Can CBD Boost Your Immune System?\nFrom stubborn colds to the latest Covid-19 variant, there’s plenty to be worried about as we head through the winter months. If you’re looking for a way to boost your immune system and give it the support it needs to function correctly, we may have a few suggestions,\nWhile CBD might not be able to cure or treat any illness, it can be excellent for supporting you on your path to wellness. When used alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, CBD might offer some benefits, including supporting your immune system. \nBut does CBD actually boost the immune system? Or is the interaction a lot more complicated? Whether or not CBD can support the immune system is still up for discussion.\nThis guide will explore some of the key issues surrounding CBD and immune response so that you can make an informed decision about whether you would like to add this to your daily routine.\nIntroduction to CBD\nCBD is extracted from the cannabis or hemp plant. It is one of around 80 active cannabinoids which are capable of interacting with the human endocannabinoid system. Another famous cannabinoid is THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis.\nUnlike THC, CBD does not get you high. Instead, it helps to support the endocannabinoid system. There are a few theories about how it achieves this, but one suggests that it supports the endocannabinoid system by suppressing the release of an enzyme that breaks down endocannabinoids.\nBy suppressing this action, the body can utilise the endocannabinoids for longer. It is also thought that some people may have a deficient endocannabinoid system. This theory could explain why some individuals have a positive response to CBD products and others don’t notice any change.\nThe endocannabinoid system and immune system\nThe endocannabinoid system is a complex system of receptors, neurotransmitters and enzymes found throughout the body. Receptors have been identified in the central and peripheral nervous systems, in the skin, and many organs.\nWe don’t fully understand how the ECS works, but it is thought to assist with sending messages between cells. This form of cell communication helps to maintain balance in the body. Maintaining a state of homeostasis is essential for a healthy functioning body. Conditions like diabetes and heart disease are caused by homeostatic imbalances.\nEndocannabinoids are thought to be used in the immune system to help moderate immune responses.\n\nHow does the immune system work?\nThe immune system is made up of multiple lines of defence. When the body detects threats such as bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins, the immune system gets to work identifying and destroying them.\nThere are two parts to the immune system: \n\nThe innate immune system, which you are born with.\nThe adaptive immune system, which is developed as your body learns to identify threats.\n\nCells for your immune system are made throughout the body, including in the bone marrow, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils and lymphatic vessels. The first line of defence is your skin and other specialised linings in your lungs, bladder and digestive system.\nIf a threat is detected, white blood cells called phagocytes are sent to eat the invaders. This waste is then removed from the body via the lymphatic system. Certain conditions can lead to an underactive immune system, including HIV and AIDS. Stress, diet, sleep, smoking and alcohol consumption can also influence how well your immune system can perform.\nIs CBD good for the immune system?\nResearch suggests that CBD might actually be an immunosuppressant. This means that it suppresses the immune system rather than boosting it. For those living with autoimmune disorders, this can be good news, as an overactive immune system is often the cause of their symptoms.\nHowever, CBD could help to support the immune system in other ways. We know that sleep is essential to immune system function, and CBD is commonly used as a way to get a better night’s sleep. CBD also contains other beneficial compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids which may prove helpful for supporting the immune system.\nIn general, healthy people shouldn’t need to worry about triggering or boosting their immune systems. Instead, they should focus on taking steps to ensure their immune system can function as efficiently as possible. \n \n\nCan CBD help fight infections?\nMore research is needed to understand how CBD might help the body fight infections. Some lab testing has found that CBD might offer some antimicrobial benefits, but more research is needed to confirm this.\nAny retailer offering CBD as an alternative to antibiotics should be approached with caution. Since CBD is not a licensed medicine, it is not possible to make medical claims about the product.\nCBD should be considered as a supplement that will help to support wellness, rather than a medicine intended to treat or cure any specific condition.\nWhat is the best way to boost immunity in winter?\nIf you’re looking for simple ways to support your immune system in the winter, there are a few extra steps you can take.\n\n\nPrioritise sleep. Your body needs sleep to function, and many of us aren’t getting enough of it. Sleep is essential for fighting infections and removing waste from the body.\n\n\nTake your vitamins. Some vitamins are essential for immune system function. Vitamin C, D and E are recommended year-round to help support your immune system. If you aren’t sure if you are getting enough vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin may help you.\n\n\nEat a healthy diet. Your body needs high quality fuel to be able to perform correctly. In the winter, prioritise fresh fruits and vegetables with whole grains and lean protein sources. Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, oily fish and nuts are also recommended.\n\n\nManage stress. When we are stressed, we’re more likely to lose sleep and eat poorly. When we are stressed, the body releases the stress hormone corticosteroid, which suppresses immune responses.\n\n\nWash your hands. One of the simplest ways to help stop the spread of infection is to regularly wash your hands while you are out and about. You should also wash your hands while you are preparing meals and before you eat.\n\n\nIf you’re ready to explore CBD as a way to support a healthy lifestyle, explore our selection of CBD oils, edibles and balms. Need help choosing or want more information? Head to our ABC of Ailments to learn more.