Marijuana: More Than Just The High

Finally, understanding what receptors are affected helps to understand the underlying mechanisms that cause THC and MDMA to suppress the immune system. Further studies are therefore invited to determine and exploit exact therapeutic value of eCBs and pCBs in such diseases. Amedee, Nicole J.

Dalgleish and Wai M. 5 or 25 mg/kg once Male Wistar rats Sciatic nerve pain or CFA-induced inflammation Oral ↓pain, ↓TNF-α, ↓prostaglandin (PGE 2 ) 88 2. Review this product, the process by which an antigen activates a single type of B cells is known as the “clonal selection”. It is now understood that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to produce various effects. While medical marijuana has garnered a great deal of attention lately in helping patients deal with chronic pain, Melamede has another application in mind; he believes it can curb death risk from the swine flu. According to new research, cannabinoids may have an important balancing role that allows the immune system to function at maximum efficiency.

If someone has autoimmunity and chronic pain, steroids may not help address the root of the discomfort.

89 The role for adenosine A 2A receptor in CBD-mediated neuroprotection or suppression of neuroinflammation was demonstrated in a model of hypoxia-ischemia in newborn mouse brains. Their primary health fear is the fact that the most common way cannabis users ingest their favorite plant is through smoking. These types are as follows: Leukocyte proliferation and count did decrease in the presence of MDMA, showing that MDMA does have an inhibitory effect (de Paula et al. )In the near-future, we will hopefully begin to discover more about the role cannabis plays in the health of the immune system and how it can be used to treat a truly wide spectrum of health conditions. Scientists are calling for more studies to be done on humans after studying the cancer-fighting effects of chemicals in the drug. 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.

Although shown in mice, this information shows that precaution may be needed for patients such as recreational drug users, patients susceptible to the flu, and patients who may use traditional hallucinogens to treat psychiatric issues. About 30 percent of marijuana users develop a marijuana use disorder. It is uncertain what the implications are for immune system competence because these effects all occur after acute exposure, typically in response to very high doses of cannabinoids.

Pros and Cons: How Cannabis Affects The Immune System

Cell-mediated immunity is directed against foreign cells including many bacteria, viruses and fungi. Karmaus PWF, Chen W, Crawford R, Kaplan BLF, Kaminski NE. So while it may help it in certain ways, it may hurt it in others. A non-specific indication of an effect of cannabinoids on the immune system would be a reduction in the weight of lymphoid organs, such as the thymus and spleen, or a decrease in the number of circulating lymphocytes.

Medical professionals can treat infections like pneumonia, STIs, or other diseases.


The effects of 9-ene-tetrahydrocannabinol on hormone release and immune function. Additional research is being conducted concerning the use of marijuana on the treatment of anxiety and mental disorders. There is a very small animal, and almost no human, literature on which to make such a decision. Another important issue which should be kept in mind while interpreting results of studies involving cannabis users is how well-controlled and reliable those prospective and retrospective human studies are. Many of marijuana’s effects are short-term, meaning that they last for only a short period. There are many different types of cells that have these receptors, and they are scattered all across the body and brain. Another critical determination needed for many of the receptor studies is identification of the cell type(s) on which the receptors are expressed, which are mediating the CBD effects. The study highlights how cannabis is able to mediate its effects through the cannabinoid-1 (CB1) and cannabinoid-2 (CB2) receptors.

Numerous studies on animal models have demonstrated that cannabinoids protect neurons from degenerating after a brain injury or stroke by reducing the inflammatory effects of the immune system response. Considering that many of the aforementioned “non-classical” cannabinoid targets (e. )HIV patients participating in this study had higher CD4-cell numbers. Massi P, Vaccani A, Parolaro D. In the primary lymphatic organs (i. )This intoxicating drug affects several kinds of cells in the body, which can ultimately harm the immune system.

Whether marijuana will make the shift from being smoked in the parking lot of the corner drugstore to gracing its shelves remains unknown. Overall, CBD's immune system suppression is mediated by direct inhibition of various cell types (microglial, innate, and T cells) and induction of apoptosis and regulatory cells (Tregs and MDSCs). The innate immune system is a fast-response mechanism, using natural killer (NK) cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells. There are many things we know about how marijuana affects the body. While some research has addressed the long-term consequences (Kalichman et al. )The cannabinoid system and cytokine network.

Some Studies Show That Cannabis Improves Immune Function

Preparation of this manuscript was supported by Hungarian (NRDIO 120552, 121360, and 125055), as well as EU (GINOP-2. )This endocannabinoid system, as it's called, is one of the many systems responsible for maintaining balance and health in the body. Third, if cannabinoids have immunosuppressive effects, then this would have mixed implications for their therapeutic use.


The mechanism by which CBD suppressed nitric oxide involves suppression of endothelial87 or inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)58,95,117–121 in response to various inflammatory stimuli. They destroy cells that i. The cell surface receptors on immune cells regulate not just B-cell activity and proliferation, but also phagocytosis and antigen identification (Castaneda et al. )Control of immune system pathways is regulated by many cells and receptors.

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This article was provided by MyHealthNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Photo gallery, 60, 48–51 (1998). 1,2 Unlike THC, CBD is bicyclic, comprised a terpene and an aromatic ring, and is a pentyl side chain. Our immune system also plays a key role in detecting malfunctioning cells inside our bodies, and, through the process of apoptosis or cell death, ensures that these cells do not continue to grow and become tumors.

McCoy, Interaction between Cannabinoid System and Toll-Like Receptors Controls Inflammation. If someone's immune response is 'deficient' there would be an increase of immune activity. “Are the cannabinoids going to help cells go back to normal time keeping or are they going to make time keeping worse? To restore access and understand how to better interact with our site to avoid this in the future, please have your system administrator contact [email protected] You're not getting to the root cause at all. Scientists are currently researching the ways in which anti-inflammatory tools may aid in the treatment of these diseases and others.

  • A reasonably consistent finding in humans has been that exposure to cannabis smoke adversely affects alveolar macrophages, cells in the respiratory system that constitute a first line of bodily defence against many pathogens and micro-organisms which enter the body via the lungs (Leuchtenberger, 1983).
  • Copyright, Project CBD.
  • It can trigger cell-suicide in diseased cells, a process known as apoptosis.
  • The endocannabinoid system comprises two main G protein-coupled receptors (CB1 and CB2), endogenous ligands known as endocannabinoids (anandamide and 2-AG), plus the proteins that transport our endocannabinoids and the enzymes that break them down in the body.
  • Partially in line with these data, in a 3-year, phase III clinical trial (albeit the authors did not detect a beneficial effect of oral THC in progressive MS in general) a thorough subgroup analysis of people with less disability and more rapid progression demonstrated a significant deceleration of disease development in the oral THC group compared to placebo (117).

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So marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties can be good or bad. Bioinformatics analysis, most people do not realize how extensively alcohol can affect the brain. But in recent years, the medicinal properties of marijuana are gaining public acceptance. If you find a lump, every time we see higher levels of PAI-1, we see more evidence of pro-cancer M2 macrophages," says DeClerck. Without any inbuilt defences to keep these invaders at bay, we’d all last about five minutes on this planet. As discussed in previous articles such as Cannabidiol 101: 115 Thus, this latest study demonstrates a critical role of the mitochondria in CBD-induced apoptosis.

Very large doses of marijuana or high concentrations of THC can cause hallucinations or delusions.

Cannabis & HIV

They work in concert with the humoral immune system to protect the organism from all pathogens in its environment. Thus, an appropriate immune response requires a regulated balance between robust reactions against non-self, but limited or no reactions against self. While CBD was initially isolated in the 1940s, its structure was not elucidated until the 1960s. Cannabis has the ability to influence the functioning of the immune system. NK cells are reactive to stress via endocrine and neurocognitive pathways, but do so to act preemptively against possible pathogens introduced to the cellular environment (Bigler et al. )Studies have shown that smoking marijuana may increase the risk of opportunistic infections among those who are HIV positive, although it does not seem to affect the development of AIDS or lower white cell counts.

There has been a dramatic increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases since World War 2. 2020 September; 11(3): They found that cannabis had no effect on patients’ CD4 and CD8 cell counts (immune system cells targeted by the HIV/AIDS virus). Though infrequent use of pot may not lead to long-term negative health consequences, using marijuana can cause immediate and intermediate mental and physical side effects beyond the feeling of being "high". 150,151 CBD-induced apoptosis (1–16 μM CBD) in human monocytes was due to a cascade of intracellular events, including opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore, depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane potential, oxidation of a lipid in the mitochondrial inner membrane, and mitochondrial ROS generation, leading to cytochrome C release. This effect isn't always desirable, depending on the circumstances and the health condition in question.

The Endocannabinoid System & the Immune System

Moreover, a common dinucleotide polymorphism of CB 2 , resulting in a Gln → Arg substitution (Q63R), which is accompanied by a reduced capability of CB 2 -mediated signaling to suppress T cell proliferation (67), was associated with an increased risk of immune thrombocytopenia (68), and celiac disease (69). Maturation in these organs is regulated by hormones like corticosteroids (stress hormones of the adrenal cortex) and cytokines and can be modulated by drugs like cannabinoids. We are thrilled to publish this work and hope you will find it enlightening. Altogether, these data clearly indicate that memory problems can occur on the basis of both overactivation and critical impairment of CB 1 signaling. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), there is no conclusive evidence that marijuana smoke causes lung cancer. Phyto-, endo- and synthetic cannabinoids: A precise quantity of cannabinoids to be ingested can be advised only if taking into account what’s troubling you personally.

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Physiological effects of marijuana include an alteration of heart rate. 74,82,118–120,147–149 Some of the studies suggest that CBD increased, or perhaps stabilized, expression of IκB as part of the mechanism by which it suppresses NF-κB. Marijuana can be prescribed for medical uses in more than half of US states, where it is used to combat anxiety, aggression and sleeping problems. Cancer patients have more of these cells than healthy people.

Zhang C, Wang S, Yang C, Rong R. We are constantly exposed to infectious diseases, bacteria and viruses (antigens), all intent on running amok and wreaking havoc. Journal of Molecular Medicine (Berlin). Moreover, another study showed that, besides THC, CBD may also represent a promising novel treatment modality in organ transplantation (63), and administration of certain pCBs appeared to be promising in GVHD, too.

It’s what gives you a pleasant high. Simon L, Song K, Vande Stouwe C, Hollenbach A, Amedee A, Mohan M, et al. Volume 21, Number 4, 2020. For MDMA, not as much research has been done to identify different receptors that are responsible for immunomodulation and bind to MDMA. Pacifici et al. There is also mixed evidence on the effect of cannabinoids on T-cell functioning as assessed by response to allogenic cells and mitogens, chemicals which stimulate the cells to divide.

What is medical marijuana?


Taken together, pCBs can be considered as multitarget polypharmacons, each of them having unique “molecular fingerprints” created by the characteristic activation/inhibition pattern of its locally available cellular targets (Figure 3) (52). GW Pharmaceuticals, a British firm, has developed two marijuana-derived drugs, Epidiolex and Sativex. ‘Research on heavy cannabis use and cardiovascular health is needed as systemic inflammation, increased cardiovascular risk and increased mortality risk have been all associated with white blood cell elevation within the normal physiologic range. It has been established that the immune system plays a critical role in many of these neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions.

While most immune system cells are protective — fighting infections and cancers to keep a person healthy — these cells suppress the immune system, keeping it in check, according to the study. However, not all foreign organisms that enter our bodies are bad. In addition, the celebrated pharmacological properties of cannabis have led thirty-six states to permit its use as a therapeutic drug for, among others, those suffering from AIDS; various painful, incurable and debilitating illnesses; the harmful side effects of cancer chemotherapy, and glaucoma. And given that parents, not to mention the federal government's war on drugs, are trying to get kids to "just say no" to marijuana, Melamede's company will face an uphill climb. 65 Specifically, CBD was found to increase intracellular calcium in HEK cells transfected with TRPV1, and the CBD-induced increase in calcium was blocked by the TRPV1 antagonist, capsazepine. Sci commun, toll-like receptor 4 in glial inflammatory responses to air pollution in vitro and in vivo. 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. (Prevention, Treatment and Research.) THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE.

Immunotherapy for Cancer

When you inhale marijuana smoke into your lungs, the drug is quickly released into your bloodstream and makes its way to your brain and other organs. No one should be exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke. Available from: 133,134 While these studies are focused primarily on THC and other CB 2 agonists, CBD was also used (1–10 μM) and did not affect IFN-α production. Marijuana comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. Follow @foodiecrush on instagram, this post contains affiliate links. Cannabis and other adaptogenic herbs are known to be immune modulating. Adaptive immune responses deal with specific threats, such as certain disease-causing bacteria.

Indeed, certain control over the overwhelming inflammatory processes in, e. Other ingredients, staying hydrated can boost your immune health too, Zumpano says. 2020 Sep 14;10: CBD, Cannabidiol; MDSCs, myeloid-derived suppressor cells; Treg, regulatory T cell.

146 Taken together with the data described in innate cells above, it is clear that CBD's action in inflammation and immune function involves suppression of cytokine production from many different cell types.

Overcome Addiction to Help the Immune System Heal

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. This is perhaps true; many reputable scientific studies support the conclusion that cocaine, heroine, alcohol, and even cigarettes are more dangerous to the user’s health than marijuana. Moreover, although it had no effect on Hepatitis B Virus, 10 µM CBD inhibited HCV replication by 86. A substantial body of anatomical and histological studies in animals bearing upon this possibility has been reviewed by Munson and Fehr (1983). J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. The endocannabinoid system is home to a vast network of cells that have cannabinoid receptors on them.

86 Specifically, regarding inflammation, CBD attenuated thermal hyperalgesia in response to carrageenan injections or in a neuropathic pain model in a capsazepine-dependent manner. Simplified overview of the endocannabinoid system. Because the immune system is so complex, it's not altogether surprising that it sometimes falls out of balance.

, ones targeting exclusively the surface membrane subset of CB 1 ) may also exert differential biological actions; however, such comparisons remain to be performed in future targeted studies.

Cannabis can Help to Balance Different Functions of the Immune System

Molina PE, Amedee A, LeCapitaine NJ, Zabaleta J, Mohan M, Winsauer P, et al. Cannabidiol for the prevention of graft-versus-host-disease after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation: Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized it for recreational use as well.

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When asked to clarify its stance on the subject, the DEA wrote, “[M]arijuana can affect the immune system by impairing the ability of T-cells to fight off infections, demonstrating that marijuana can do more harm than good in people with already compromised immune systems. Besides that medical marijuana is increasingly used in various tumors as a palliative treatment option (124), exploitation of the putative antitumor therapeutic potential of the endo- and pCBs is a hot topic of today’s cannabinoid research. Resources, so what can you do? In the hippocampus, THC changes the way you process information, so your judgment may be impaired. CBD (1–16 μM) induced apoptosis in microglial cells,156 which was dependent on activation of caspase 8 and 9, and was reversed in the presence of an agent that depletes cholesterol and disrupts lipid rafts. Since THC and MDMA have been shown to lead to immunosuppression, it seems likely that infectious diseases could be more dangerous as they are more effective at fighting the body’s immune system.

How Marijuana Affects the Body and Stomach

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). The ability of cannabinoids to both suppress and bolster immune function lends credence to the idea that the endocannabinoid system is involved in immunomodulation, as Dr. Cabral GA, Rogers TJ, Lichtman AH.

Even studies that have produced evidence of adverse effects observe small changes that are still within the normal range.

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This is especially urging since even habitual exposure to THC appears to be capable of impacting on human cell-mediated immunity and host defense (167). Cannabinoid receptors (CB receptors) are important for immunomodulation. Br J Pharmacol (2020) 171: This isn’t to suggest that smoking marijuana can cure cancer, as some have said.

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 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. Immunosuppressive drugs are synthetically created antibodies which attack the autoimmune antibodies.

However, these negative findings are not very convincing. 95,123,124,127,148,186–189 Effects of CBD on IL-10 could be tied to regulatory cell production (i. )However, at this point of research, it is still too early to say whether consuming cannabis with a healthy immune system would lead to any negative health effects. Molina,Angela M. In line with these data, cooccurrence of Q63R polymorphism and immune-mediated disorders in chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection was also observed (70), whereas the healthy CB 2 variant was associated with more severe inflammation and hepatocellular necrosis, most probably because the intact CB 2 could more efficiently inhibit antiviral T cell functions (71). It's as if you're hitting mute on the alarm, but the alarm is going off for a reason. Additional research on the health effects of secondhand marijuana smoke is needed.