Tame the Flame: Can Full-spectrum CBD Oil Impact Signs of Inflammation?

by PP Health Admin / Oct 28, 2021

CBD is famous for its intriguing anti-inflammatory profile. In fact, there’s a growing body of evidence to support the idea that this natural compound may pose a promising impact on various types of inflammation.

To understand how CBD may help manage different inflammatory signs and symptoms, it's essential to know the real deal about inflammation – is it a friend or foe?

Understanding the Root Causes and Effects of Inflammation 

We often hear the term "inflammation" when talking over issues of health and wellbeing. Typically, it's associated with adverse implications of certain diseases or injuries. Nonetheless, inflammation is not always a bad thing.

To better understand the body's inflammatory response, it may be helpful to use football as an analogy. The main objective of the game is to score more goals than the opponent within a specific timeframe. As a form of defence against the opponent, the goalkeeper blocks the ball to save its team from losing the game once the striker hits the goal.

A similar process occurs between the immune system and the free radicals that try to invade and harm our bodies. In a cellular context, free radicals are atoms containing an unstable number of electrons in their outer shells. These unpaired atoms often bind with other substances that contain electrons to create balance.

You might be wondering how humans can be exposed to free radicals in the first place. Free radicals are derived from a few different sources. For instance, our bodies may naturally produce free radicals during a normal metabolic process. In this stage, carcinogens – cancer-causing substances – that might be present in the food we eat are broken down to be used in different parts of the body. Likewise, exposure to environmental toxins, such as ultraviolet radiation, air pollutants, harmful industrial chemicals, and viruses can also increase our contact with free radicals.

Either way, once free radicals penetrate the body, they try to regain their missing electrons by “stealing” other electrons from human cells. Simply put, when free radicals take electrons from oxygenated molecules, they turn these particles into free radicals after splitting them into single atoms with unpaired electrons. A certain amount of free radicals in the body is normal. However, any imbalance can overwhelm the body’s ability to regulate free radicals – resulting in oxidative stress. This process wreaks havoc on our cells, which, in turn, leads to a host of diseases and acceleration in the normal ageing process.

How do we prevent the spread of free radicals in the body? Now that you’ve asked, our immune system – which plays a similar role to that of a goalkeeper – contains dozens of inflammatory chemicals and other essential enzymes working synergistically to block all intruders that pose harm to the body. It then allows the oxygen to create an army of free radicals to combat different types of infection often related to foreign invaders like viruses, irritants and bacteria. You’re not misreading that part – free radicals can be beneficial to the body, as long as they are well-regulated in number.

However, the problem may arise when the immune system overreacts and releases a large number of free radicals in an attempt to protect us against infectious organisms. The inflammatory chemicals help to raise the blood circulation in the infected area, causing inflammation. Some common symptoms of inflammation include pain, redness and swelling. Fighting off potential threats with the increased flow of white blood cells helps the body manage injuries and other common diseases more effectively.

As it turns out, inflammation is just a normal part of the healing process. That said, there are two sides to every argument. Experts call it acute inflammation, a "good" kind of immune response if it helps the body recover more quickly. However, inflammation becomes "bad", or chronic inflammation, when the symptoms persist and contribute to disease onset and progression rather than heal on its own.

Chronic inflammation can last for a few months or years, depending on the type and severity of the symptoms. In the worst cases, it can linger for an entire lifetime. Experts are still uncovering more information about chronic inflammation's actual origin and purpose since it doesn't seem to be as beneficial as its short-term counterpart. Nevertheless, current studies suggest that there may be an association between chronic inflammation and a wide variety of severe health conditions. For instance, autoimmune diseases like arthritis and cancer can trigger some common symptoms of chronic inflammation. They cause the body's defence system to attack its tissues, leading to further health complications.

While it's impossible to altogether avoid oxidative stress and other infectious substances, there are ways to help minimise their effects. As we bring some interesting facts about inflammation to light, let's get to know the potential role of CBD in handling inflammation symptoms and promoting faster recovery. Whether you're a CBD veteran or a newbie, it always pays to start with a quick refresher to better understand what CBD is and how it works.       

CBD: A Quick Overview

Woman wearing gloves and holding an amber CBD bottle and dropper.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-intoxicating phytocannabinoid derived from the hemp strain of the cannabis plant. It doesn't create the "high" sensation linked to its well-known cannabinoid cousin – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the cannabis plant’s main psychoactive component.

While THC is notoriously known for its psychedelic effects, some studies suggest that this cannabinoid may also contribute to the plant's overall therapeutic profile. THC may offer some potential benefits to the body – provided that it's taken at the correct dose and in conjunction with other essential cannabinoids.

There are more than 100 cannabinoids that occur within the cannabis plant. Many of which are now following in the footsteps of the two most-prevalent cannabinoids, CBD and THC. From cannabichromene (CBD) to cannabigerol (CBG) – there is an almost encyclopaedic list of essential cannabinoids used in various CBD product formulations. These cannabinoids, including THC, are combined with CBD and other essential plant compounds to create a full-spectrum formula – which we'll discuss in greater detail below.

As you purchase different kinds of CBD products, you'll likely come across labels such as "full-spectrum CBD", "broad-spectrum CBD", and "CBD isolate". These categories simply describe the chemical formula of each product. For example, products labelled as "CBD isolate" contain pure CBD extracts. The rest of the plant compounds are eliminated through an extraction process and further refining techniques to create the CBD isolate formula.

On the other hand, broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD extracts and other important cannabinoids and chemical compounds found within the plant. Broad-spectrum CBD falls between full-spectrum CBD and CBD isolate, ideal for those who would like to enjoy the added benefits of other essential compounds without any trace amounts of THC.

Some theories suggest that CBD may become even more potent when combined with THC and other phytochemicals, including terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids. This possibility is due to the proposed entourage effect of full-spectrum CBD.

The entourage effect is a proposed mechanism whereby all the cannabis plant compounds are thought to work synergistically, augmenting the overall beneficial effects of the plant. Let’s take a closer look at each of these plant components to identify some of the many potential benefits that one might hold.

  • Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are responsible for the distinctive smell of many plants, including cannabis. In nature, they protect the plant from any harmful germs which can cause damage. However, new studies suggest that the vibrant smell of some plants, such as lavender and mint, may have some therapeutic effects on the human body. In fact, terpenes have long been added to many essential oils, which play an integral part in alternative therapies like aromatherapy. Experts believe that inhaling the natural scents of essential oils may influence our mood and stress levels.
  • Flavonoids are natural pigments that provide some plants with characteristic colours needed in several functions, such as pollination and ultraviolet filtration. A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reveals that flavonoids may feature an antioxidant activity. Hence, adding flavonoid-rich foods or supplements to your diet can be a healthy way to help your body fend off everyday toxins.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in many plant-based foods we eat. Hemp, for instance, is thought to be an ideal source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids – both of which are necessary for the body to function at its best. Fatty acids help regulate the body's triglyceride – or blood fat levels – which mainly contribute to the development of various heart complications and other related conditions, such as chronic inflammation, lung problems and depression.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) is dubbed as CBD’s twin for containing almost the same set of natural properties as CBD. Some preliminary studies show that the potential benefits of CBC may be on par with CBD. When combined, the two cannabinoids might just offer a much more powerful effect on the body.
  • Cannabinol (CBN) is a derivative of THC. When THC is stored in places with extremely high temperatures, a chemical reaction takes place to convert THC into CBN. Since it originates from THC, CBN may retain traces of psychoactive properties, but those are not sufficient to cause the high. Instead, it may help to support CBD's ability to promote calm and relaxation.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG), also known as the “chemical parent”, is the precursor of the three main cannabinoids, CBD, THC and CBC. Most of the CBG that exists in hemp is translated into CBD, making it the most abundant component of the plant. Some recent studies on the potential benefits of CBG focus on its antibacterial activity, which may influence appetite, sleep, and other neurologic functions.
  • Cannabivarin (CBV) is another cannabinoid that is not capable of producing euphoria. Its chemical structure is very similar to CBN, but research is still underway to determine the potential impact of CBV on the body. So far, it is thought to be a promising supplementary treatment for neuropathic pain symptoms.
These chemical compounds may work best in a synergistic motion to potentially create a more harmonious result. Much like the teamwork in every football game, singling out a key player will not compare to a whole team of players working together to achieve a common goal. 

    Full-spectrum CBD Oil for Inflammation: Can it Work?

    Now that we’re more familiar with the nitty-gritty of inflammation and CBD, it’s time to uncover the potential role of full-spectrum CBD oil in managing various inflammatory symptoms. CBD, along with other essential plant compounds, is reportedly rich in natural anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, pain and inflammation are by far the most common reasons some people use CBD.

    The market is now flooded with CBD products. Sometimes, it's hard to determine which will best suit our needs. Given the scope of inflammation is much broader than it seems, it's essential to understand the type of inflammation you're dealing with before looking for the right solution. For example, CBD topicals like gels, balms, and massage oils may be good options for localised areas of pain and other discomforts. However, for different kinds of inflammation – such as menstrual cramps, deep muscle pain or anxiety – CBD oil may be more appropriate.

    CBD may be useful for different inflammatory symptoms, regardless of the root cause, as it may work in multiple pathways. It's all down to its intriguing relationship with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which maintains the body's overall balance. This regulatory system is composed of cannabinoid receptors, which serve as a ticket for CBD and other phytocannabinoids upon entering the body.

    CBD might influence several points of the inflammatory process – from allergic reactions to autoimmune diseases – by potentially affecting every cell receptor located in various parts of the body. Backed by research, here are some critical roles of CBD when it comes to managing inflammation at different levels:

    • CBD may impact the breakdown of anandamide, a powerful endocannabinoid that helps the ECS regulate any inflammatory response throughout the body.
    • CBD may affect the vanilloid receptors governing various sets of pro-inflammatory messengers across different areas of the nervous system.
    • CBD may help inhibit the activation of various immune cells, including thymus and bone marrow cells – both of which are involved in the process of chronic inflammation.
    • CBD also appears to influence the formation of cytokines, a class of signalling molecules produced by the immune cells to initiate the inflammatory response. It is thought to help minimise the impacts of cytokines on the body, thereby reducing the symptoms of inflammation.

    How to Use Full-Spectrum CBD Oil for Inflammation

    When it comes to inflammation – whether acute or chronic – the broader spectrum of CBD may be a better option! Our Classic full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the essential cannabinoids, from CBD to CBV. It also features a maximum amount of 0.2% THC in compliance with UK regulations. In addition, it also contains terpenes, flavonoids and other essential vitamins – allowing you to potentially experience the optimal impact of the cannabis plant.

    Taking CBD oil in a bid to help address inflammation symptoms may produce a dose-dependent response. This suggests that the higher dosage you take, the more potent the anti-inflammatory effect it may offer. However, if you're just about to start your CBD journey, it's wise to begin with the lowest possible dose – typically anywhere from 10 to 40 milligrams of CBD oil. That is equivalent to 2-3 drops of our full-spectrum CBD oil per serving. You may wish to increase your CBD intake at least after a couple of weeks if needed.

    As mentioned earlier, it's important to understand the type and level of the inflammation to come up with an equivalent dose. For mild to moderate acute inflammation, a standard CBD oil dosage may help you obtain your desired results. Otherwise, severe inflammation symptoms may require a higher level of CBD concentration. Don't forget to consult a health provider before introducing CBD products to your body, especially when trying to help manage chronic inflammation with CBD.

    Final Thoughts

    Inflammation is a normal phase in the healing process. However, long-term inflammation can be damaging to your overall health. Fortunately, hundreds of scientific studies support the idea that CBD and other phytonutrients may have such enormous potential to help people deal with various signs of inflammation.

    This possibility is due to their individual anti-inflammatory properties, which, when all combined, might spark a sense of entourage effect to the body. Above all, using full-spectrum CBD oil might be even more compelling when associated with healthy lifestyle habits to support your immune system.