Understanding the connection between CBD and the immune system

Most people who use cannabidiol (CBD) claim its many health benefits. Most of these claims are anecdotal, as little research has been done on CBD. One of these claims is that CBD has some benefits to the immune system. 

But if you believe this hearsay, let’s dive into the endocannabinoid system and its connection with CBD.

What is the endocannabinoid system, and what’s its relation to CBD?

The Endocannabinoid system is a cell-signaling system in your body. When functioning, this system allows endocannabinoids to bind with its receptors and send signals to other body parts. There are two main endocannabinoid receptors; CB1 in the central nervous system and CB2 in the peripheral nervous system.

Endocannabinoids resemble phytocannabinoids in cannabis though the former is made by the body whether you use cannabis or not. Examples of phytocannabinoids are CBD and tetrahydrocannabinol.

The endocannabinoid system plays many roles in the body though there is still ongoing research on these roles. However, experts believe it can help with;

  • Reproduction
  • Thinking
  • Sleep
  • Digestion


How do CBD works?

CBD reacts with ECS, and while it doesn’t bind with CB1 and CB2, experts believe it binds with receptors that they are yet to discover. They think CBD helps endocannabinoids work strongly on the body by preventing their breakage. 


Is CBD an immune booster?

Because of the perception most people have about the benefits of CBD, many people use it to boost their immune system. 

But, we all know that your immune system doesn’t need boosting if you don’t have any underlying condition. While you can adopt lifestyle changes like adequate sleep or practices to avoid common STDs that might compromise your immune system, you can’t do much to increase your immunity. 

In a nutshell, there is ongoing research on CBD as an immune booster.


Is CBD an immunosuppressant?

CBD doesn’t boost the immune system, but it can be beneficial for those with autoimmune conditions- a condition occurring when your immune system attacks healthy cells instead of bloodborne pathogens, which usually cause inflammation. Some examples of autoimmune diseases are;

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease


Immunosuppressant treatments are for treating autoimmune conditions. Research shows that CBD has anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant properties, which those with autoimmune diseases are in dire need of. 

This research is still not viable as it involves lab and animal studies, not human ones. However, it is still ongoing and promising as the experts believe it can help with some conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. 


Is CBD immunomodulatory?

Immunomodulation is the ability of something to either stimulate or suppress your immune system. As we mentioned, there is little proof that CBD has immunosuppressant properties. 

However, the research on CBD about stimulation of the immune system is not enough though there is a claim that it can improve sleep and reduce stress, which boosts the immune system. 

There is a need for research to validate this claim, and in case you have a compromised immune system, use evidence-based treatments prescribed by your healthcare provider. 


Is CBD safe?

CBD is safe for your consumption though it has some side effects that you should know before using it, and they include;

  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue



Most people using CBD claim its many benefits, including boosting the immune system. Though there is a relationship between CBD and the endocannabinoid system, there is little research on whether CBD can stimulate the immune system. 

However, there is some evidence that CDB has immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory properties, and thus, it can help alleviate inflammation resulting from autoimmune diseases. 


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