There are two different kinds of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a short-term process occurring in response to tissue injury, usually appearing within minutes or hours. It is characterized by five cardinal signs: pain, redness, immobility, swelling and heat. Chronic inflammation happens when the acute inflammation response lingers, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Over time, chronic inflammation may have a negative impact on your tissues and organs.
A study published in 2015 found that clinical depression is linked with 30% more inflammation in the brain. A couple of years later, Dr. Peter Talbot and other researchers based at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom conducted a study testing the levels of a biomarker associated with brain inflammation in the systems of people diagnosed with clinical depression. Dr. Talbot and his colleagues tested the levels of translocator proteins in people diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
Elevated levels of translocator proteins (TSPO) activate microglia. Microglia are a type of neuroglia cells that are located throughout the brain and spinal cord. They act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system. (1) Microglial activation indicates brain inflammation. People with depression who were experiencing suicidal thoughts were found to exhibit significantly higher levels of TSPO, associated with microglial activation and indicating inflammation of the brain.
PET scans showed inflammation was most severe among the participants with the most severe depression. (2) Severe depression affects 4% of the general population. However, more than half of people with major depression do not respond to antidepressants. What if we focused on a CBD supplement regimen and an anti-inflammatory diet instead?
There is strong evidence suggesting that nonpsychoactive cannabinoids can alleviate chronic inflammatory and neuropathic pain in animals. (3) CBD shows potential as a plant-derived anti-inflammatory without the side effects of pharmaceutical or NSAID medications.
- A 2015 review published in Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry discussed the anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. The reviewers found that CBD reduces inflammation through several pathways in the body, and represents an effective potential treatment for a range of conditions characterized by inflammation.
- A 2017 study in the journal Pain examined the effects of CBD in male rats with osteoarthritis. After two weeks, acute inflammation of the joints was reduced by local CBD treatment applied to the area. The administration of CBD was also found to prevent the development of nerve damage and joint pain.
- A 2018 study published in Neurology, CBD binds to and desensitizes receptors known to mediate pain and sensory perception, inflammation, and body temperature.
Chronic inflammation may be greatly reduced by a daily regimen of CBD alongside a varied diet of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These include foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, such as:
- olive oil
- leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
- fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges
Not all depression may be linked to brain inflammation. Looking at viable options that do not have adverse side-affects if antidepressants are not easing the experience may be worth the effort of trying. As CBD becomes more of a common supplement for the public to consume, hopefully more research is applied to this important subject.
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