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Marijuana manipulates the immune system, but what does this mean?

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Before a person considers taking cannabis as a way of managing disease, it’s important to talk to a doctor.

Cannabis is a multipurpose plant. Depending on moods, method, strain and more, the plant can have different effects. The compounds in cannabis, called cannabinoids, are known as immune-modulators. This refers to them having some kind of influence on the immune system, thus producing a wide variety of effects.

So, for people who are not scientists, what does this mean? There are several possible explanations and they’re all contradictory and complex, so here are some ideas presented in as simple terms as possible.
 
Some research has reported cannabis suppresses the immune system, which is why it may have a powerful impact as an anti-inflammatory agent. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on one’s immune system and what a person is currently going through.
 
When it comes to viruses and infections, inflammation plays an important role in the body, helping to trap them and prevent their spread. Some believe cannabis could stunt the immune response and produce more harm than good. Other studies suggest that the cannabis plant does something else entirely, making the immune system stronger and helping it battle infections. There are reports of this being the case with patients who suffer from cancer or AIDS, where cannabis helps them cope with their symptoms and strengthen their response to the disease.

Research conducted on mice with cancer found that cannabis causes apoptosis, which means that it kills cancerogenous cells. Another study conducted on humans with AIDS/HIV discovered that the patients who consumed cannabis ended up with stronger immune systems and had higher CD4 counts (these are T cells that kill the HIV virus).

When it comes to CBD, much of the research out there continues to reflect these contradictory ideas. Essential Health explains that for a healthy person, CBD can compromise his or her immune system.

For people with an autoimmune disease, where someone’s immune system doesn’t work as intended and may attack the healthy cells in their bodies instead of the infections, CBD can provide some benefits, such as reducing the strength of these symptoms. Autoimmune diseases include HIV, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and more, all of which are difficult to treat.

There’s plenty information out there, but there’s still not enough research to definitively explain cannabis’ role in peoples’ immune systems. Like most things cannabis-related, the way in which it interacts with the body is highly individualized and needs much more research than what is available now.

Before a person considers taking cannabis as a way of managing disease, it’s important to talk to a doctor to see if one’s situation warrants this and if the plant will be able to provide what is needed.

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