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  • CBD and the immune system

    CBD and the immune system
    Our immune system includes many biochemical agents and processes that are responsible for protecting against attacks from a variety of agents such as parasites, viruses and bacteria. Within the complexity of our body, the immune system must be able to distinguish healthy cells and microorganisms from the sick or hostile. All vertebrates possess an innate immune system and an adaptive immune system. We also have a specific neuroimmune system that protects our brain.

    The immune system is a dynamic communication network. It is structured in subsets of different cells that exchange information about tissue and organs health and possible threats. For most of the time, the immune system needs to respond to minor external attacks on our body. Sometimes the threat can be more serious.
    Everything that can trigger an immune response is called antigen. An antigen can be a virus or even cells from another person (our immune system works hard when we make love). A receptor is a molecule that receives chemical signals from outside a cell and causes a cell signaling reaction. When an immune receptor binds to its correspondence eternal substance, it signals other cells to begin their defensive response. Immune system disorders Cell signaling can lead to autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, while immunodeficiency leads to recurrent and life-threatening infections.


    The immune system protects living organisms with increasingly specific layers of defenses: physical barriers, such as skin and hair, prevent bacteria and viruses from entering the body. Intruders who dare to cross the skin barrier are immediately attacked by the innate immune system with generic chemical weapons. If pathogens are even able to survive this second layer of defense, then the adaptive immune system receives a message that attacks individual invaders with certain agents. This targeted final chemical reaction implies the detection of the pathogen using an immunological memory that allows the preservation of information about old and new enemy profiles and appropriate countermeasures. This is not easy, and sometimes the immune system can accidentally start an attack on the body's own cells or tissues. In other cases, the immune system might react strongly to a harmless substance such as pollen.

    Inflammation is one of the purported immune system first reactions to infections. It is produced by eicosanoids and cytokines. These are chemical messengers that are able to recruit fresh immune cells to the site of infection to attack the pathogen and then heal the damaged tissue. Research has shown that cannabinoids affect the production of cytokines. This layer of the second immune system harbors the leukocytes, also called white blood cells. They behave as independent organisms with the ability to attack pathogens by "smashing" or "devouring" them. The innate immune system also has natural killer (NK) cells that work in a similar way to leukocytes. The difference is that NK only attacks the corrupt or virus-infected cells of your own body.

    The adaptive immune system is our last protective layer. Its organs are positioned throughout the body and produce cells called lymphocytes. These defenses travel throughout the body through the blood vessels and lymphatics. Immune cells are then exchanged between blood and lymphatics so that the lymphatic system is monitored for attacks and abnormalities. The adaptive immune system also generates its own killer cells, which corresponds to the NK cells of the innate system.

    The recently discovered endocannabinoid system consists of two types of receptors, CB1 and CB2, and their endogenous cannabinoids, which our body produces on demand. CB1 cannabinoid receptors are mostly found in the brain. CB2 receptors are found in the periphery, especially in immune cells. Because of prohibitionism, which hinders research, scientists were only able to identify endocannabinoid receptors between 1990 and 1993. That's why the effects of cannabinoids on the immune system are far from being understood by today's science.
    The first endogenous cannabinoid discovered is anandamide, whose name comes from the Sanskrit word for "joy" or "bliss." It binds with CB1 cannabinoid receptors (technically it is a CB1 ligand) to trigger any messages to other cells. Cannabis plant is the botanical mimetic of anandamide, ie it is a ligand attached to the same receptor, which has similar biochemical events The other major endocannabinoid is 2-arachidonoylglycerol, which is a ligand of CB1 and CB2 receptors, cannabidiol or CBD, represents its phytocannabinoid mimetic.