cbd oil for flu symptoms

Sick Day Essentials: Hemp Oil Benefits for Immune System Support

Within a few weeks the United States went from a handful of coronavirus cases to over 600. The worldwide epidemic has prompted people to be more mindful of their health and interactions with others. A stronger immune system can give you peace of mind during these troubled times, and natural supplements for sickness are a great way to boost your body’s defense. But what exactly can hemp oil do for you during sick days at home?

It would be silly for us to assume CBD could combat COVID-19 ( or any other virus for that matter). The fact is there isn’t enough research on the novel coronavirus or preventative medications.

Hemp cannabinoids might not provide a foolproof solution to thwarting sickness, but studies speculate hemp plant extracts like CBD oil can help strengthen the immune system and suppress flu-like symptoms.

Research shows cannabinoids might be immunosuppressant and have the ability to increase white blood cells, which are responsible for protecting the body against infections. Other immunomodulating agents include antibodies and vaccines.

CBD interacts with the production of interleukins (glycoproteins in the immune system) when the body is struggling with cold symptoms. CBD is not a direct treatment to sickness, but it can maintain your body’s natural resilience.

Dr. Melamede from the University of Colorado theorized that cannabis could strengthen the immune system and reduce the number of swine flu deaths back in a 2009 statement when H1N1 affected hundreds and thousands worldwide. Whether his speculations were true or not, daily CBD doses can get you on the right track toward bettering your health and wellness.

We know hemp interacts with the immune system at a molecular level, it’s just a question to what extent and how effective is hemp in preventing illnesses?

What we do know is CBD has shown to be just about anti-everything. The cannabinoid’s properties include anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, analgesic, and antiemetic (prevents nausea and vomiting).

Such properties can reduce discomfort provoked by flu-like feelings and aches. Ultimately, don’t think of these CBD benefits as cures, but ways to mitigate cold symptoms. Hemp oil for colds can relax the body and promote sleep. And rest is one of the best ways to stimulate recovery during an illness.

There are theories that CBD can help assist autoimmune disease symptoms like rheumatoid arthritis. In a similar fashion, cannabinoids can assist the immune response to lessen stress, inflammation, and overwork in the system.

Hemp Products to Use When Sick:

  • We recommend a full spectrum hemp oil to promote balance in the immune system. You can use the CBD oil throughout the day and before bed to maintain better rest.

Hemp Products to Avoid When Sick:

  • Sugary CBD edibles like gummy bears will increase inflammation due to the sugar intake. If you take edibles while sick, make sure they are sugar-free.
  • Vaporizers or smokable hemp flower could further inflame the lungs if you are already sensitive from coughing or mucus buildup. These products should only be used when your throat isn’t sore.

Before using CBD products, consult your doctor. If you are taking medications to treat a cold or virus infection, cannabinoids might hinder the drug’s effects. If your doctor prescribes a pharmaceutical drug, double check to make sure hemp is still safe to consume.

Not all doctors are familiar with hemp cannabinoids like CBD. If they are unsure whether or not CBD would inhibit a specific prescription, ask them if grapefruit should be avoided while taking the medication. Grapefruit and hemp tend to have the same interactions with drugs.

As always, the best thing to do to prevent catching the flu or a virus is to consistently wash your hands, avoid contact with others, and don’t share drinks or food. Your body can benefit from a daily hemp oil dosage, but it shouldn’t be your only line of defense in supporting your health and wellness.

Should You Take CBD Oil When You Have the Flu?

Every family has their own time-honored methods for dealing with the dreaded flu, from chicken soup and Sprite to herbal tea and essential oils. Typically, these “treatments” don’t make things worse — but they don’t always help as much as we’d like. That’s why a growing number of people are wondering if CBD (the versatile, non-intoxicating cannabis compound that’s taken the world by storm lately) might provide a more effective solution.

It’s not hard to see the appeal of this highly accessible over-the-counter (albeit expensive) remedy. But does it actually work?

What Is “the Flu,” Exactly?

Known in scientific circles as influenza, the flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Most people recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some will develop complications which can lead to hospitalization or even death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the number of U.S. flu cases each year in the tens of millions, hospitalizations in the hundreds of thousands, and deaths in the tens of thousands.

The flu usually comes on suddenly, as opposed to colds, which come on gradually. People with the flu will have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The chances of catching the flu gradually fall as people age, but older adults are at greater risk of life-threatening complications.

What Does the Research Say About CBD and Flu Symptoms?

CBD has been shown in animal studies to have immunosuppressive qualities — one of the reasons it’s believed by some researchers to be effective against inflammation and in the treatment of autoimmune diseases is due to its ability to induce cell death in immune cells. However, other studies have shown that it has an immune boosting function in some cases, and does things like increase white blood cell counts in immunodeficiency disorders such as HIV.

The picture grows even more complicated when we consider the theoretical role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the immune system. Researchers believe CBD can “enhance” the ECS by interacting with cannabinoid receptors throughout the body — which could help the ECS regulate all bodily systems, including the immune system. The cell death that CBD induces in immune cells is also part of a properly functioning immune system.

But most people with the flu take CBD for its more tangible effects on pain and soreness, headaches, and nausea. While there aren’t any published clinical trials on CBD and pain, ongoing preclinical studies in animals show that CBD reduces pain and inflammation, and studies of CBD in humans provide evidence that it is well-tolerated and has few negative side effects.

“There are also observational studies that ask why people use CBD and if it’s effective, and results tend to be quite positive,” as Kevin Boehnke, Ph.D., a research investigator at Michigan Medicine Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center, told the Michigan Medicine blog. “People report using CBD for anxiety, pain, sleep — all things that go hand-in-hand with chronic pain.”

What about CBD’s effects on headaches? Though there have been no studies on pure CBD’s anti-headache effects, it has shown promise in the treatment of migraines, as detailed in a 2017 review in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. In addition, its hypotensive effects in lowering blood pressure suggest it might have headache-calming effects.

When it comes to nausea and vomiting — some of the flu’s most common and least pleasant symptoms — CBD has also shown promise. A 2011 study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that the cannabinoid could help regulate nausea and vomiting within a limited dose range.

What Are the Most Effective Ways to Take CBD?

The most effective CBD delivery methods vary on a case-to-case basis. If you have a cough, inhaled CBD may not be the way to go. If you have nausea, skip the oral route. If you feel like you’re never going to get over the flu, you may want to avoid CBD altogether — its not-totally-known effect on the immune system may usher in a relapse.

However, these immunosuppressive qualities could come in handy when battling a fever or runny nose. These are both immune responses to the flu virus.

There are also products made specifically for cold-and-flu symptoms, like CBD saline nasal sprays created for the express purpose of unblocking a nostril or two.

Are There Any Potential Downsides to Using CBD When You Have the Flu?

CBD’s action on the immune system hasn’t been studied sufficiently to this point, and its potential effects on the flu, where immunity figures in so heavily, are hard to predict.

Also, since there are still no federal regulations governing CBD, contaminated products are unfortunately common. Common contaminants include pesticides, heavy metals, and even organisms like salmonella — none of which are particularly helpful in getting over the flu.

With that in mind, if you’re interested in using a CBD product while you have the flu, make sure it’s been tested by an independent third-party laboratory. And before you fork over your money, ask your doctor about potential interactions with other medications — while CBD is generally recognized as safe by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other respected institutions, it’s best to play it safe.