A Deep Dive into the Impact of CBD on the Immune System

The human immune system

The Key Points:

  • CBD, a compound found in hemp, may have a significant impact on the immune system and could potentially aid in combating autoimmune diseases.
  • The immune system, consisting of specific and nonspecific protection, can be influenced by CBD, though research is ongoing.
  • CBD's interaction with the endocannabinoid system may indirectly promote well-being and reduce stress, potentially aiding those with conditions like epilepsy and psychosis.
  • Initial studies suggest CBD may improve sleep quality, capture and kill free radicals, and influence the central nervous system, all of which can indirectly strengthen the immune system.
  • While CBD has shown promise in treating autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn's Disease, more comprehensive studies are needed to confirm these findings.

The immune system protects the body from environmental influences, viruses, and bacteria. However, it's not infallible, suffers from weaknesses, and requires care in return.

Therefore, we wanted to know how CBD affects the immune system, whether it can help with autoimmune diseases, and what preventive intake makes sense. In this article, we explain the function of our shield and the effect of cannabidiol.

We refer to current studies and reference testimonials. More on the topic of intake, dosage, and products can be found in the following lines.


How the Immune System Works: Specific & Nonspecific Protection

Our skin already protects us from some visible and invisible dangers that lurk at every corner. But viruses, bacteria, and fungi can penetrate this barrier and would cause immense damage in our body if the immune system didn't exist.

We distinguish between two types of the immune system: Nonspecific and specific protection.

We carry nonspecific protection from birth. A healthy system distinguishes between body's own and foreign substances and fights everything that doesn't belong to us. For this, the immune system produces certain proteins, acids, and enzymes.

The specific protection builds up over the course of our lives and allows us to better deal with bacteria and viruses that the immune system has already encountered. For this purpose, it builds up antibodies against microorganisms.

After surviving an infection, we are partially or completely immune to some diseases in the future. An example of complete immunity after surviving an infection would be chickenpox.

How do Inflammations Occur & What are the Causes?

But even if we can't immediately ward off an infection, our immune system is not completely defenseless. It reacts with inflammations, which attack the infected site or the corresponding organ and fight the infection.

Plasma proteins are also produced to contain the inflammation.

However, not everyone's immune system is equally well developed. Those who react to minor impairments with a widespread inflammation suffer from a weakened immune system.

Effect: How does CBD work and what general influence does it have?

The immune system is not the only vital system in the human organism. In addition to the well-known cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and digestive system, most mammals also have the so-called endocannabinoid system.

This independently produces anandamide, a cannabinoid which docks onto receptors in the body and thus controls essential body functions.

However, anandamide also has an "enemy", the enzyme FAAH. Externally supplied cannabidiol promotes the breakdown of the enzyme, increases the level of anandamide, and thus indirectly promotes well-being, reduces stress, and could also be helpful in diseases such as epilepsy [1] and psychoses [2].

Does Cannabidiol Have a Positive Influence on the Immune System?

According to initial study results, CBD has a predominantly positive influence on the immune system. However, this is not yet proven. Despite many positive experiences, long-term research is still needed to make a clear statement. Anyone who makes other statements is not serious.

Let's take a closer look at the possible influence of CBD:

  • It improves individual health. Those who suffer less from other diseases and symptoms can also better focus on defending against viruses and bacteria.
  • It improves sleep quality: Like us, our immune system needs time to regenerate. This happens overnight during sleep, as long as we maintain a healthy night's rest. Studies and experiences indicate that CBD can significantly improve sleep quality [3]
  • It captures and kills free radicals. Free radicals are aggressive oxygen molecules that can attack and destroy cells. The immune system also uses them to attack pathogens, but if there is an excess, they often also target their own, benign cells.
  • It probably also influences the central nervous system. Medicine can already predict inflammation based on a special signaling substance. The nervous system produces cytokines, a special protein that plays a major role in the inflammation process, even before that. The endocannabinoid system is capable of destroying the cytokines and thus possibly preventing inflammation.

CBD and Its Effect on Autoimmune Diseases

But in some people, the immune system also lashes out and attacks the body's own substances and cells. When this happens, it's called an autoimmune disease.

There are medications, but they usually also weaken the entire immune system and make patients more susceptible to other diseases. CBD, on the other hand, could be used for targeted treatment here.

Here are some areas of application:

  • Stress: Not an autoimmune disease but still relatively often responsible for inflammation. As mentioned, the experiences speak for themselves. Most consumers of cannabidiol products feel calmer and more relaxed without getting "high".
  • Multiple Sclerosis: The autoimmune disease MS repeatedly causes flaring inflammations in the brain, which without treatment can also spread to the nervous system and cause paralysis, sensory impairments, and severe pain there. At least against the occurring spasms, CBD has already achieved good results [4]
  • Crohn's Disease: In Crohn's disease, inflammation occurs more frequently, this time in the intestinal tract. Here too, CBD can unfold its anti-inflammatory effect and also reduce pain. Especially because CBD can reduce the movements of the intestine [5]
  • Skin Diseases: Various skin diseases such as psoriasis and eczema also lead to inflammation and damage to the organ. One reason why some manufacturers are already represented on the market with CBD ointments and creams [6]

What Do Science & Experts Say?

Most statements are currently based on experiences, observations, small pilot studies, and experiments. Often the test group is very small or the effect was only tested on animals. Comprehensive studies and results are mostly still pending.

What we already know very precisely today is the described effect of anandamide in the endocannabinoid system. It apparently has a real influence on neurogenesis and neurodegeneration or in English: The formation of new cells and the preservation of existing cell functions.

If you want to deal more intensively with research reports and study results, you can easily do this on our study page.

Application, Intake, and Dosage

Even if you are not currently affected by one of the diseases mentioned, CBD can already be promising as a preventive measure. Anyone who now wants to try the active ingredient from the hemp plant is faced with a huge selection of products and forms of intake, with different advantages and disadvantages.

For a better overview, we have compared the three most well-known ones in a table:

Sublingual Oral Inhalation
Intake Under the tongue Swallow Inhale
Absorption Mucous membranes Stomach Lungs
Onset of Action About 10 minutes About 60 minutes About 30 seconds
Duration of Action 2 to 3 hours Up to 8 hours 1 to 2 hours
Products Oil, Isolate, Paste Capsules, Food Buds, Liquid
Advantages All-rounder; easy handling; fast and long-lasting effect Very long effect; better taste Extremely fast effect; better taste
Disadvantages Taste may need getting used to for many people Late onset of action; dosage not always easy Possible health risks from smoking or vaping; short duration of action

When it comes to dosage, it is always advisable to approach your own amount. Everyone is individual and therefore needs different dosages. As a rule of thumb, however, it can be said that beginners and healthy people get by with small amounts between 0.5 and 20mg per day.

In the case of serious illnesses and autoimmune diseases, this can also be around 100mg per day.

Top CBD Products at a Glance

As with any product, the active ingredient CBD also depends on the quality. However, since the sale is only moderately regulated, there are immense differences. Here we present some products that we can recommend with a clear conscience:


Whether CBD can strengthen the immune system, is still unclear. Indications point to it, but evidence is still pending. However, positive results have already been achieved in the treatment of some autoimmune diseases.

Perhaps we will know more about the interaction of the endocannabinoid and immune systems in the near future through the publication of further, especially long-term, studies.

How did you like our article? Do you have comments or questions? Leave a comment and join the discussion!


Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.