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The ECS & Your Immune System

Updated: Jul 14

Coronavirus is a family of viruses that can cause as mild thing as just a common cold or all the way to SARS or MERS(bad pneumonia). These viruses look like a tennis ball with spikes sticking out of it and depending on the type of spike, it allows that virus to attach to certain places. Some viruses have the spike that attaches to your nose so basically, you just get a common cold. The SARS virus and the Coronavirus have a spike that attaches to your lungs. When it attaches, it puts in inflammation to make photocopies of itself. Like all viruses, the Coronavirus needs to reach a target, which in this case is your lungs. It needs human assistance to get there as it has no feet or wings so therefore it needs us to move it there. This is why you are being urged to avoid being around people who are sneezing and coughing because you will breathe it in. Make sure you wash your hands constantly and don't touch your face because that is how the virus will get in.


The masks that are commonly bought still leave vulnerability because they have pocket space at the sides, therefore the virus can still get in. The masks that are needed are the N95 which is sealed.


What Are The Symptoms?

In the beginning, the Coronavirus will cause flu-like symptoms or cold. As soon as the virus starts manufacturing in the lungs, they produce copies of the virus, killing the lung cells, therefore you are unable to exchange oxygen. This results in shortness of breath and difficulties breathing.


Currently, there is no direct treatment for the virus. The way patients are cared for is in a "supportive" manner. In other words, if the patient can't breathe, they are given oxygen to help them breathe. They can't drink so they are given fluids to support them. If their kidneys begin to "shut down" they are "supported" with that as well.


How The Immune System Reacts


The immune system is the body's natural defense system. Usually, we make antibodies. Antibodies are also called immunoglobulins. These are proteins made by the body that help in the fight against foreign substances. These foreign substances are called antigens. Antigens can be bacteria, viruses or fungi that cause infection and disease. With this being a new virus, the immune system is finding it difficult to react once it is compromised.


All healthy adults have small amounts of thousands of different antibodies. Each one is highly specialized to recognize only one kind of antigen. The molecules of antibodies are Y-shaped and have a binding site on each arm of the Y, and in turn, the binding site of each antibody has a specific shape. Only the antigens that match this shape will fit into them. The role of antibodies is to bind with antigens and inactivate them so that the other bodily processes can take over, destroy and remove the foreign substances from the body. To sum that up in simpler terms, the antibodies that our bodies make, grab onto the "spikes" that are on the virus, get rid of the virus and bring you back to good health.


Unfortunately, the elderly, babies, young children, anyone who has a pre-existing respiratory condition or anyone whose immune system is compromised would have the worst outcome due to the weaker immune system.


The Endocannabinoid System

The ECS is crucial in maintaining and regulating homeostasis. This system helps our bodies maintain proper temperature, blood pressure, the correct balance of fluids, the ability to sleep, good memory, and much more.


The ECS includes naturally occurring substances called cannabinoids. In our bodies are receptors that react with cannabinoids to maintain balance. When changes occur, these receptors activate to do their jobs.


Countless cannabinoid receptors are located throughout the body, including in the nervous system and various organs. Presently, there are two main receptors known. These are CB1 and CB2 receptors. CB1 works in the brain and central nervous system, while CB2 works with the peripheral nervous system and controls the body's immune system.


The ECS is a biological system that consists of a network of cannabinoids and receptors that regulate functions in the body. Even further, the endocannabinoid system is solely responsible for the complex functions that allow us to connect with our immune system, our nervous system, our organs and much more.


One of the many functions of the ECS is its role as an "immune-cannabinoid" modulator.


What this means is that the "communicative" molecules in the ECS can work as a signaling mechanism and instruct the functioned system involved in the immune response. Along with other duties, these "instructions" present information to the body's immune system that tells it when to go into "defense mode", where and how strong this "wall of defense" should be.


The Immune System

The immune system is a collection of structures and processes within the body. Its role is to protect against disease and other potentially damaging foreign bodies. When functioning properly, it identifies a variety of threats and distinguishes them from the body's own healthy tissue.


When it comes to boosting or supporting the immune system, people often overload on vitamins and other supplements. However, there is more to boosting your immune system than taking vitamins. In order to be ready to fight viruses when they come around, it is recommended that you eat plenty of fruits, veggies, and practices a healthy diet in general. Get enough sleep. Wash your hands. Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week. Keep your weight healthy. Don't drink too much alcohol. Do not smoke and last but not least manage stress.


CBD "Defense"


Antibiotics cannot defeat a virus. They are for bacteria only. No one can outwardly say that CBD can stop the coronavirus in its tracks. However, it is clear that CBD has an influence on the body's overall immune response. CBD has been proven to resonate with the endocannabinoid system in such a way that stimulation encourages the recharge of cells and their healing process.


To understand the fundamentals of CBD and its health benefits, it is important to understand that the ECS and the immune system are very interrelated.


Our immune system is complex and serves us in many capacities. As previously stated, it protects us from invasion from the outside by microorganisms and, on the inside by clearing out damaged cells. There are different types of cells in the immune system that play their role in removing harmful particles from the body, like macrophages and dendritic cells. For a more focused and sophisticated attack, it forms T-cells and B-cells collectively known as lymphocytes. These are cells in the immune system that recognize foreign threats and attack them.


The immune system is balanced by two sides. Th1 cells (Type 1 helper) and Th2 cells (Type 2 helper). The activity it carries out shifts between them, with the Th1 as the clearing, antiviral side, and the Th2, the antibody-producing side. This system has to be in balance and able to shift back and forth like a seesaw. When one side is active the other side is suppressed. If the system becomes locked into one side, the other side does not function.


Chronic inflammation, like that of the Coronavirus, sets up a chronic shift in the immune system. This shift is on the Th1 side, where the promotion of cytokines (small secreted proteins released by cells) produced at the site of inflammation prevents the immune response from shifting. When this occurs in a particular area, the cells become damaged and more immune cells are called into the area.


The immune cells become activated and start producing more inflammatory cytokines, which continue the immune response. If the response continues to escalate, the damaged cells are not removed or repaired, and the damage begins to spread and affect the surrounding cells.


If you were to look at the activities of CBD, it is obvious that it can be helpful in controlling the TH1 shift and give support to the end of the TH1 cycle of destruction.


Diving Deep Into The Science Of Viruses & The ECS System

(bare with us, this part is long and can get confusing but we explain in-depth the role CBD plays in your immune system). At the end of this section, you will find a useful glossary that will explain in depth the scientific terms mentioned.


Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm. However, if the immune systems are continuously on the defense, the inflammation build-up that is meant to help actually ends up hurting you because it becomes chronic from the excessive inflammation build-up.


With that being said, let's dive into CBD, the immune system and the ECS. We will explain in more depth how CBD can be one of the major "players" in the balance and defense of the immune system and the endocannabinoid system in fighting and managing chronic inflammation, that the coronavirus and other similar viruses present.


How, you may ask. CBD has been shown to reduce the production and release of too much TNF-Alpha. CBD has also been shown to reduce the production of IL8 and also demonstrated that it can reduce nitric oxide production in macrophages. What does this mean? All of these activities help to reduce proinflammatory cytokines, interleukins and other proteins that support a Th1 shift, thus resulting in reduced oxidative stress and immune imbalance. A wide distribution of CB2 receptors exists in the immune system. CBD has been shown to block the production of antigens (viruses, bacteria, etc.) and can suppress antigen proliferation while inducing cell death to immature invaders.


The ingestion of phytocannabinoids like CBD shifts the immune profile from proinflammatory Th1 to two or more anti-inflammatory Th2 stances. Understanding the activities that phytocannabinoids produce leads to an understanding of the tremendous benefits they provide in helping to manage and control inflammation.


Another question you may ask is "How does this all come together?"


Here it is. As stated previously in the Coronavirus breakdown of this writing, the coronavirus puts in inflammation to make photocopies of itself once it reaches your lungs. It does this in an effort to overwhelm your lungs and kill lung cells. Your immune system needs both the Th1 and Th2 sides to in balance in order to effectively fight this inflammation. Chronic inflammation ensues when our immune system is out of balance. Naturally, TNF-alpha in the Th1 side would start to produce excessive amounts of white blood cells to fight the inflammation. But keep in mind that if too many white blood cells are produced this will cause even more inflammation, aiding the inflammation already produced by the virus.


Hence, using CBD would reduce excessive white blood cell production if the immune system is under attack. In addition, the reduced production effect that CBD has on IL8 is much of the same to combat a different issue that may come about when too much IL8 is produced.


Too much IL8 results in what is called the respiratory burst. This is the rapid release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from different cell types. IL8 is a protein produced by certain cell types like the airway smooth muscle cells. With CBD in place to reduce the excessive production of IL8, this spares our immune system from oxidative stress which leads to cell death in the airway smooth muscle cells. This somewhat explains the difficulty of breathing and oxygen transportation.


What we do know about the ECS is that it is the master system of the body and it works to keep balance in the body (homeostasis). How healthy your ECS is can determine the health of your other systems. The ECS thrives in an environment that is abundant in cannabinoids. As our bodies create cannabinoids, the addition of phytocannabinoids, like CBD, have proven to be instrumental in adding the abundance of cannabinoids that our ECS loves. Once the ECS is "happy", it does its job of creating balance. Like they say, "Happy wife, happy life".


It is always advised to fuel your body with vitamins and minerals. Adding CBD "into the mix" provides that abundance of cannabinoids that the ECS needs to create homeostasis, thus ensuring the body has a strong immune system that is able to effectively defend when it needs to defend.


Glossary of CBD Terms (color coated throughout the article):


Here is the breakdown of key terms to help understand the relationship between CBD and the immune system and the ECS.


TH1 - Type 1 Helper Cell

TH2 - Type 2 Helper Cell

Cytokines - Small secreted proteins released by cells

TNF-alpha - a potent cytokine. It is in many cells and plays an important role in inflammation, immune modulation, and viral replication. Produced by white blood cells and helps the immune system fight against infections. Having too much TNF and not enough infection (or no infection at all) to fight can cause inflammation and wreak havoc on internal systems.

Macrophages - The greek meaning is "big eaters". Macrophages are a type of white blood cells of the immune system that encompasses and digests cellular debris, foreign substances, microbes, and anything else that does not have the type of proteins specific to healthy body cells on its surface.

Microbes - Microbes are microscopic organisms that may exist in their single-celled form on a colony of cells.

T - cells - (CMI) Cell Mediation Immunity. T cells recognize antigens and combat microorganisms. This type of response is called a cell-mediated response.

B- cells - B-cells recognize antigens and form antibodies against it. This type of response is called a humoral immune response.

IL8 - A type of protein that enables communication in cells that are active in inflammation or specific immune responses. It is a candidate gene for bronchiolitis.

ROS - ROS are formed as a natural by-product of the normal metabolism of oxygen and have important roles in cell signaling and homeostasis. When ROS levels increase dramatically significant cell structure damage occurs.


We hope this article has been useful, but if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out as our team will be more than happy to respond. You can reach us via phone at 954-533-0089 or via email at info@gogreenhemp.com


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Sources:

https://www.rndsystems.com/research-area

https://www.rndsystems.com/research-area/cells-of-the-immune-system

https://projectreporter.nih.gov/project_info_description.cfm https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3454471/ http://whoami.sciencemuseum.org.uk/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748879/https://www.rndsystems.com/research-area/dendritic-cells https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27125/ https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-th1-and-vs-th2-helper-cells/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interleukin_8 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_coronavirus_pandemic

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