disorder, that would mean reducing the activity of some cell and receptor types.
This infographic from Wholistic Matters can help understand what the endocannabinoid system does.
Several large-scale research reviews were published on PubMed- National Library of Medicine in the last few years including Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabinoids in the Immunomodulation of Prevalent Autoimmune Diseases and Immune Responses Regulated by Cannabidiol
How are autoimmune diseases managed conventionally?
Corticosteriods are a primary treatment for autoimmune symptom management, to reduce inflammation and suppress immunity. They have their own serious downsides including adrenal suppression, thinning of the skin, edema, depression, sleep disturbance and hypertension. At the same time, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can thin the lining of the digestive organs and affect blood pressure. Painkillers, another of the common means for managing symptoms of autoimmune diseases, again, they have many difficult downsides.
Meanwhile, CBD has some indications of being able to help with all three of these needs– reducing inflammation, suppressing misdirected immune response, and managing pain.
What causes the rise of autoimmune diseases?
As reported recently in The Guardian, “Internationally, it is now estimated that cases of autoimmune diseases are rising by between 3% and 9% a year. Most scientists believe environmental factors play a key role in this rise… [Dr. Vinuesa] pointed to changes in diet that were occurring as more and more countries adopted western-style diets and people bought more fast food.”
How is the microbiome related to autoimmune problems?
One of the O.G.s in the scientific community recognizing the root causes of autoimmune diseases is without a doubt Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. A medical doctor with post doctorate degrees in both neurology and nutrition, she created the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome + Gut and Physiology Syndrome) diet protocol.
As she explained in her interview with Eco-Farming Daily, “Gut and Physiology Syndrome occurs where the toxins from the gut get into other organs of the body… All autoimmunity is born in the gut, whether it is celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or Diabetes Type I. I’ve been saying that for the last 23 years, and now the major immunologists around the world are saying the same thing. Your digestive system is the biggest and most important immune organ, with 85 percent of the immune system located in the gut wall.”
How can we repair our systems? “When your body has inflammation and autoimmunity-destroying cells and tissues, you need to rebuild them. The building materials are going to come from food. The most appropriate fats for rebuilding our human structure are animal fats: beef fat, lamb fat, goose fat, pork fat — because their biochemical structure is very similar to the fats our bodies are made from.” To learn more about her detailed system for healing and continued health, please learn more at gaps.me .