Inflammation is the body’s way of combating stress, toxins, and other threats. Inflammation is a friend to the body and the healing process. Yet, too much of a good thing can turn into a very bad thing. For example, poor lifestyle, an unhealthy diet, and autoimmune disorders can lead to excessive inflammation in the body. With the aging process, it’s fairly common to have a dysregulation in the immune response that leads to chronic inflammation.
“When it’s good, it fights off foreign invaders, heals injuries and mops up
debris. But when it’s bad, inflammation ignites a long list of disorders: arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness, cancer, diabetes and, quite possibly, autism and mental illness.”
-William Synder of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine
How can we prevent chronic inflammation?
Consuming less processed sugar such as high fructose corn syrup, bad carbs such as white bread, or bad fats such as trans fat will lessen the body’s inflammation. Additionally, adding antioxidants into your diet is great because they contain anti-inflammatory properties. Of course exercise is also wonderful for body and brain health – it’s even a natural stimulator of the endocannabinoid system!
Cannabinoids are responsible for activating the CB receptors of the endocannabinoid system, which are distributed throughout the brain and body. These receptors are the basis of the immune system—they calm inflammation. A human being actually has more CB receptors in the body than any other type of receptors. In modern life, we have pollution, inflammatory food, too little sleep, too much worry, too many phone/social
media alerts, and everything has to be done ASAP. Many of us are walking around with too much stress and too few cannabinoids. When we become chronically stressed or have chronic stress on the body, our endocannabinoids can be depleted by constantly calming the HPA axis pathway or constantly calming general inflammation in the body. Therefore, the body, depleted of cannabinoids, cannot activate the CB receptors. As a result, the endocannabinoid system of the entire brain and body can be thrown out of balance. Because the endocannabinoid system is active in nearly every process of the body. Having a deficit in our endocannabinoid system can result in chronic inflammation. CBD is a phytocannabinoid that will help the body resupply the endocannabinoid system so that it can keep the systems of the body working synchronistically and at homeostasis.
Specific Ways Inflammation Strikes
Inflammation of the skin?
Psoriasis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the skin – it is an inflammatory condition that is characterized by the immune system growing skin cells too quickly.
Inflammation can lead to heart attacks or heart disease?
Pretty frightening, as this is the number one cause of death in the United States and Worldwide. Fatty plaque in the arteries can trigger chronic inflammation. This is a big reason as to why losing weight and creating better eating habits reduce inflammation and heart risks. Yet, those with autoimmune disorders have elevated risks for heart disease regardless of their weight or eating habits. Excessive inflammation is not a good thing!
Inflammation due to emotional stress?
Emotional stress triggers the body’s fight or flight response. This being consistently activated will cause raised C-reactive protein levels, a marker of inflammation. Raised C-reactive protein levels is a factor for many chronic health conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, IBD, and lupus.
Inflammation of the brain?
“Depression is a complex illness and we know that it takes more than one biological change to tip someone into an episode,” said Jeffrey Meyer, an MD studying inflammation’s impact on brain health, “But we now believe that inflammation in the brain is one of these changes and that’s an important step forward.” He also claimed that treating depression with anti-inflammatory medication may be one area of future research.
Inflammation and bone health?
Inflammation can increase bone loss because inflammatory markers in the blood interrupt the body’s process by which damaged pieces of bone are replaced with new bones. Additionally, inflammation of the gut prevents the absorption of nutrients that facilitate bone building. Lastly, pain from chronic inflammation can leave people without regular physical activity which causes more inflammation. Plus, certain exercises, such as weight-bearing and resistance exercises, may increase bone density and may be hindered by weak bone health.
Inflammation of the gut?
The body has an abundance of immune cells in the intestines. Usually the immune cells ignore the trillions of gut bacteria, but sometimes the immune cells attack the bacteria causing chronic inflammation in the GI tract. In autoimmune conditions, such as IBD, the immune cells attack the entire digestive tract causing all sorts of unpleasant conditions in the gut. Finally, inflammation of the gut can stop the body from absorbing vital nutrients.
Obesity and losing weight, inflammation’s role?
Obesity is one of the leading causes of excessive inflammation and to make it worse, increased inflammation-related proteins can make losing weight more difficult. They can slow down the metabolism, promote hunger signals, and even increase insulin resistance!
Inflammation in the joints?
Joint inflammation is not only painful, but it’s harmful! Rheumatoid arthritis stiffens joints and it’s reaction reaches farther. RA puts individuals at an elevated risk of developing other conditions.
Inflammation of the lungs?
Inflammation of the lungs causes fluid accumulation and narrows the air pathways. Smoking, air pollution, household chemicals, obesity, and other factors can lead to inflammation of the lungs.
Don’t fear CBD is here!
Seriously, I did not write this to scare you. Inflammation is a common factor in most diseases today and nature gave us the perfect remedy to soothe it. Today, as we step into a new year – let’s not let our physical or mental health be in anyone’s hands but our own. We create our own understanding and values, and with this it’s time to create a new American Psyche based around truth and helping as many people as we can live healthy and happy. Here’s to hemp and here’s to 2021.
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.