Why is Anti-Inflammation Important

Cuts, scrapes, burns, sunburns, twisted ankles, sore throats, insect bites – almost anytime we hurt ourselves inflammation occurs. Without inflammation, our wounds would never heal and would get infected.

So why has there been such an emphasis placed on anti-inflammation? And why should you choose CBD for it?

What is inflammation?

First, let’s understand what inflammation is and why it’s so important.

Inflammation is a natural, localized response to injury and an essential survival mechanism. When an injury occurs, like any of the ones listed above, white blood cells rush to the scene. They release chemicals into the blood that repair damaged tissues and fight off harmful microbes.

Increased blood flow is what makes it red, warm, and, well, inflamed. Everything gets worse before it gets better. Inflammation hurts because the chemicals from white blood cells stimulate nerves, which causes pain.

mosquito

A mosquito bite will result in inflammation.

There are two types of inflammation – acute and chronic.

Acute inflammation has a quick onset and short duration, dissipating in a few hours or days.

Chronic inflammation is where the problems come in. Sometimes, inflammation stays active even after the initial threat is gone. At this point, white blood cells start attacking healthy tissues and organs.

Chronic inflammation has been revealed to play a central role in rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

So what puts you at risk for developing chronic inflammation? Lifestyle choices, diet, and family history are known to play a role. Lifestyle choices can contribute to the over-expression of pro-inflammatory genes, like repeated consumption of unhealthy foods.

french fries

French fries can contribute to inflammation.

Several foods are known to cause inflammation and have been linked to cancer and other diseases:

  • Refined carbohydrates, like white bread, white rice, and pasta
  • Fried foods – due to artificial trans fats (hydrogenated vegetable oil)
  • Red meat and processed meat. Processed meat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer, and especially colon cancer.
  • Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Fructose has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, and heart disease.
  • Excessive alcohol
  • Vegetable and seed oils, especially soybean oil.

When most people experience inflammation and pain, they’ll take an Advil or ibuprofen. But, like most prescription medications, they don’t come without adverse side effects.

Side Effects of NSAIDs

Advil, ibuprofen, and countless others are classified as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are prescribed for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. In 2008, NSAIDs were the most widely prescribed medication for all age groups, and their numbers haven’t decreased. About 60 million prescriptions are written every year.

NSAIDs work by inhibiting prostaglandins – the lipid compounds in tissues – that are produced by two key enzymes, COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 protects the stomach lining and aids in kidney function while COX-2 facilitates inflammation response. This is why the most common side effects are stomach irritation.

advil

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil can have side effects

This can come in the form of heartburn, gas, constipation, bleeding, ulcers, nausea, or vomiting. Other reported side effects include headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and a tendency to bleed more.

It’s not recommended to take NSAIDs if you’re on other blood-thinning medications. Furthermore, the report from 2008 found their use around the time of conception had an associated risk for miscarriages.

Long term side effects from continued and frequent use include peptic ulcers, renal failure, stroke, and heart disease. Gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases are also a risk as NSAIDs can increase blood pressure. They also cannot be taken together, as one will prevent the other from working properly.

By inhibiting prostaglandins and the COX enzymes, which allow for the homeostasis of normal organ function, NSAIDs prevent natural maintenance from occurring and, unsurprisingly, results in side effects that can become serious over time.

CBD as an Anti-Inflammatory Alternative

If you’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again – CBD’s claim to fame is its alleged, yet powerful, anti-inflammatory properties. But how exactly does CBD treat inflammation?

Full disclosure, we’re not entirely sure yet.

cbd dropper

CBD oil has the potential to be a powerful anti-inflammatory

We know it has something to do with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is involved in important physiological functions between the central, peripheral, endocrine, and immune systems. A review from 2018 notes the ECS’ integral role:

“The endocannabinoid system’s contribution to the regulation of such a variety of processes makes phytocannabinoid pharmacological modulation a promising therapeutic strategy for many medical fields, including the studies of analgesic, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity”

Cannabinoids (or phytocannabinoids) interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the ECS. CB1 receptors are mostly in the brain, but also in the gastrointestinal tract, spinal cord, adrenal and thyroid glands, reproductive organs, and immune cells. CB2 receptors are largely in the immune cells and nervous tissues.

Unlike THC, which binds to both receptors, CBD binds to them indirectly. You can read more about that here.

Liquefy Massage Oil

Since CBD binds indirectly, we can’t be sure how exactly it curbs inflammation, but scientists have some working theories:

  1. CBD inhibits the enzyme Fatty Acid Amide Hydrolase that is responsible for breaking down and recycling endocannabinoids, allowing them to help modulate inflammation.
  2. CBD activates the TRPV1 receptor that is involved in regulating body temperature, pain, and inflammation
  3. CBD, like coffee, enhances adenosine, a neurotransmitter that has its own anti-inflammatory effects. You can read more about that here.
  4. CBD increases glycine receptors, which play a major role in the central nervous system for pain perception. This likely reduces inflammation and chronic pain.

Regardless of how it works, there’s a hefty amount of anecdotal evidence out there that supports CBD’s anti-inflammatory abilities. But before you decide to chuck out your ibuprofens, there are some mild side effects that have been reported. You should also note that CBD can interfere with prescription medications the same way grapefruits do, so make sure you check before you try.

And since the quality and purity of CBD aren’t regulated you’ll want to be careful with which products you buy. Luckily, you’re in the right place. Each Liquefy tincture and topical comes with a batch number you can use to find the third-party test results for heavy metals, pesticides, and microbes.

Final Thoughts

fruit

The purpose of using CBD for inflammation is to adopt a healthier, plant-based lifestyle. We believe that nature has provided us with answers to our problems. So, if we’ve made you uneasy about your over the counter medications, there’s always a simpler alternative. Food. Here’s a list of several foods beneficial for inflammation:

  • Olive Oil
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Green Tea
  • Turmeric
  • Coffee (unsweetened)
  • Nuts, like almonds and walnuts
  • Fatty Fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna
  • Tomatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Avocado
  • Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Fruits, especially strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, apples, and grapes

By Willow Groskreutz

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