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Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabis

Bjorn Dawson May 20, 2020

Cannabinoids, one of the many chemical compounds found in cannabis plants, have been shown to produce strong anti-inflammatory effects for people.


One of the most current debates has to do with the effectiveness of CBD or cannabidiol, compared with that of terpenoids. The reason for this debate is primarily to determine which cannabis product is most effective for anti-inflammatory purposes. 


Within cannabis, there are over 120 chemical compounds, and these include CBD and terpenoids. These compounds react to different parts of the endocannabinoid system in the body, which is responsible for things like inflammation, sleep, immunity, and more. Some compounds can activate endocannabinoids produced by this system and others can suppress the production. For example, one chemical compound might encourage the endocannabinoid system to suppress inflammation while another might encourage a higher inflammatory response. 


Knowing which chemicals do what helps to further refine the available cannabis-based medications that are on the market and helps you, as the buyer, to find the best possible treatment. 


CBD does not contain any THC, the compound that has psychoactive properties, which means it can reduce inflammation in the body without giving a “high”. So, consuming CBD oil won’t get you high but it might stop serious inflammation in one part of your body, whereas CBD oil with THC or smoking cannabis with THC could do something similar. 

Acute or Chronic Inflammation

In some situations, you might need immediate reduction of inflammation. Maybe you are having an allergic reaction and the swelling is so large, you cannot move your arm and the skin is beginning to stretch. Maybe you have arthritis or a bowel condition where you face regular inflammation. Because there are acute and chronic conditions that cannabis can treat, studies have sought to find out which products work best, and when. 


The latest results show that the use of CBD oil has been found to effectively diminish chronic inflammation while cannabis products with terpenoids work acutely. 


New studies compared 3 non-psychoactive types of cannabis for their terpenoid content and their anti-inflammatory properties. The results showed that the different cannabis products had distinct terpenoid compositions and the oil with the highest level of terpenoids had the highest anti-inflammatory activities in vitro and in vivo. The study also found that none of these products were as effective as pure CBD oil because the CBD caused a long-term suppression of the immune system. The immune system, when it senses an invader (or in certain diseases, mistakenly senses an invader), will cause extra white blood cells to attack and remove the invader in an attempt to get you healthy again. These extra blood cells fill the localized area, resulting in inflammation. An otherwise healthy and normal response, there are ample conditions and diseases where the body does too good a job and is inflamed too often. 


Arthritic Pain


There are many cases of specific pain relief brought about by CBD use. For example, a study applied topical CBD gel on the areas most impacted by arthritis in participants and the results indicated a significant reduction in inflammation, as well as reduced pain. There were no additional side effects brought about by CBD. As such, those who suffer from arthritis and similar inflammatory conditions may very well benefit from topically applying the CBD oil or CBD gel in lieu of taking harmful prescription medications with more serious side effects.


Side Effects


As with any medication, over the counter or otherwise, you have to exercise caution. If you plan to use CBD oil to treat chronic inflammation, it is best that you discuss it with your doctor, go over the appropriate doses, and evaluate which situations are serious enough to warrant medication.


The side effects of CBD for any treatment are really based on individuals. For example, one study found that too regular a reliance upon CBD for any sign of inflammation can have the reverse effect of reducing inflammation too much, causing your body to sit idly while an invader presents itself. 


Again, if you take any medication too often, even when it is not necessary, you can change the way your body works. Taking too many antacids can change the natural amount of stomach acid your body produces. Supplementing certain naturally produced nutrients with an over-the-counter form can reduce the natural levels your body produces, and so on. So, exercise caution and use CBD oil or any other cannabis product with the same level of respect you would a prescription medication




With CBD oil, there are no federal regulations, which means the dosage is really up to you and your doctor. There are things to consider such as:

         ●  The severity of the condition you are treating. If you are, for example, using CBD for acute migraines, you won’t use it as often as someone using it for chronic inflammation.

          ●   How often you use it. If you habitually smoke or use CBD oil, you might need to increase the dosage the more you use it.

          ●   he purity of the product you have. Not all manufacturers are the same, so pay careful attention to the purity levels of the oil you have.


When in doubt, talk to your doctor or the seller and start small, then increase the dosage as needed. 


Overall, you can use CBD oil to help treat issues of acute or chronic inflammation. The use of CBD oils is best when applied to chronic conditions, but if you just have acute problems with inflammation, you can use other cannabis products like smoking pot, vaping, or eating cannabis foods. Play around with the method you like most. Consider whether you need/want the psychoactive benefits of cannabis too, in which case you can smoke cannabis rather than apply CBD oil or gel. If you don’t want it, then go the other way and use oils rather than smoking pot. The dosage is up to you and something you should safely play around with until you find what works best for your inflammation. 



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