DEC 27, 2023 7:00 AM PST

How Cannabis Reduces Inflammation

WRITTEN BY: Helaine Krysik

In recent years, cannabis has become known for reducing inflammation. By interacting with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is a complex system of receptors and enzymes found throughout the body, cannabis works to relieve swelling. The ECS plays a role in regulating a variety of functions, including inflammation, pain, mood, and appetite.

Cannabinoids, the major compounds found in cannabis, bind to the ECS receptors, causing a variety of effects that result in the reduction of inflammation:

  • Inhibiting the production of inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins that are released by cells during inflammation. Inflammatory cytokines bind immune cells to the site of inflammation, in turn promoting swelling. Cannabis helps to inhibit the production of these cytokines, which can help to reduce inflammation.
  • Reducing the activity of inflammatory enzymes, as there are many involved in the process of inflammation. Cannabis can reduce the activity of these enzymes, in turn helping to reduce inflammation.
  • Promoting the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, as there are many with anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabis can promote the production of these cytokines, helping to reduce inflammation.
  • Increasing blood flow to the inflamed area, which can help to bring nutrients and immune cells to the site of inflammation and to remove waste products.
  • Protecting cells from damage, helping to prevent the progression of inflammation and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

There is increasing evidence to suggest that cannabis can be a safe and effective treatment for inflammation – and not just from THC. Non intoxicating CBD has been shown in studies to be just as effective at reducing inflammation as THC. This is great news for potential users who want to benefit from the medicinal effects of cannabis without intoxication.

However, it is important that individuals talk to their healthcare provider prior to using cannabis to treat inflammation, as cannabis can have different effects on different people.


Sources: National Library of Medicine, Chicago Tribune, Science Daily

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Helaine is a cannabis industry writer and marketing consultant. She has been active in the Illinois cannabis industry since 2020, and writes for a variety of national publications.
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