Inflammation & Medical Marijuana

Inflammation is a body repair and protection process that results from insults of disease or injury. 

Dead or damaged cells and foreign antagonists, bacteria and toxins are attacked or consumed to clear the way for new cell growth that repairs the traumatized body part.  Inflammation results in pain, heat, redness, swelling, and impaired function. Inflammation has a genetic component; cells, neutrophil, macrophage, monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil create individually "unique" responses to pathogens and foreign threats.

Without an appropriate inflammatory response, bacteria or other microbes and damaged cells are not catabolized (eaten) properly, resulting in serious conditions such as cancer or uncontrolled bacterial infection.  When the detection system of inflammatory cells is defective, non-pathogenic molecules, such as proteins, and the body's own cells become targets for attack, as seen in  hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and cancer.

Cannabis and Inflammation

Cannabinoids, components of Medical Marijuana have been found to be effective in suppressing inappropriate immune and inflammatory responses.   Cannabinoids have been shown in research studies and preclinical trials to reduce inflammation in multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, hepatitis, and other conditions.  

Cannabis contains at least 480 different molecules that offer potential medicinal benefit.  Only three of these molecules are psychoactive.  Cannabinoids, terpenes and other molecules are now known to affect brain and body receptors, CB1 and CB2, that are intimately involved in immune and inflammatory processes.  Cannabis works by reducing receptor activity cells signals that instruct an inflammatory response. 

Non-psychoactive Components of Medical Marijuana - A BIG DEAL

Recently, it was discovered that an abundant essential oil of Cannabis, beta-carophyllene, reduces the activity of pro-inflammatory receptor CB2.  In lab animal tests, Dr Gertsch found that mice suffering from inflammation of their paws responded well to essential Cannabis oil, beta-carophyllene.


 “Due to the various effects of Cannabis, we had suspected for quite some time that other substances could come into play besides the psychoactive ones.  However, astonishingly we didn’t know what substances these were until now.”

--  Jürg Gertsch, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zurich.

Further Reading - Cannabis and Inflammation

Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress

"This review findings suggests that cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders of the immune system and inflammation."

Cannabidiol reduces intestinal inflammation through the control of neuroimmune axis

"Results indicate that CBD offers a new therapeutic strategy to treat inflammatory bowel diseases."

Cannabinoids in clinical practice

"Cannabis has a potential for clinical use. The most important natural Cannabinoid is the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (delta9-THC); others include cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG)."

"Cannabidiol (CBD), a non psychoactive Marijuana constituent, was recently shown as an oral antihyperalgesic compound in a rat model of acute inflammation."

"The nontoxic and nonpsychoactive compound CBD, may represent an useful pharmacological alternative in the treatment of the disease-associated chronic pain."

The endocannabinoid system: an emerging key player in inflammation

"The endocannabinoid system (ECS) in relation to its roles in inflammation"

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