Is CBD an Anti-Inflammatory? 

cbd anti-inflammatory

Posted on September 7th, 2021

Inflammation is a major source of pain. It’s also linked to many chronic illnesses. Plus, it’s one of the top reasons people turn to CBD oil: hoping to find relief. But what exactly is inflammation? What are its causes? And more importantly, is CBD an anti-inflammatory? Let’s find out! 

What Is Inflammation?

First, let’s get down to the basics. When you have inflammation, that means your body is working properly. After all, it’s your body’s way of protecting you from harmful or foreign substances. Common symptoms of inflammation include heat, swelling, pain, and redness. While these symptoms are uncomfortable, they’re also helpful. Because it means your immune system is guarding and repairing your cells.

Typically, signs of inflammation resolve after a few days or weeks. That’s because your immune system shifts from attacking to healing. When working, this keeps danger away. And it helps your cells and tissue return to normal after the danger passes.

But What Happens When Inflammation Won’t Stop?

Sometimes, inflammatory symptoms just won’t clear up. Then, you may experience debilitating consequences such as inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis. But why would inflammation stick around?

Well, your body’s inflammatory response relies heavily on chemical messengers. They’re supposed to call up immune cells. Next, they send them to damaged areas in your body.

But, when disruptions stop those messages, inflammation can strike when it shouldn’t. And that’s when your joints, or even your own cells, could fall victim to inflammation. Sadly, this damage may be permanent.

Types of Inflammation

There are two kinds of inflammation. And we’ll review both here. 

Acute Inflammation

This sets in with an injury like a sprained ankle. While acute inflammation is uncomfortable, it’s short-lived. (And a sign that your immune system’s working well!)

You’ll notice redness, swelling, heat, and pain. But these go away once your injury heals. Aside from injury, having asthma attacks, allergic reactions or even the early stages of depression could trigger inflammation.

Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a prolonged response. (Lasting for more than six months.) It’s a sign that your immune system keeps fighting a perceived threat. And it can’t turn off. Even when inflammation isn’t healing you.

With your inflammatory response switched, your cells problems begin. It can hurt your cells, tissues, and organs. In fact, we can link this problem to several medical conditions, including hepatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, depression, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.

We’re also learning it may be linked to conditions such as cancer, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But we need more research to understand the relationship between these elements. 

How to Address Inflammation

There are many unique approaches to combating inflammation. Some are simple. Diet and lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Others are medical. You may try anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.) Or, for autoimmune diseases, when your body attacks its own cells, you may need TNF inhibitors and steroid medications.

Of course, while these medications can suppress inflammation, they may come with side effects and risks. And that’s why some people look for alternatives that naturally alleviate inflammation.

CBD oil tincture on natural backgroundIs CBD an Anti-Inflammatory?

Currently, we think the answer is yes. But, we need more research. Still, here’s what we know so far. 

CBD is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It has many suggested benefits. But the best-researched one involves its anti-inflammatory properties. So it’s a promising, natural anti-inflammatory. And it comes without the risks and side effects associated with traditional medications.

What Studies Say

Even as you’re reading this, researchers and scientists are uncovering new information about CBD and inflammation. Several animal studies highlight cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory properties.

One European Journal of Pain study found that topical cannabidiol helped relieve arthritic aches and inflammation. Another study showed that CBD inhibits neuropathic and inflammatory pain.

In 2017, a Pain journal study explored CBD’s effects in animals with osteoarthritis. After two weeks of topical CBD, acute joint inflammation reduced in localized areas.  

Earlier, a 2016 Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation study tried treating pancreatic inflammation with CBD. The mice that received CBD treatment developed diabetes later than those that didn’t

Ane before that, this 2013 study revealed CBD as a potential inflammatory bowel disease treatment

Many animal studies show that CBD could modulate your immune system to reduce inflammation. While these studies are promising, we need more clinical human trials before CBD gets approved as an inflammation treatment. Plus, they’ll help decide the best CBD doses for specific types of inflammation. 

How CBD May Help Reduce Inflammation

The inflammatory response process is complicated. It involves many signaling pathways. And your body uses inflammatory messengers to start and stop its response.

One way CBD may reduce inflammation is by inhibiting Prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2. This is an enzyme that helps your body create inflammation. NSAID medications such as Aspirin also target this enzyme. So CBD may imitate their effects.

CBD also seems to affect inflammation through your body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is involved in inflammatory processes. It helps keep your immune and nervous system balanced. When CBD interacts with the ECS, it activates your CB1 and CB2 receptors. In turn, the body’s immune response is moderated.

Chemical Composition and Methods

Another way CBD may reduce inflammation is by breaking down anandamide. This is a powerful inflammation regulator in your body.

This compound also seems to reduce cytokine effects. Since the rise of COVID-19, we’ve heard a lot about these molecules. Basically, they can reduce unwanted inflammation. But in great quantities, they cause a cytokine storm, which is dangerous. Since cannabidiol counters their attack, it’s being explored as a COVID treatment

CBD’s also packed with omega fatty acids. They lubricate your joints, which another reason why CBC can reduce inflammation.

Is CBD an Anti-Inflammatory in all Forms?

CBD comes in several forms. So, which is best for inflammation? Here are five common forms of CBD. We’ll look at their pros and cons for fighting inflammation.

CBD Oil/Tinctures

These are very popular CBD delivery methods. Oils and tinctures allow for effective dosing. And you take them beneath your tongue. CBD tinctures may help IBS since internal inflammation causes your symptoms.


With CBD gummies, you get a discrete dosing option. While edibles are convenient and taste great, it’s tough to measure their dose strength. Besides, sweet edibles come with food additives and lots of sugar, which isn’t great for diabetes. So these may not be the best form of CBD to reduce chronic inflammation. 


Vaping CBD is the most efficient method because bioavailability through your lungs is higher than through your digestive tract. Vaping also allows you to try different flavors. But vaping may worsen conditions such as asthma. And it could lead to permanent lung injury, so we advise caution.

Are CBD Pills & Capsules an Anti-inflammatory?

Capsules and pills offer an easy way to take CBD. They remove the guesswork in dosing, and make it easy for you to take CBD on the go. 

Woman in blue dress using Tanasi CBD lotion on handTopicals

If you have plaque psoriasis, eczema, acne, tendonitis, or skin inflammation, topical CBD products are your best choice. Is CBD an anti-inflammatory when you apply it to your skin?

The answer is yes! Applying CBD cream, lotion, or salve allows the active ingredients to work directly on inflamed local tissues. Topicals are great for relieving local pain and inflammation. Plus, you don’t have to wait for CBD to go through your digestive or circulatory system. This means you’ll experience much faster effects. 

Final Thoughts

Is CBD an anti-inflammatory? All signs point to yes! We’ve studied CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties for the last two decades. So there’s no denying it may play a role in alleviating pain and inflammation. The key to getting the most out of CBD for inflammation is to use high-quality products.

Of course, almost any form of CBD can help you enjoy anti-inflammatory benefits. But we suggest you find a full-spectrum oil. Because, thanks to its high-potency, ease of use, and increased bioavailability, you’ll get better results.

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