Marijuana: More Than Just The High

You’re also at an increased risk of bronchitis and lung infections. Large numbers of cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) exist on immune cells, and in the digestive tract, nervous system, brain, and cartilage and joint tissues. Previous research has shown cannabis can reduce cancer treatment side effects such as nausea and sickness, but it could also help to directly fight the disease, the study claims. Understanding how cannabis interacts with the immune system could open up many promising avenues to use the herb for the treatment of various health conditions. Chemical compounds outside DNA collectively are known as epigenomes; these compounds can attach to DNA and alter its function by changing the way cells use the DNA's instructions. Few would argue that heavy, chronic use of unregulated marijuana can have deleterious effects on several aspects of health.

The researchers looked at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2020–2020), a survey designed to be nationally representative of United States non-institutionalised population, and found that there was a modest association between heavy cannabis use and higher white blood cell count but that neither former nor occasional cannabis use was associated with total or differential WBC counts.

And finally, make sure to always do thorough research on your own and use CBD under your own judgment. 30 grams of shelled hempseed contains 11 grams of protein; this is a better ratio than most so-called ‘protein’ bars! Modulation of Gut-Specific Mechanisms by Chronic Δ9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Administration in Male Rhesus Macaques Infected with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus: In addition to these conditions, studies in animals and in cells, published in 2020, suggest that cannabinoids might eventually play a helpful role in treating three other kinds of disease. Eat foods high in vitamin c, zinc, and magnesium when you have a cold. Generally speaking, there are two different ways in which the body’s adaptive immune cells can seek out and “eliminate” dangerous pathogens (foreign agents that can result in disease, infection, etc):

  • CBD is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana which could provide the ECS with a boost and ensure the inflammatory response is kept under control.
  • Cell culture and animal studies have also suggested THC and CBD may have antitumor effects, and this has been proposed as one reason why stronger expected associations are not seen between marijuana use and lung cancer, but more research is needed on this question.

Has Cannabis Ever Been Determined To Have A Negative Effect On The Immune System?

Smoking one marijuana cigarette leads to air deposition of four times as much cancer-causing tar as does tobacco smoke (Dr. )Do you live in the state of Florida and want additional clarification on the relationship between medical marijuana and immune system function? Some common methods include: This study emerges as the UK Government has today inched closer to legalising medicinal cannabis in the country after years of pressure from campaigners. A roadside study of reckless drivers who were not impaired by alcohol, showed that 45% of these drivers tested positive for marijuana. Criminal charges.

Central Nervous System

For example, there’s discoid lupus which affects only the skin and is defined by rashes on the face, neck, and scalp. Drinking too much alcohol can weaken your immune system. Marijuana is often touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Cannabinoids and innate immunity:

These rogue bacteria can cause inflammation in the liver and may lead to liver damage. The new research review admits cannabis has 'anti-cancer effects' and says more research needs to be done in real patients to confirm the findings. During puberty, heavy marijuana use can affect hormones in both males and females, and may delay the onset of puberty in young men. Pot's influence on the immune system continues to be hotly debated. Basically what this means is that “communicative” molecules in the ECS can work as a signaling mechanism and provide instructions for the functional machinery involved in the immune response. Marijuana is a controversial subject–it is illegal according to federal law, even while 29 states (and Washington, DC) have legalized medical use in some form or another.


Juicing raw cannabis doesn't get users high, but it can help the body's cell functions. Gut dysbiosis and genetic and environmental factors play mayor roles in the development of autoimmune diseases. So in this case, use of THC or CBD to suppress the immune system might be beneficial. A January 2020 review of preclinical and clinical data published in the Elsevier journal Progress in Neurobiology reported that cannabinoids can reduce pain and spasticity symptoms in multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. While most work has been carried out on individual cannabinoids, in particular THC and CBD, if you’re looking for some solid conclusions about how they affect the immune system, think again.

Additionally, some researchers have even speculated that the ECS may work to “notify” the body of an “incorrect” autoimmune response, wherein the defense cells attack otherwise healthy organs and tissues. The study concluded that cannabinoids (such as THC and CBD) could reduce the number of HIV and AIDS-infected cells tremendously. The cannabinoid system and immune modulation. CB2 can also inhibit production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enhance anti-inflammatory cytokines, which helps to restore a balanced state.

Add Comment Cancel

The ability of cannabis to strengthen a patient's immune response may therefore prove to be beneficial when it comes to treatment. For some conditions, it is better to use cannabis products that contain only THC, while other conditions are much better treated with CBD. Thus, it makes sense that consuming medical cannabis will also directly affect our immune system. Foods that will boost your immune system, keep yourself protected this flu season by eating for a healthy immune system. 10 ways to strengthen your immune system, am I Coming Down with Something? To reduce your heart disease risk, you need to exercise as much as you can and eat a heart-healthy diet. But that doesn’t mean we know nothing about it. Although to date, this research has only been conducted in lab environments. Longer-term effects may depend on how you take it, how much you use, and how often you use it. The microRNAs — also called miRNAs — are single-stranded, small, non-coding RNAs which play an important role in the regulation of gene expression.

I should also add that in making these observations, I have concentrated on the risks of smoking natural marijuana, since it is the most effective method of ingesting its active cannabinoids.

Living Well

Cannabis-infused honey and agave syrup is even available for those who want to sweeten up their own drinks. Immunosuppressive drugs are synthetically created antibodies which attack the autoimmune antibodies. The immune response is initialized in these tissues upon detection of antigens or microbes. Women have a higher risk of certain types of autoimmune diseases like Hispanic-American women, African-American women and Native American women. With lupus, people will have periods of remission without symptoms, and then they will have flare-ups. That also goes for most medical marijuana. HIV patients participating in this study had higher CD4-cell numbers.

Drug and Alcohol Effects on the Immune System

Studies have shown CBG to be an effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, and it can treat headaches, intestinal pain and bladder dysfunction. Cabral, Professor, Medical College of Virginia, speaking at NlDA's National Conference on Marijuana Use: Medical marijuana, and particularly cannabidiol (CBD), might slow the progression of autoimmune diseases by taking over the function of naturally produced cannabinoids. Personal interview, June 27th, 2020. It’s what gives you a pleasant high. Treatments do exist to reduce the effects and symptoms of your autoimmune disease.

Related Coverage

Cannabis juicing takes advantage of CBDA and THCA, versions of CBD and THC that require heat to be activated. ● Cannabis vs Cancer - Early studies indicate that cannabis compounds can help kill off cancer cells. Young adults and children can still develop it, however. Medical cannabis appears to replace the missing natural cannabinoids, helping to restore balance to the immune system. There are more than 100 diseases categorized as autoimmune conditions, with some of the more-often-diagnosed conditions including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn's disease. In a survey of 150 marijuana using students, 59% surveyed report they sometimes forget what a conversation is about before it has ended. Discoid lupus: Other effects are long-term and may not show up immediately.

Further Reading

Considering today’s greater access to medical marijuana and increased knowledge of its benefits, this percentage would be higher if the same study were conducted in 2020. The fatigue and chronic pain linked to an autoimmune disease can often cause the development of depression. Cannabis oil, fresh cannabis flower, and a pink ribbon on a white background.

The researchers say phytocannabinoids – chemicals in the plant – need to be explored more as a source of anti-cancer benefits. Legionella pneumophila, a bacteria that causes pneumonia, can survive being swallowed whole by our macrophages and once inside, start to multiply. He wrote a book about marijuana's benefits in 1971 and, after decades of research and controversy, continues to endorse them (see his Web site: )Medical content reviewed by Dr. So, what does this actually mean? They’re different names for the same drug that comes from the cannabis plant. With HIV/AIDS the virus is responsible for controlling the immune system, causing it to function in a weakened capacity, which makes the body exposed to numerous different infections and diseases. While a greater clinical foundation is necessary in order to come to any definitive conclusions with regard to its specific physiological effects, it’s clear that the endocannabinoid system and the immune system are very interrelated.

Like with influenza, the use of THC and CBD to suppress the immune system in the context of autoimmune disease is currently under investigation in humans (5), based on strong evidence in favor of this approach using mice (6).

Medical marijuana. ● Cannabis vs Fibromyalgia - Patients using cannabis experienced a reduction in pain after using CBD-rich cannabis. In cell-mediated immunity, specialized T-cells and natural killer (NK) cells seek out and neutralize pathogens, viral infected cells, and tumor cells. Does sugar really suppress the immune system? Sugar (especially sugar-sweetened beverages and soda) is one of those inflammation triggers. The effects of marijuana on the body are often immediate. E-cigarette vapor shown to repress immune system, prior research showed that vapor from e-cigarettes led to reduced killing of these organisms by neutrophils isolated from healthy volunteers. 4 However, it rarely causes problems in people with healthy immune systems. Smoking marijuana (pot) or any other drug irritates the lungs. And there is even less known about the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Cannabis Use And The Immune System

Researchers have found it all has to do with your endocannabinoid system. These include the more frequently studied cannabinoids like THC and CBD, more than 100 other minor cannabinoids, dozens of terpenes, and a host of flavonoids – the combination of which varies according to the cannabis strain. It is generally felt that someone with autoimmunity would not want to take anything which boosts the immune system, but this is a point of contention among practitioners.

The bulk of immune system-related research looks at cannabis’ effect on HIV/AIDS patients. Many autoimmune diseases share similar early symptoms such as: The CDC has posted an information page for consumers.

(“I suspect that cannabinoids are having a double-punch effect of 1) direct killing and 2) enhancing immunity by suppressing those immune cells that serve to hold back the immune-based killing cells. Maintain a physically fit lifestyle with regular exercise and eat a healthy diet regularly as part of your treatment program. This is primarily due to the increasing amount of medical research that is now being conducted on this potentially therapeutic plant species. Your doctor will also prescribe you treatment to relieve your symptoms. CBD has also been found to increase the expression of genes that deal with oxidative stress, which may reduce cell damage from autoimmune attacks.

  • The researchers noted that cannabinoids have not yet proven to be successful in halting neurodegeneration; possibly due to administration and dosage uncertainties.
  • Thus far, however, there has only been one study examining how cannabinoids may affect this process – and the results were problematic.
  • That is yet another reason that most cannabis research has involved observing patients suffering from extreme, life-threatening conditions such as HIV/AIDS or cancer.
  • Molina,Angela M.
  • The researchers injected one group of mice with THC and compared them with a group not injected with the compound.

Cannabinoids Can Strengthen The Immune System

In 2020, autoimmune disease prevalence in the U. Symptoms of withdrawal may include irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite. It's most commonly prescribed for chemotherapy side effects like nausea, vomiting, or weight loss. CBD that’s sourced from hemp can sometimes be found in places where medical cannabis is still illegal. There is not much research into the effects of secondhand marijuana smoke. Eases pain, stress, insomnia and depression. Enhancing recognition of cancer cells with cannabinoids may greatly improve the efficacy of this drug class.

Short-Term Effects

What are autoimmune diseases? These two cells are primarily responsible for fighting disease. The study also noted that the reported anti-inflammatory effects of cannabis were greatly attenuated when body weight is controlled for and suggests that the inverse cannabis-body weight association might explain the lower levels of circulating inflammatory biomarkers in adult cannabis users. How i strengthen my dog’s immune system and so can you. For a free consultation, call CleanFleet to discuss your drug testing program options at 503-479-6082. There are low levels of CB1 in the brain stem, where cardiac and respiratory functions are regulated; their relative scarcity in this region may explain why, unlike opioids, even heavy doses of cannabinoids do not pose acute threats to the heart or your ability to breathe. The immune system is complex, and medical marijuana contains many ingredients in addition to cannabidiol. This effect of marijuana is due to chemicals in the drug that fire up the body's production of immune system cells called myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

However, not all foreign organisms that enter our bodies are bad. Why are there different opinions on the relationship between cannabis and the immune system? And of course, there is the question of whether consuming cannabis for its anti-inflammatory properties would be of benefit to a healthy individual.

Reports of Deaths Related to Vaping Marijuana The Food and Drug Administration has alerted the public to hundreds of reports of serious lung illnesses associated with vaping, including several deaths. Common consensus is that those with autoimmunity have a genetic predisposition for these types of conditions. The bottom line is that much remains to be discovered about how cannabis affects our immune system. From there, it ends up in the brain and other organs. What is known today is that cannabis has the ability to “modulate” how the immune system functions, but its potential benefits or drawbacks are largely circumstantial. 10 best supplements for the immune system, cold supplements can help cut the cold off at the knees, and reduce symptoms, she says. In typical treatment protocols, patients are not given information about dietary changes and are generally told that pharmaceutical medications are required to get better.


An inflammatory autoimmune bowel condition, Crohn’s disease is characterized by persistent and severe gastrointestinal tract wall or lining inflammation. Apart from the cells that have cannabinoid receptors, the ECS also includes internal compounds that influence these receptors. Marijuana has been suspected of causing immune suppression since the 1970’s. The mice that were treated with CBD in this trial experienced a 50 percent improvement in joint health. Shoenfeld, Medical cannabis: Cannabidiol, one of the primary active ingredients of medical marijuana, is an exogenous (external) cannabinoid that can interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system. SLE is a more severe form of lupus that can affect any part of the body including organs and internal systems. Marijuana smoke produces airway injury, acute and chronic bronchitis, lung inflammation, and decreased pulmonary defenses against infection.

With a disease like influenza, suppression of the immune system by THC or CBD may result in more severe symptoms or a longer duration until recovery. In the medical world, the term “immune health” is incredibly broad, and it can invoke a number of different clinical interpretations. It is now understood that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce various effects. Thereupon, a complex orchestrated immune response is initiated (i. )Some studies suggest that cannabinoids like THC and CBD are immunosuppressant, which can explain the relief experienced by medical cannabis users with autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation. The immune system always produces some T-cells and B-cells that are capable of responding to triggers in the body’s own tissues (self-antigens), but in a well-balanced immune system, these are quickly neutralized or taken out of circulation by other regulatory immune cells. Scientists are currently researching the ways in which anti-inflammatory tools may aid in the treatment of these diseases and others.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

A precise quantity of cannabinoids to be ingested can be advised only if taking into account what’s troubling you personally. In the brain, when the psychoactive component THC links up with CB1, it slows down or blocks the release of a variety of neurotransmitters—signaling molecules released by neurons—including glutamate and dopamine. Visit our extensive site to book your consultation and allow us to help you get started in your therapeutic medical cannabis therapy as soon as possible. Cancer patients have more of these cells than healthy people. Whereas both CBD and THC are natural marijuana-derived chemicals, CBD does not produce the high associated with THC. If you drink or eat pot, it make take many hours for you to fully sober up. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 323, 675-683 (2020). The immune system is a complex network of cells and tissues that act together to identify and remove foreign threats to the body.

1634/theoncologist. It links THC to higher production of CD4 and CD8 cells in monkeys. Receiving an official diagnosis can be stressful and frustrating.

  • While there are promising reports of the therapeutic benefits of cannabis as a treatment for diverse autoimmune disorders, more large-scale clinical research in humans is needed to understand better how cannabinoids affect autoimmunity.
  • This period in the mouse lifecycle corresponded to the adolescence period in humans (approximately ages 12-18).
  • A 2020 study, for example, tested 77 heavy smokers for days after abstaining from smoking pot.

What is Lupus?

However, a few studies conducted without federal backing show promising results when it comes to marijuana and your immune system. (27 2020) -- Marijuana may alter immune function in people -- but the jury is still out on whether it hurts or helps the body's ability to fight infection or other diseases, report researchers at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and the UCLA School of Medicine in Los Angeles. Nobody knows the exact cause of autoimmune diseases. But marijuana is not without side effects. Fertility issues. Klein TW1, Lane B, Newton CA, Friedman H. Since this was almost a full decade before the recent wave of medical marijuana laws passed throughout the United States, one can only imagine that AIDS and HIV patients are using cannabis at an even higher rate in 2020 simply due to increased legal access and less negative stigma of the plant from their medical providers.

In conclusion, it seems that the potential dangers presented by the medical use of marijuana may actually contribute to the dangers of the diseases which it would be used to combat. With the immune system unarmed, cancer cells grow uncontrollably. Changing laws concerning the use of medical cannabis may see greater numbers of studies, including clinical trials on humans, in the near future. The result of this research strategy is that a good deal is known about the pharmacology of THC, but experimental confirmation that the pharmacology of a marijuana cigarette is indeed entirely or mainly determined by the amount of THC it contains remains to be completed.

PLOS Blogs

Although the immunomodulatory effects of the ECS have not been fully elucidated, here’s what we do know. It mistakes different body parts such as your skin or joints as being “foreign” and releases proteins called autoantibodies to attack the healthy cells — thinking they’re outsiders. These days, employers often test for drug use as part of the hiring process. However, extensive studies in test-tubes and in animals have reported the anti-inflammatory benefits of cannabinoids for specific AI conditions like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The group of mice treated with THC in adolescence had severe alterations of immune responses in adulthood, characterized by a clear switch toward a pro-inflammatory and cytotoxic phenotype. On top of these factors, the HIV/AIDS patients that used marijuana were consistently healthier than the patients who didn’t.

They are meant to be taken on the short term. 3 vitamins that are best for boosting your immunity – health essentials from cleveland clinic. Your doctor will also need to regularly monitor things like your: CBD has potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory qualities.

As a result, the body is unable to fight off infection. When you drink a lot of alcohol, it has many negative effects on your digestive system. However, many alternative medical professionals feel that autoimmune conditions may be reversed or greatly resolved. Cancer essentially involves diseased cells not responding to the call to self-destruct. “Does cannabis affect the immune system?

More Publications

Until recently, the only approved anticancer weapons have been treatments like chemotherapy, which destroy not just the cancer cells, but also fast-growing, healthy cells. The body’s endocannabinoid system is known to play a role in regulating the immune system and its overall function. Chicago tribune, taipale T, Pienihakkinen K, Isolauri E, Larsen C, Brockmann E, Alanen P, et al. There is, however, a synthetic form of the psychoactive chemical, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), marketed as Marinol®, which is used to help reduce nausea following chemotherapy, and as an appetite stimulant for those experiencing severe weight loss, such as AIDS and cancer patients. Extensive research has been performed on the anti-inflammatory properties of THC, CBD, and other cannabis components. Thank goodness we have an immune system: For example, evidence from numerous studies demonstrates beneficial effects of cannabinoids on animal models of stroke, head injury, cerebral ischemia, as well as beta-amyloid induced tau protein phosphorylation (tauopathy). As of 2020, 29 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana to some extent.

It often can leave you anxious, afraid, or panicked. It damages the material surrounding and protecting your nerve cells called the myelin sheath. Changes also take place in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, brain areas that play roles in movement and balance. About 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases that cause abnormal over-activation, or under-activation, of the immune system. Where possible consult with your medical practitioner. The chemical may disrupt cancer cell growth as it binds to CB2 receptors, which are much more abundant on cancer cells than on healthy ones. For more on this topic, please see Donald P. You may choose the strain that perks you up and helps with fatigue if you have depression, for example.

Marijuana laws can be confusing. Spanish researchers conducted several surveys of 56 patients, 28 of whom smoked or consumed cannabis regularly. Here’s what can happen when you use marijuana: And, this suppressive action of THC and CBD on the immune system is not unique to these chemicals. 15 foods that boost the immune system, maintain a healthy weight. A Systems Biology Analysis.

More On This Topic For:

Read on to see how it affects each system in your body. There is little known on the potential lung health effects of inhaling marijuana or products made from it through routes other than smoking. Ultimately, understanding the intricate plasticity of cannabinoid compounds, cannabinoid receptors, and the enzymes that synthesize, hydrolyze, and metabolize them, and the complex cross-talk that exists with other organ systems in the body, will undoubtedly rewrite medical textbooks worldwide. Most of the time Legionella infects those whose immune systems are weakened by old age or illness, but sometimes, if the person has a history of marijuana use, Legionella can also infect the young and healthy. These differences remained after controlling for potential confounding variables, such as estimated levels of premorbid cognitive functioning, and for use of alcohol and other substances in the two groups. Remedies stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain and inflammation.

Physiological effects of marijuana include an alteration of heart rate. The fact that researchers have seen effects repeated across a wide range of studies shows the cannabis has a measureable effect that can be repeated, the study said. For now, we know that most research shows that marijuana has no effect, or has a positive effect, on immune system cells. Studies have found that anandamide (AEA), a natural cannabinoid produced in the human intestine, interacts with CB receptors to suppress immune cell activity in the digestive tract and allow friendly gut bacteria to thrive. Some common types of autoimmune diseases include: Smoke is harmful to lung health.

Another potential mechanism can be through the effect of cannabinoids on stem cells. In cases of under-activation, the immune system experiences difficulty in fighting off infections. Unlike the instances of suppressing our organism’s defenses, there are cases where cannabinoids can do the exact opposite—strengthen our immune system. The triangle of autoimmune triggers. It stands to reason that the anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis can be useful to treat these and other health conditions where the immune system plays a critical role.

Bottom Line

Other autoimmune diseases can attack your entire body — like lupus. HelloMD can help you get your medical marijuana recommendation; it's 100% online, private and efficient. Today's Dietitian. However, suppositories (both rectal and vaginal) can also be used to treat menstrual cramps, insomnia, pain and anxiety. Few people know, in fact, that the U. Decreasing inflammation when it is needed can potentially worsen infection or injury. Studies suggest chemicals called phytocannabinoids could stop cancer cells multiplying and spreading, block the blood supply to tumours, and reduce cancer's ability to survive chemotherapy. LeCapitaine, Jovanny Zabaleta, Mahesh Mohan, Peter J.