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Can CBD Support Your Immune System This Winter?

As winter fast approaches, so does cold and flu season. Lack of sunlight, colder temperatures and more time spent indoors makes us more susceptible to infections than other times of the year, leading to lots of us looking for solutions to remain well. One natural approach that has gained significant attention in recent years is Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, which is the non-psychoactive compound derived from the cannabis plant.

While CBD doesn’t appear to strengthen the immune system alone, it may benefit those with autoimmune conditions. In addition to this, some of CBD’s other therapeutic benefits — such as relieving stress and helping us to get more sleep — could aid our body’s natural immune response.  Learn more in this article on CBD and its relationship with your immune system.

What is CBD? 

Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is one of the many compounds found in the cannabis plant. Unlike delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is a non-psychoactive compound and does not induce the “high” often associated with cannabis. In humans, CBD interacts with our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to regulate several of our cognitive and physical functions, including stress, anxiety and pain. 

CBD for Autoimmune Conditions

Some studies suggest that CBD can suppress certain immune responses, which may be helpful in conditions where the immune system is overactive, such as autoimmune disorders.

As Healthline explains, an autoimmune condition happens when your immune system mistakes a part of your body for a foreign threat and attacks it. People with autoimmune diseases often need to use immunosuppressant treatments, and research from 2020 and 2021 suggest that CBD has immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory properties.

  • The 2020 research concluded that their data overwhelmingly supports the notion that CBD is immune suppressive and that the mechanisms involve direct suppression of activation of various immune cell types.
  • The 2021 research showed that natural cannabinoids downregulate inflammatory responses mediated by immune cells responsible for autoimmune disease chronicity and progression. 
  • Additional research suggests that CBD has immunosuppressive effects, and can protect against cellular damage incurred during immune responses by modulating adenosine signalling. 

There is also a wealth of research which suggests CBD could help with specific autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), multiple sclerosis (MS) and thyroiditis

CBD to Stimulate the Immune System

There’s clear evidence to suggest that CBD can have immunosuppressant properties, but there isn’t enough research to suggest that it could stimulate the immune system. However, CBD could still be beneficial for our immune system because it can reduce stress and improve sleep, which are linked to our immune system function. 

Stress

Stress can weaken the immune system, making us more susceptible to infections. Studies suggest that CBD can help to alleviate the symptoms of stress because it interacts with our endocannabinoid system, which regulates a range of our cognitive and physical functions, in order to promote a state of equilibrium. 

Of 387 current or past-CBD users, 37.5% of respondents reported using CBD for perceived stress, with 92.2% reporting reduced stress levels. 42.6% of respondents also said they take CBD for anxiety, with 86.5% reporting that they felt less anxious after taking it. 

In 2019, researchers evaluated the effects of CBD treatment in 72 adults with either anxiety or sleep problems and, after 2 months, 78.1–79.2% of participants reported improvements in anxiety symptoms.

In a 2021 review of seven clinical trials with a combined total of 232 participants, and one partially controlled study on 120 participants, all showed that CBD was effective in significantly reducing the stress response and its manifestations (anxiety, fear, depression, and burnout).

A 2020 review of eight related studies also concluded that CBD has a promising role as alternative therapy in the management of anxiety disorders.

Chronic inflammation due to oxidative stress, may lead to several conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. CBD’s above-mentioned anti-inflammatory and  antioxidant properties could help to reduce the physical effects of stress, and prevent stress-related conditions.

Thus, CBD could help to reduce our stress levels which, in turn, can support our overall immune function.

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for a healthy immune system. CBD has shown promise in improving sleep quality and duration which could, in turn, improve our immune system response. 

Of 387 current or past-CBD users, 42.5% were using it for sleep problems, with 48.2% of these users saying CBD led them to fall asleep faster.

A 2012 crossover study compared CBD at three doses with placebo paired with nitrazepam, a potent hypnotic drug belonging to the benzodiazepine class. Among the 15 participants with insomnia, high-dose CBD at 160 milligrams (mg) significantly increased sleep duration.

In another study examining the effects of cannabis on insomnia, researchers found CBD more effectively decreased symptoms of insomnia than delta-9 THC.

In winter, the longer nights and reduced exposure to natural light can disrupt sleep patterns. CBD’s ability to promote better sleep may help counteract these effects and support the immune system. Other lifestyle factors, such as eating well, staying physically active, avoiding alcohol and quitting smoking can all help to support our immune system. If you do happen to get sick, CBD’s analgesic (pain-relieving) properties can be useful for seasonal aches and pains.

CBD as an Antimicrobial

Studies have shown that CBD can kill both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria — including some strains that are resistant to traditional antibiotics — which makes it a promising antimicrobial agent. That said, CBD is not ready to be used as an antimicrobial treatment just yet, and thus, existing CBD products probably won’t help you fight off an infection. However, scientists continue to study ways to take advantage of CBD’s bacteria-fighting potential. 

Considerations

If you’re considering using CBD to support your immune system, here are some key factors to keep in mind.

  • Type of CBD: Broad-spectrum CBD is a great option for those who want to experience the effects of CBD without consuming THC, the psychoactive compound in the cannabis plant. Some clinical reports suggest that broad or full-spectrum CBD may have a better effect due to the number of cannabinoids and other plant compounds they contain that work together, otherwise known as the entourage effect

  • Type of Product: CBD products come in various forms, such as oils, topicals, capsules, edibles, and vape pens, so you should choose a delivery method and dosage that suits your needs. 

  • Source and Quality: Choose CBD derived from organically grown hemp, as this ensures minimal exposure to harmful chemicals. You should also look for third-party laboratory reports to verify how pure and potent your product is, and to ensure there are no contaminants.

  • Dosage: Finding the right dose and administration method can be a trial-and-error process as results can vary significantly from person to person. Start with a low dose and gradually increase it while monitoring its effects.

  • Individual Variability: The effectiveness of CBD may vary from person to person; what works for one individual may not work for another.

Need additional help? Take our CBD Quiz for product recommendations in minutes, or read our full guides on How to Choose the Right CBD Product and The Different Types of CBD.


We are Purity Hemp, the UK’s #1 Online CBD provider. Backed by science, and built on the principles of traceability, transparency & trust, we are dedicated to improving the health & wellness of people around the world.

We are proud to be one of the only companies to guarantee full traceability from seed to shelf with our premium range of CBD products, tested by third-party, independent quality control analysts.

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Directions for Use:

  • Shake well before use
  • Add dose directly to your pet’s food, stirring it in if necessary
  • Use up to twice daily – (See dosage table for guidelines)
  • Store in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight

Weight of Pet Regular Dosage Strong Dosage
Up to 20lbs/9kg 1 to 4 drops 4 to 8 drops
20 to 40lbs/9-18kg 2 to 8 drops 8 to 16 drops
Over 40lbs/18kg 4 to 20 drops 16 to 40 drops

Contains Zero THC, chlorophyll free

*This product is sold for use by pets only, as it contains CBD Isolate.

We recommend discussing the use of CBD with a qualified vet, especially if your pet is pregnant or nursing a litter.

Keep out of sight or reach of children.