CBD & Your Immune System – Nothing To Sneeze At!
Research Shows CBD is a Power Player in Defending the Immune System… Good News when it comes to using NEWYOU Products and Staying Healthy during the Flu, Cold and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection) Season!
by Greg Montoya
Whether it’s a flu, common cold or something more virulent like COVID-19, science is showing that it’s not always the virus that proves fatal. But, rather the body’s own immune response that produces the marked symptoms of infection.
Recently, NEWYOU’s Pualani Armstrong, a CBD Research and Development industry professional, answered some questions during an interview about the valuable role CBD plays when it comes to our Endocannabinoid and immune systems.
Wintertime Immune System Concerns!
The headlines in the news are often scary, very real and everyone should take precautions suggested by federal, state and local health authorities.
NEWYOU: We know every winter, people are always concerned about the next type of virus or flu, but it really begs the question:
- Can CBD help optimize the immune system?
- What does that look like as far as our health is concerned?
- Before we dive into that can you take a few minutes to explain to us in layman’s terms how viruses work?
ARMSTRONG: Absolutely! Well, this is a very exciting time. There has been a lot of research coming out regarding the Endocannabinoid System, the immune system, cannabinoids and specifically, plant derived phytocannabinoids like CBD and their therapeutic potential against pathogens like viruses.
How Viruses Work & Your Immune System
It’s really helpful to understand how viruses work in the first place before we discuss our immune response and further how the Endocannabinoid system plays a role regarding your immune function.
Viruses are truly fascinating tiny life forms and they are one of, if not, the most abundant life forms on the planet. In fact, I recently learned that there are many more viruses than there are bacteria.
They are pretty much everywhere and are unavoidable. Viruses by themselves don’t have their own cellular bodies, so they’re kind of like little genetic syringes that contain their own DNA and they’re looking for a host cell that they can inject their DNA into in order to replicate, proliferate, and ultimately survive.
For some more virulent viruses like the Coronavirus this hostile takeover can actually happen very quickly inside the human body, and many times the rate of replication in the body can outpace the immune system’s response.
NEWYOU: We’ve heard that in many cases it’s not the virus itself that causes the most damage, but it’s actually our immune system’s response to the virus that results in the underlying health problems?
ARMSTRONG: That’s correct. In many instances it’s our own body’s immune response that causes the potentially fatal secondary effects and the common symptoms of infection. Modern science is still trying to understand the many complexities of the immune system and immune response. We are starting to see that in addition to how quickly the virus can replicate versus how fast your body can respond there is another really important factor to consider when it comes to how you will be affected by a viral infection.
Importance of the Immune Response
It’s often the strength of the immune response that determines how well we will fare against a virus. So, of course, someone who already has a compromised immune system is going to be more susceptible to viral infection and secondary complications than someone whose immune system is functioning at optimal levels.
But whether or not you become really sick, deathly ill or simply get a tickle in your throat is very much determined by how fast your immune system can respond and to what extent.
Sometimes, however, the pathogen can actually trigger your own body’s immune response to be so destructive that in addition to going after unhealthy viral cells it actually starts to destroy healthy cells and healthy tissues which can lead to a lot of problems.
NEWYOU: What you’re saying here is that this could result in an autoimmune response by the body?
ARMSTRONG: Yes, autoimmunity is when your own body starts attacking itself. When this happens the body really struggles to move into a state of healing. An overemphasized immune response is where things can really start to fall apart, especially when you come up against a really hostile virus like Coronavirus.
Of course, you want the full force of your immune system engaged; your T-cells, white blood cells and macrophages. But sometimes your immune system can actually overreact and incorrectly differentiate between the good cells and the bad cells.
It sounds like it’s important to manage the immune response, so it’s strong enough, but not too strong, when the body is confronted with a virus. Now, it’s important for people reading this to know that we now know that the immune system is regulated by the Endocannabinoid System. Some people may not be familiar with the Endocannabinoid System.
NEWYOU: Can you tell us a little bit about that and why it is vitally important as it relates to fighting off viruses like the Coronavirus and others?
ARMSTRONG: As far as discoveries go the Endocannabinoid System is a fairly new discovery. So, we are just now starting to see more and more research coming out that indicates how critical this particular regulatory system is.
Understanding The Endocannabinoid System
We’ve heard of the endocrine system and the immune system, etc., but the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is what connects them all together and helps them talk so to speak. It regulates and balances many of the body’s core processes including the immune response, communication between cells, appetite, metabolism, memory, pain, and more.
The ECS is based on cell signaling and communication. Throughout the body, we have specific receptor sites called CB1 and CB2 that respond directly to cannabinoids. These two receptor sites are found on many different types of cells throughout the body including immune cells.
What is Homeostasis?
When they meet, the cannabinoids and their receptors form what’s like a lock and key. Ultimately, the result is a cascade of processes that allows the body to maintain a state of homeostasis…a big fancy word that means balance.
Basically, the Endocannabinoid System exists to help regulate, oversee and make sure that all the other bodily processes and functions are happening as they’re supposed to. It ensures that your body is balanced and healthy.
Now, back to the immune response. You don’t want it to be too strong, or too weak…
This is where the Endocannabinoid System seems to come into play according to research. Our immune response has everything to do with how dangerous a virus will be to any person. Viruses are eager to live and will do anything they can to survive. In some cases, will even turn off and override our own natural immune response, so that our immune system doesn’t respond the way it’s supposed to.
Don’t Make Your Body a Home for Viruses
In something like Coronavirus the virus actually makes its home in the lungs and respiratory tract, resulting in a ton of inflammation. Secondary complications in the form of respiratory illnesses as the body attempts to fight the infection. New research is showing that the Endocannabinoid System working together with the immune system is one of the many ways that our body can protect itself from viruses and other pathogens.
The body naturally produces endocannabinoids that bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptor sites located on immune cells. Fortunately for us, we are able to help boost the body’s natural store of cannabinoids by supplementing with phytocannabinoids or plant cannabinoids like CBD that can act just like your natural endocannabinoids do and engage the receptor sites on our immune cells.
NEWYOU: Please remind us again exactly how CBD works with the Endocannabinoid System to influence the immune system?
ARMSTRONG: Sure, earlier I mentioned that the Endocannabinoid System is all about maintaining balance. It’s really good at overseeing that communication between all the other systems in the body to know if something is out of balance, and if so it begins to modulate and bring everything back towards optimal balance and function.
Fighting a Viral Infection – Influence on the Immune System
When we’re fighting a viral infection, we really do want a very strong immune response so our body can respond quickly with its fighter cells. But, simultaneously you want to avoid an autoimmune response that is too strong that would result in killing healthy cells and quite possibly actually killing us in the process. The Endocannabinoid System makes sure this doesn’t happen.
New research is showing that CBD in particular is powerful in supporting immune function and specifically, can directly influence the immune system and promote antiviral activity by modulating immune responses helping to determine what is too strong of a response and what is too weak.
Controlling the Strength of the Immune Response is Critical!
Modulating is a fancy science word, but it really means the ability to influence or control the strength of the immune response. Like other adaptogens, CBD can work in either direction to help restore balance. It’s the reason why CBD and the Endocannabinoid System are so powerful when they are combined.
Inflammation is one of the clear signs of an immune response and we’re seeing with Coronavirus in particular that the inflammation of the respiratory passages is especially dangerous and possibly fatal. CBD can help the Endocannabinoid and immune systems work together to deliver the proper immune response thus helping to control dangerous inflammation levels. This is really a key piece of information especially when it comes to fighting dangerous pathogens.
Inflammation is Directly Related to Disease and the Immune Response
You mentioned inflammation. Most people are familiar with inflammation and have heard that inflammation is a precursor to many disease states.
NEWYOU: Does CBD’s ability to target inflammation help it determine what is a sufficient amount for the immune system?
ARMSTRONG: Many of us live with high levels of subchronic inflammation simply due to our diet, environment or lifestyle and that can be really taxing on our immune systems. To help people understand inflammation a little better I like to use a visual…
I grew up in the Virgin Islands where I was out in the sun most of the time. I’m very fair skinned and prone to getting a sunburn. A sunburn is a visible example of an inflammatory immune response. When you get too much sun your body is triggered to have an immune response to deal with the damaged cells and that immune response is the inflammation you see and feel in the form of heat, pain, and redness. Sometimes, there’s even the peeling of the skin, which means that those cells were specifically targeted and killed by programmed cell death because they were not healthy enough to live properly. This is your body’s way of saying that there was significant cellular damage.
CBD, Inflammation & Your Immune System
What’s so special about CBD and inflammation is that because it is able to modulate the immune system and immune response it is also an incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory agent. It’s also really special because unlike other chemicals and drugs, CBD has the ability to work in two directions, to upregulate or downregulate other processes as necessary making it super responsive to the needs of the body.
This means that you’re not going to fully see CBD working in a linear fashion like you can with traditional pain-relieving anti-inflammatory agents. Because it lessens the effects of something or increases something, it can turn one process off or it can turn something on. It’s always sort of fluctuating in between to find that state of balance.
What the research is showing is that CBD is basically coordinating all these other cellular processes. Meaning that it’s adaptive
NEWYOU: So what you’re saying is everybody’s experience with CBD may differ because it’s so adaptive.
ARMSTRONG: Anecdotally, that’s what we are seeing. Depending on your age, or the disease or condition you’re trying to help with CBD, responses can vary from person to person. I think the most important thing to remember is that one of CBD’s greatest features is its ability to restore balance.
Balance, or homeostasis, is unique to every single person and their own body’s needs and that determines the effect CBD will have. We found some amazing snippets of research that actually showed how differently the effects of CBD can be depending on what imbalance was.
CBD Effect on Cells
For example, when they introduced CBD to a healthy cell with low levels of inflammation the CBD didn’t really seem to do much to the inflammation levels, which is what you would expect. The cell was healthy and there wasn’t much inflammation. Then they introduced CBD to a healthy cell that had high levels of inflammation and the result was a reduction in the inflammation and the CBD had a very strong immune suppressive effect.
Finally, they took a cancer cell and introduced it to CBD and the results were actually increased inflammation, which seems counterintuitive but since inflammation is an immune response it means that the CBD was signaling to the immune system to respond in a more pronounced way. Which is pretty amazing because it shows how adaptogenic CBD can actually be.
But in general, when it comes to an immune response, CBD is actually very calming which is why it has such a profound anti-inflammatory effect. It is really going to kind of calm down and tone down the immune system.
NEWYOU: Besides helping to manage the immune response is there any other way CBD works with the immune system?
ARMSTRONG: The immune System is very complex, evolving over many years to handle new bugs, pathogens and foreign Invaders. While there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done concerning the Endocannabinoid System, immune function and CBD, we are seeing a lot of promise concerning the CBD’s effects on the immune system specifically when it comes to pathogens like viruses.
Unhealthy Infected Cells
What’s really interesting is that CBD appears to be able to selectively trigger cell death for unhealthy infected cells while leaving healthy cells alone. That is really profound because a lot of chemicals and drugs out there are kind of working on everything, so it’s just completely scorched earth. They get rid of everything.
It also appears that CBD can increase certain immune signaling molecules or decrease the secretion of these immune signaling molecules. If you need a more profound immune response, it can actually regulate how the cells are sending these sorts of chemical signals to each other.
Overally, the key to optimal immune function depends on maintaining a healthy Endocannabinoid system and the best thing we can do to guard ourselves against things like Coronavirus or common flus, colds or nasty bugs is to support our bodies by supplementing with vital phytocannabinoids like CBD.
One thing we can say for certain is that CBD definitely has a profound impact on the immune system and the research looks very promising. I only expect that we’re going to be hearing more about its positive benefits with each passing year.
BEST Holiday Practices and Tips to Stay Healthy to Keep Your Immune System Strong!
As it relates to staying healthy, my advice is:
- Drink lots of water
- Exercise daily
- Practice good hygiene
- Eat whole foods
- Get some sunshine
- Definitely introduce some CBD products like DROPS and CB2 into your diet!
CBD will go a very long way in supporting your immune system to give you the best chance of fighting off those nasty bugs that wreak havoc on our health.
As it relates to BEST Holiday Practices…
Share and Educate Others about CBD:
- Have DROPS and/or NanoX available to showcase and share with others – DROPS for squirting into flavored drinks, and NanoX for water or unsweetened drinks
- When seated at a Holiday meal, place a bottle next to your drinking glass
- Ask those seated next to you or near you if they’d like a drop or two
Best Immune System Support Duo – NEW Protection Pack #2
About Pualani Armstrong:
NEWYOU’s Product Development and Procurement Expert
Pualani Armstrong started her career in product development working alongside a team of chemists. It involved creating a portfolio of efficacious skincare formulas for a contract manufacturer. Since 2015, she has worked exclusively in the CBD industry. She analyzes consumer trends to predict the next big thing in product formula, function, and delivery. This honed her passion for innovation and brand development along the way.
Her professional work with CBD has contributed to the growth of some of the most widely recognized brands in the Cannabis industry today. Also, her career achievements include the successful launch of over 30 new topical and oral CBD formulas including the first clinically tested CBD skincare line.
Pualani’s wealth of industry knowledge, technical skills, and scientific training, make her a valuable asset to NEWYOU. She works to identify new consumer trends and manage product development from creation to distribution.