All information below was taken from the CDC’s report on coronavirus.
Am I at risk for getting the coronavirus?
The CDC reports that serious illness is occuring in 16% of coronavirus cases. These cases tend to be older people or those with underlying health conditions (i.e., immune deficiencies). As of March 5th 2020, the virus is not spreading widely and most people in the United States have little immediate risk of exposure.
What about “pandemic” talk?
There are three criteria for a new illness to be considered a “pandemic”; currently, coronavirus only fulfills two. Coronavirus causes illness resulting in death and it has been sustained via spreading from person-to-person, but it is not yet worldwide. Based on how fast it is spreading from country to country, many are assuming that it is just a matter of time.
The REAL coronavirus risk:
While the immediate health risks are low at this time, if the transmission increases, what we need to consider is this: what happens when mass amounts of people are in need of medical care simultaneously? This is a virus with no vaccine or antibiotics. Overloaded hospitals with overwhelmed healthcare workers inside an inundated healthcare system are the results, and by extension, patients are less likely to receive proper treatment, if treatment is available to them at all. The CDC reports “Other critical infrastructure, such as law enforcement, emergency medical services, and transportation industry may also be affected.”
Can CBD keep me from getting coronavirus?
There is no medicine that will keep you from getting coronavirus, but CBD can strengthen your immune system and decrease your chances of serious illness, especially if you are older or have immune deficiencies. The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is one of the most basic systems of the body and it is involved in nearly every process of the body, yet it was only discovered in the 90’s! The receptors of the ECS are the CB receptors,the most abundant receptors of the body. CBD works with the CB2 receptors—these are specifically the receptors of the immune system!
Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Basics:
Think of it like this: the immune system is a fire burning—when the immune system is dealing with stress on the body/mind due to the constant stress of modern life, the fire burns for much too long, and the immune system runs out of its fuel. Endocannabinoids fan the fire of the immune system, reducing the heat, and restoring homeostasis. This is very useful for those dealing with ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune issues, as well as those with neurological concerns. Endocannabinoid signalling across the synapses is extremely critical for long term human health and for retaining the effectiveness of the immune system.
Using the ECS to bolster the immune system:
By modulating host resistance to materials in the body, endocannabinoids bolster the immune system and regulate immune responses via the CB2 receptors. CB2 receptors were discovered in 1993 and have been identified as the critical regulators of immune homeostasis. These receptors are found throughout the organs and within the immune system’s white blood cells. CB2 receptor activation is also crucial for the activation of the microglia in the brain. The microglia are the cells that mediate immune responses in the central nervous system by cleaning cellular debris and dead neurons from the nervous tissues through the process of phagocytosis (cell eating). CBD works to stop the enzymes that degrade the endocannabinoids that activate the CB2 receptors specifically.
The immune system, the gut, and CBD:
80% of the immune system is located in the gut. CB receptors, mostly CB2 specifically, are present throughout the GI tract, and the synthesizing and degrading of cannabinoids is essential for nearly every part of gastric function. Additionally, an important part of immune function that the ECS takes responsibility for (in the gut) is increasing the amount of beneficial microbes, while at the same time, inhibiting undesired strains of gut microbes. The gut microbiota are the tens of trillions of microorganisms living in the gut. This is the new superstar of medical research and for good reason—a plethora of research has indicated that a disrupted gut microbiome is not only responsible for problems of the gut, but also for disruptions in brain functioning and mental health as well.
What does balancing the immune system mean?
Immune Overreaction = Autoimmune problems
Immune Underreaction = Illness
Immune Overreaction = Allergic Reaction
Immune Underreaction = Infection
BALANCED IMMUNE SYSTEM = OPTIMAL EFFECTIVENESS
In replenishing the Endocannabinoid System, there is no simple answer for what it will do for the individual. The ECS is involved in basically all the processes of the body. Physically, the ECS calms inflammation. Mentally, the ECS suppresses the HPA pathway (our main stress response system) via distinct action within the prefrontal cortex, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. Some people experience the healing/fueling of the ECS in the form of less pain, less stress, less inflammation, better digestion, or a better immune system. It all depends on what your specific body needs—once the system has fuel, it knows what to do.
An Article By Evie Louise
Evie Louise is a recent psychology graduate from New York University. She is a certified in International Cannabinoid Clinical Therapy. Evie sees all forms of the cannabis sativa plant as the future of psychiatry, and hopes to use it in her therapy practice as a full spectrum approach to mental health and wellness.