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Article: Can CBD Affect Inflammation?

Can CBD Affect Inflammation?

Can CBD Affect Inflammation?


Can CBD promote a healthy response to inflammation?

Emerging research on cannabidiol (CBD) has demonstrated evidence that CBD may act as an anti-inflammatory. Beyond the endocannabinoid system, CBD plays a vital role in and interacts with a number of receptors throughout the body. In particular, it has been postulated that CBD acts as an anti-inflammatory in part due to its relationship with cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2).

CBD and CB2

CB2 receptors are widespread throughout the body, and particularly concentrated in immune cells which are key players in mediating inflammation. When interacting with cannabinoid receptor, CB2, CBD can decrease inflammatory mediators such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) which can thereby reduce inflammation in the body (1-3).

What are the results of inflammation in the body?

Inflammation in the body is not always a bad thing, but too much inflammation is not healthy. The best way to tell the difference between inflammation is to know the different types:

Acute inflammation

Acute inflammation is the body’s short-term response to healing and protecting itself. Such as, if you cut your finger, your immune cells and other inflammatory cells will rush to the cut to protect you from infection and to begin the healing processes. On the outside of the body, this may appear as red, hot to the touch, and swollen.

Chronic inflammation

Chronic inflammation on the other hand, does not have obvious signs such as a red swollen appearance. It is our body’s response to protecting us on a long-term basis, but it can go unseen. Chronic inflammation can also cause more harm than good. Results of chronic inflammation are still being studied, but there have been links to chronic disease states such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain digestive disorders (4-6).  

What are ways to limit inflammation?

A nutrient rich diet, consistent exercise, and supplementation are all ways to limit chronic inflammation in the body. Eating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables while limiting processed and sugary foods can help limit inflammation in the body. Movement in the body also helps limit risk of chronic disease states such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes that are linked to chronic inflammation (4-5).

In addition to these literature supported lifestyle changes, CBD has the potential to limit chronic inflammation in the body due to its action on the cannabinoid receptors, particularly CB2 on immune cells. Other supplements that may help limit chronic inflammation include turmeric, garlic, omega 3 fatty acids.



  1. Atalay S, Jarocka-Karpowicz I, Skrzydlewska E. Antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol. Antioxidants (Basel). 2019;9(1):21. Published 2019 Dec 25.
  2. Sunda F, Arowolo A. A molecular basis for the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrosis properties of cannabidiol. FASEB J. 2020 Nov;34(11):14083-14092.
  3. Mlost J, Bryk M, Starowicz K. Cannabidiol for pain treatment: focus on pharmacology and mechanism of action. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 23;21(22):8870. 
  4. Harvard Medical School. Understanding acute and chronic inflammation. Harvard Health Publishing. April 2020.
  5. Cleveland Clinic Medical Professional.  Inflammation. 2021 July 28.
  6. Leuti A, Fazio D, Fava M, Piccoli A, Oddi S, Maccarrone M. Bioactive lipids, inflammation and chronic diseases. Adv Drug Deliv Rev. 2020;159:133-169.



This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Madison Schmidt. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy in Edwardsville, Illinois.

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