Scientific dummy showing nerves and veins

Does Hemp Support the Immune System?

Hemp oil has been linked to many different benefits in humans, from improving sleep to aiding muscle recovery. Naturally, we all want to keep our immune systems healthy and strong to help fight off infectious diseases, so many people asked if hemp could help with this. While research is in the preliminary stages, some studies tell us some things about how hemp interacts with the immune system. We take a look at what we know so far.

An Overview of the Immune System

To understand how hemp cooperates with the immune system, we must know a little about it. Our immune system is the body’s defence against disease and infections, to which we are regularly exposed.

The immune system detects, targets and destroys foreign substances that may pose a threat to the body. The system is complex, and many parts of the body, such as the tonsils, spleen, lymphatic system and bone marrow are responsible for its effectiveness. When looking at immune system health, white blood cells also play a crucial role in protecting the body.

White blood cells can attack and destroy a bacteria, virus or other organisms that pose the risk of infection. White blood cells are also responsible for producing antibodies, which help prevent the body from being infected by the same germ twice.

White blood cells also play a role in detecting cells that are not working correctly, or ‘malfunctioning’. Through the process of cell death, it ensures that these abnormal cells do not grow or mutate, which could result in a tumour.

What Affects the Strength of the Immune System?

The complexity of the immune system means that scientists are still discovering the direct links between lifestyle and enhanced immune function. However, most scientists consider that diet, exercise, age and stress play some of the most significant roles in immune health.

Tea with lemon and ginger

Hemp and the Immune System

Hemp oil supports the endocannabinoid system. While little is currently known about how much influence hemp has on immune health, we know that the body produces endocannabinoids to help modulate or regulate cell function, including the cells in the immune system.

As hemp has anti-inflammatory effects, most of the research has been conducted regarding autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases are the result of the immune system mistakenly turning against healthy cells, tissues or organs, rather than attacking and eliminating harmful foreign organisms. Well-known examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and Chron’s disease.

When it comes to hemp, early research suggests that its anti-inflammatory properties can be beneficial to sufferers of an autoimmune disease. The inflammatory response plays a key role in autoimmune diseases; the excess inflammation caused by the body’s altered immune function can cause long-term damage to tissues and organs.

Early studies also show that hemp oil works as an immunosuppressant. Immunosuppressant drugs purposely reduce the body’s immune system and are commonly used to help treat autoimmune diseases, as well as those who have received an organ transplant.

Scientist doing research

Does Hemp Support the Immune System – Summary

There appears to be little conclusive evidence to suggest that hemp oil can help to prevent day-to-day illnesses, such as the cold or flu virus. However, a balanced, stress-free and healthy lifestyle can stimulate the immune system. Hemp can be used to aid sleep, reduce stress and support joints or muscles during and after exercise and can, therefore, be considered beneficial to general wellbeing.

Early research regarding hemp and autoimmune diseases looks promising and more studies are needed to understand how it reacts with the body’s systems.

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