The nation’s attitude towards medical cannabis has changed a great deal in the past couple of decades. Even very conservative regions of the country are starting to realize that there are many beneficial uses for this plant. And with good reason: the list of medical issues that can be treated one way or another with medical marijuana just seems to be growing. One area of treatment that has recently been the subject of study is in using medical cannabis to treat inflammation.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural part of your body’s defense system. When areas of your body become damaged, or when outside pathogens invade your body, your immune system reacts by flooding the area with white blood cells and other important substances that work to actively protect the endangered area. The build-up of these substances causes the affected area to swell as it fills up.
This is all well and good and vital for a healthy body, but unfortunately, there are certain medical disorders that cause this inflammatory response to go haywire, resulting in inflammation that must be treated before it actually begins to cause pain, discomfort and damage to the body it’s supposed to be protecting. These disorders include rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, fibromyalgia, and psoriasis. In disorders like these, the immune system is unable to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy tissue and begins to attack normal cells.
How Can Medical Cannabis Help?
Recent studies have shown that medical cannabis can be effective against inflammation. This is thought to be due to the fact that two of the most important chemicals in cannabis — THC and CBD — work to impact the endocannabinoid system in the body (a system which, among other things, works to regulate the immune system). These chemicals work to suppress the inflammatory response, alleviating symptoms and causing relief. They do this by interacting with the two main types of cannabinoid receptors. When these chemicals, especially CBD, come into contact with these receptors, they can trigger an anti-inflammatory response, which then helps to provide relief for any current inflammation responses and prevent future ones as well.
In real terms, medical cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammation, pain, and swelling in joints, and further testing is underway to see how else it might help people suffering from these disorders
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