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does cbd oil help with inflammation

The effects of CBD are made possible primarily through cannabinoid receptors that are activated by the inflammatory response. Cannabinoids from hemp, like CBD, stimulate these same receptors, and in the process it can help modulate pain sensation and inflammation.

Additionally, just like with any supplement, you should always check with your doctor before taking CBD, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or take prescription medications. Side effects are uncommon, but it's best to play it safe when it comes to your health and wellness. (Related: A Definitive List of the Proven Health Benefits of CBD Oil)

Some recent research (although still in its early stages and mostly derived from animal studies), seems to suggest that CBD has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Here's how it works: CBD may be able to impact inflammation through its actions on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is an extensive physiological system in your body.

Does CBD for Inflammation Really Work?

Whether you're struggling from an inflammatory bowel disease, joint pain, arthritis, or any other chronic condition associated with pain and inflammation, CBD may be worth a shot. But just like anything else you consume or apply on your body, it's important to consider the quality of what you're purchasing. You'll want to choose options from high-quality, trustworthy brands that provide third-party lab tests for their products (which helps ensure the purity, potency, and safety of CBD products).

Recently, more and more people are turning to a new natural health alternative known as cannabidiol or CBD. By now, you may have heard of CBD, a cannabinoid found in hemp plants, as this buzzy new supplement is being touted for its wellness benefits for everything from anxiety to pain relief to skin care—and that includes the positive effects of CBD on inflammation. (Related: 3 Reasons You Should Try CBD Even If You Have No Interest In Weed)

The endocannabinoid system is involved in key inflammatory processes, and it's vital for maintaining normal functioning of the nervous systems, immune system, and many other organs and tissues. 

Some of the most common solutions for chronic pain and inflammatory diseases are NSAIDs, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. Advil), as well as acetaminophen drugs (i.e. Tylenol). But these pain-reducing pills have their own drawbacks, including possible negative long-term effects, which is why many people look for alternative treatment options to naturally ease pain and inflammation. (Related: What's the Best CBD Cream for Arthritis Pain?)

“I have had IBD for over 20 years, and had been on a range of medications, from steroids to opioids,” Orr told Weedmaps. “The steroids helped a lot with inflammation but not with the pain, and the Oxy was like trying to crack a nut with a sledgehammer — brutal side effects. It made me feel awful due to bad nausea and extreme fogginess.”

A 2016 study published in Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation investigated CBD as a treatment for early pancreatic inflammation in diabetic mice. Pancreatic inflammation can lead to diabetes due to an invasion of immune cells that destroy insulin-producing cells. The mice who received 10 weeks of treatment with CBD developed diabetes later than the mice that didn’t receive the treatment. CBD-treated mice also showed a significant reduction in immune-cell activity.

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For Orr, CBD was immediately more effective that both opioids and steroids, and even better than edibles. “I’m able to titrate my dose very exactly, and can vary the amount depending on how bad a day I’m having.”

“I was able to undertake my whole recovery from the back injury by using only CBD products, and now I continue to use them to help with inflammation and other muscle pains,” Kemp said.

Inflammation and oxidative stress are involved in many diseases. Chronic inflammation may be caused by autoimmune disorders, untreated infections, or illnesses, and often plays a role in conditions such as asthma, cancer, and diabetes. Factors such as smoking, obesity, or stress may also contribute to chronic inflammation.

Capsules can work for daily use after a safe, effective capsule dose has been established. Experts discourage taking CBD via edibles, like gummies and cookies, because dosing is unreliable, and they are appealing to children but do not come in childproof containers. Like any medicine, edibles should be secured out of sight and reach of children.

There is good reason to be a cautious shopper. CBD products are largely unregulated in the U.S. market. Independent testing has shown mislabeling and lack of quality control. The biggest issues are strength of CBD (significantly more or less than the label says), the presence of undeclared THC, and contamination with pesticides, metals and solvents.

Kevin Boehnke, PhD, a researcher at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center at the University of Michigan, focuses on medical cannabis as an analgesic and opioid substitute in chronic pain.

Are CBD products legal? CBD products derived from hemp are no longer considered Schedule I drugs under the federal Controlled Substances Act, but they still remain in a legal gray zone. There are changes underway on federal and state levels that will ultimately clarify the laws and regulations related to CBD-based products and sales. Despite that, they’re widely available in nearly every state and online. People who want to use CBD should check their state laws.

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Our gratitude to the following experts for their guidance and review: