How CBD can affect chronic inflammation

Causes of Inflammation

Inflammation is a reaction to trauma or an immune event in your body, which triggers an immune response. Inflammation comes in two distinct forms: acute and chronic. Acute is the kind that you probably know about, like when you bump your elbow or when you get a scratch or a cut and it gets swollen. That’s simple cytokine activity triggering immune cells to fight a given trauma. 

Then we have chronic inflammation. It’s the inflammation that’s occurring in our body all the time. This happens when our cells become sick and our body triggers an immune response, which then escalates into a feedback loop where the immune system responds, even more, yielding to chronic inflammation. 

When we talk about anti-inflammatory processes in the body, we think about something known as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory such as aspirin, or ibuprofen. Yes, those do combat inflammation. Here’s how they actually work. They act upon something known as the cyclooxygenase enzymes, COX1, and COX2 for short. 

Cyclooxygenase enzymes are a way to actually slow down inflammation by inhibiting them. The problem is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories are hard on the gut. This is because they stop the production of both COX1 and COX2. One of those cyclooxygenase enzymes we need to protect our gut. A low amount of inflammation in the gut is actually normal for the healthy functioning of your digestive system.

The Endocannabinoid system to the rescue

Now let’s talk more about how CBD directly affects inflammatory responses within the body. Every mammal has a network of receptors called endocannabinoids. They’re endogenous cannabinoids. A lot of times, when we think of cannabinoids, we think of only something that’s coming from cannabis, something that’s illegal, or something that really is an exogenous thing coming in. 

The reality is, we have endogenous cannabinoids. They’re called endocannabinoids and they have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. They are a very natural occurrence of fatty acid metabolism.

This endocannabinoid system is a naturally occurring member of what is called the eicosanoid families. If you’ve ever bought a fish oil pill or any kind of omega 3, you’ve seen eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, on the label, an anti-inflammatory fat that modulates inflammation and helps with a variety of other internal functioning.

How fatty acids play a role

These endocannabinoids are naturally occurring members of that superfamily. In this particular case, endocannabinoids are derived from long-chain fatty acids. When they’re actually needed, they’re released by the neurons. The neurons actually see some inflammation or they see something, they’re going to release more of these to modulate it.

What are Cytokines?

Let’s take it a little bit further to understand how this works. Cytokines are small signaling proteins that are a vital component of a healthy immune system. Cytokines will instruct specific immune cells to reduce inflammation. CBD actually modulates the cytokine production. CBD works by reducing the inflammation in overactive immune cells. 

CBD regulates cytokine activity 

What CBD does is reduces cytokine activity of these helper T cells so they are not activated in a negative way. This is extremely important because overactive T cells will run wild and attack the wrong kind of cells thus leading to increased inflammation. You can see how this can lead to a massive amount of joint pain, brain fog, and digestive discomfort.

Anandamide is a naturally occurring cannabinoid and CBD oil helps to produce more of it. CBD also reduces the cytokine activity that would normally inhibit it. We’re talking about the cytokine activity associated with Tumor necrosis factor 1 alpha, TNF1-a, very common in the world of inflammation. The body’s ability to fight off the production of anandamide can happen by reducing TNF1-a. All this means is by reducing the cytokine activity of these two things, we are allowing endocannabinoids to do their jobs better.

Anandamide is very much responsible for creating bliss within the body, reducing inflammation in the joints, but also reducing inflammation in the brain. It truly is known as the bliss product of the body, because that’s the sensation that best describes what anandamide does. How exactly does anandamide do that? Well, it’s because it holds the key to be able to turn off nuclear factor kappa B, or at least greatly reduce it. 

Nuclear Factor Kappa B

Nuclear factor-kappa B is a widely researched inflammatory substance within the body. Kappa B is essentially the main control mechanism of inflammation. So by reducing the amount of Kappa B in our system we will be able to directly reduce the amount of inflammation. So really anandamide is one of the keys to actually getting rid of this problem where our bodies are getting so accustomed to inflammation that we’re just adapting to become these inflamed creatures.


All CBD oils interact with our body’s own endocannabinoid system. It’s important that you know that at the end of the day, CBD oil is a solid way to modulate and reduce inflammation in the body without acting about the cyclooxygenase enzymes that are going to destroy your gut and lead to a lot of other damaging things in your life. Always consult with your doctor before starting any CBD health regimen as CBD oil may interact with some existing medications you may be taking.