"Oh CBD, how swell of you!"

Initially, I attempted to find a statistic that would blow you out of the water for the introduction of this one. But because the issue can affect such a wide area of the body and to such varying extents, it would be like banging my head against a brick wall. Don’t do that! It might cause…

Inflammation is one of your body's responses to fighting against things that cause it harm. Things such as infections, toxins and unfortunately alcohol, yes sorry that does count. I suppose you could put that hand in hand with ‘other injuries’ which also goes on the list, don’t swing from chandeliers guys… All of these are examples of when your body utilises inflammation in an attempt to heal itself. When something damages your cells, your body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system.

When inflammation does occur, chemicals from your body's white blood cells enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection which can cause redness and warmth - almost like a Scoville pillow from Chad Smith’s house. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling. This protective process may trigger nerves thus causing the pain that is associated.

The chemicals that trigger an inflammatory response attract leukocytes to the site of injury or infection. Leukocytes’ (or the white blood cells in question) role is to fight infections and get rid of debris. You could class anything as debris, a splinter for example; maybe even a very heavily trodden on piece of Lego? Leukocytes may respond with either a nonspecific or a specific defence. Higher numbers of white blood cells cause irritation, swelling of the joint lining, and loss of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones) over time. Long term this can lead to the ignition of a long list of disorders: arthritis, asthma, atherosclerosis, blindness, cancer and even diabetes.

In some diseases, specifically that of arthritis, your body's defences or immune system trigger inflammation defence when there are no ‘invaders’ to fight off. In these autoimmune diseases, your immune system acts as if regular tissues are infected or somehow unusual, causing damage to something that isn’t damaged. Ever seen a dog chase its tail?

Well, people as well as our canine friends can go around in circles finding the right and effective treatment for inflammatory diseases. As with a lot of things there isn’t just the one silver bullet. The ammunition box may include anti-inflammatory medications, rest, exercise, and surgery to correct joint damage – all of who’s applicability will be dependent on several factors.  The type of disease, your age, the medications you’re potentially already taking, your overall health, and how severe the symptoms are.

The goals of treatment ultimately are to:

  • Correct, control, or slow down the disease process
  • Avoid or change activities that aggravate pain
  • Ease pain through pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Keep joint movement and muscle strength through physical therapy
  • Lower stress on joints by using braces, splints, or canes as needed

Oxidative stress is viewed as an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and their elimination by protective mechanisms, which can lead to chronic inflammation. In the cases of chronic diseases this is the overuse of Leukocytes. A quote from a study after looking at the increasing evidence “suggests that the endocannabinoid system, which includes the CB1 and CB2 G-protein-coupled receptors and their endogenous lipid ligands, may be an area that is ripe for therapeutic exploitation. In this context, the related non-psychotropic cannabinoid cannabidiol, which may interact with the endocannabinoid system but has actions that are distinct, offers promise as a prototype for anti-inflammatory drug development” (Booz, 2011).

CBD was in fact approved to treat Multiple Sclerosis in November 2018. Importantly, symptoms within this condition, among with others, are that of inflammation, muscle pain and spasticity.

*Applies thinking cap* For context, a process called Demyelination occurs within MS, whereby the body’s immune system attacks Myelin Sheaths as well as the cells that form it. Myelin is an insulating layer that forms around nerves, including those in the brain and spinal cord. This myelin sheath allows electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells. If Myelin is damaged, these impulses slow down, this causes inflammation and injury to the sheath and ultimately to the nerve fibres that it surrounds. The process can result in multiple areas of scarring and the degenerating affect found in MS and other conditions similar.

Furthermore, within a study made in 2012 by some highly intelligent people, of whom I can thank for causing apoptosis of my very own brain, the previously stated begins to make some sense. A subtype of cell called Oligodendrocyte Progenitor Cells are responsible for the creation of Myelin, making them very important, especially in conditions that involve inflammation.  

Here’s what they found; Doses of CBD protect OPCs from oxidative stress by decreasing the production of reactive oxygen species, which in Arthritis and MS there are too many of targeting the incorrect area, causing the inflammation. Not only this, but CBD was shown to protect OPCs from apoptosis too, further protecting the creation of Myelin. Unfortunately, studies are yet to come up with anything for my braincells…

OPC death was attenuated by CBD, suggesting a role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the mode of action of CBD. Endoplasmic reticulum performs a variety of essential cellular functions, including protein synthesis and processing and calcium (Ca2+) storage and release – as well as sounding like something you’d find under the desk of a secondary school’s maths class.

The pro-survival effects of CBD in OPCs were accompanied by decreases in the expression of ER apoptotic effectors. Nice work. These findings suggest that attenuation of the ER stress pathway is involved in the ‘Oligoprotective’ effects of CBD during inflammation (Mecha, 2012). Information such as this suggests that CBD is not only a firefighter but a midwife also - what a catch!

We now know inflammation is triggered by a chronic excess of metabolic factors and neurotransmitters, these stimuli can also elicit ER stress, which further disrupts metabolic functions, thereby causing more stress, thus more inflammation. CBD could protect the stuff, that protects the stuff… It could stop the toilet paper rolling out of the bathroom, down the stairs and straight out of the front door!

Lastly, it goes without saying, that here at the CBD Candle Co. we definitely are not scientists or doctors, the aim of these blogs is purely to create a space where the information online is made all the more accessible.