CBD and Autoimmune Disease: What Do the Studies Say?

If you’re among the 23 – 50 million Americans living with an autoimmune disease, you probably know the frustration of being at war with your own body.

Autoimmune disease occurs when your immune system goes into overdrive, attacking healthy organs and tissues instead of bacteria and viruses. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and organ damage, and can take the form of chronic conditions like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Graves’ disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease. Scientists have discovered at least 80-100 autoimmune diseases, with a growing number of people affected each year.

Currently there is no cure for autoimmune conditions. Instead, mainstream medicine has focused on treating the symptoms with steroids, anti-inflammatories, pain pills, and other pharmaceuticals. Some autoimmune patients even receive chemotherapy or intravenous biologics to suppress their immune system and decrease the severity of their symptoms.

“The only thing tough enough to kick my butt is me.”

— Unknown

In recent years, an increasing number of autoimmune patients have turned to natural healing methods, including clean and plant-based diets, herbal supplements, and CBD. With the loosening of prohibitions on cannabis and hemp, financing has been poured into researching the effect of CBD on autoimmune disease.

Scientists are just beginning to understand the method by which cannabinoids, including CBD, suppress overactive immune systems. CBD may act in a few different ways, by suppressing cytokine production in human immune cells, causing the death of certain immune cells, inhibiting immune cell propagation, and suppressing T-cell production memory.

Initial studies indicate CBD may have a few helpful qualities. This could have beneficial effects on a wide range of immune-mediated diseases, especially when the CBD is full-spectrum or whole plant and contains other cannabinoids, cannaflavins, and terpenes. All of these compounds work together synergistically through the “Entourage Effect.”

While research is ongoing, initial studies have identified two terpenes that may be of especial interest to the autoimmune community: (1) the spicy, peppery terpene known as “Beta-caryophyllene”, which is hypothesized to reduce inflammation by triggering our CB2 receptors, and (2) a lemony terpene called “myrcene”, which boasts anti-inflammatory qualities. MendCBD+ contains both of these terpenes, along with an array of minor cannabinoids and elevated levels of cannabigerol or CBG.

CBD Is an Adaptogen

Instead of working on a specific system or symptom, CBD triggers receptors that balance physiological processes, including immune system function. CBD is biphasic and may cause different results depending on your underlying issues and body chemistry. Research indicates that CBD may regulate immune activity down if it’s too active, and if the immune system is too slow, CBD may increase its activity. In this way CBD appears to modulate the immune system rather than suppressing it.

It’s thought that CBD works best in conjunction with a health diet and positive lifestyle choices. As always, we recommend you consult with your physician before embarking on any CBD regimen.

MendCBD+ does not support unverified claims that CBD is a magic cure for any illness. Instead, we invite everyone to view public research on CBD, documented by medical professionals and accredited institutions.


Kaplan, B., et. al (2008, September 15) The Profile of Immune Modulation by Cannabidiol (CBD) Involves Deregulation of Nuclear Factor of Activated T Cells (NFAT), Biochem Pharmacol., Volume 76(6): 726-737. Retrieved on October 11, 2019 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748879/

Srivastava MD, Srivastava BI, Brouhard B (1998) Delta9 tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol alter cytokine production by human immune cells. Immunopharmacology, Volume 40(3): 179–85.Retrieved on October 13, 2019 at https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0162310998000411

Rider, S., et. al (2010, May 20) Cannabinoid-induced apoptosis in immune cells as a pathway to immunosuppression, Immunobiology. Retrieved on October 13, 2019 at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005548/

Elliot, D., et. al (2018, August 3) Cannabidiol Attenuates Experimental Autoimmune Enchephalomyelitis Model of Multiple Sclerosis Through Induction of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells. Retrieved on October 13, 2019 athttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6085417/

What Is Immune System Balance and Can CBD Help?

Your immune system is an amazing machine. When functioning properly, it has two main lines of defense. These mechanisms work together to protect your body from invaders.

These defenses operate in two main ways:

  • Through T-cell lymphocytes, which go on hunting trips to find and destroy foreign antigens through “apoptosis,” which is basically “programmed cell suicide”; and
  • Through B-cell lymphocytes, which produce antigens that poison foreign pathogens.

These two systems work in tandem, complementing each other and operating in relative balance. However, when one system becomes dominant over the other, problems can occur.

If your immune system becomes underactive, it may fail to recognize and suppress errant cells, leading to tumors or cancer.  In contrast, if your immune system becomes overactive, it can mistake your own proteins for a foreign virus or intruder, leading your body to attack its own tissues and resulting in autoimmune disease. At this time, scientists know about more than 100 autoimmune diseases. The National Institute of Health speculates that 23.5 million Americans are affected by such diseases, while the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. puts the number at a whopping 50 million.

“The immune system constantly creates genes on the fly that are specific to the things that show up in the body. It’s amazing.” – Erez Lieberman Aiden

Based on a number of studies, researchers have speculated that consistent doses of CBD may promote balance between T-cell and B-cell lymphocyte functions, helping them to work in harmony.

Cannabinoid science is in its early infancy and more research is needed. However, many scientists believe CBD has the potential to soothe overactive immune systems and boost underactive ones, contributing to proper immune response.


Biles, Mary (2019, May 8) Immune System: A Complex Balancing Act [Web Log Post]. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.thefix.com/how-cbd-oil-permanently-changed-my-autoimmune-condition

Booz, George W. (2011, January 14) Cannabidiol as an Emergent Therapeutic Strategy for Lessening the Impact of Inflammation on Oxidative Stress [Web Version of Journal Article published in final edited form as Free Radic. Biol. Med. 2011 Sep 1; 51(5): 1054-1061]. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085542/

Mecha, M., et. al (2013, November) Cannabidiol provides long-lasting protection against the deleterious effects of inflammation in a viral model of multiple sclerosis: A role for A2A receptors[Science Direct Article]. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0969996113001939

American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (date unknown) Autoimmune Disease Statistics [Web Archives]. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.aarda.org/news-information/statistics/#targetText=The%20National%20Institutes%20of%20Health,Americans%20suffer%20from%20autoimmune%20disease.

Activate Your Cannabinoid Receptors

Welcome to the final frontier in your body.

By now you’ve probably heard of the far-reaching endocannabinoid system (ECS). Every human and animal (except for insects) has one. The ECS is comprised of several different types of receptors and enzymes, and is involved in cellular signaling throughout our organs and tissues.

While researchers have made progress, there’s still much to learn. Scientists are discovering new kinds of cannabinoid receptors every day. They’re also making new discoveries about the two most common types of ECS receptors – CB1 and CB2 – and how they are activated.

CB1 Receptors

CB1 receptors primarily affect our nervous system, and are found in our brains, spinal cords, nerves, intestines, and connective tissues. When activated by a cannabinoid, CB1 receptors cause retrograde signaling in the following areas:

  • Memory and Brain
  • Digestion & Gut
  • Immune System
  • Joint and Connective Tissues

CB2 Receptors

While CB1 receptors primarily work on the brain and nervous system, CB2 receptors are generally associated with the immune system. CB2 receptors are scattered throughout various parts of the body, including the spleen, tonsils, thymus, immune cells, monocytes, macrophages, and B and T cell lymphocytes. Studies about the activation of CB2 receptors and the potential effects on neurodegenerative, autoimmune, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and psychiatric diseases are underway. Additional research is being performed on the role CB2 receptors may play in inflammation, pain, and bone and skin health.


MendCBD+ has been specifically blended with cannabinoids and terpenes to activate your CB1, CB2, and other receptors. Carefully-chosen terpenes – including β-Caryophyllene, myrcene, like those in the coveted Harlequin strain – bind with CB2 receptors. MendCBD+ also includes food-grade essential oils like frankincense and turmeric, which have been shown to improve the activation of endocannabinoid receptors.



Begg M., et. al (2005) “Evidence for novel cannabinoid receptors”, Pharmacol. Therp.Vol. 106, Issue 2: 133-145. Retrieved October 10, 2019 from 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2004.11.005.

Zou, Shenglong and Kumar, Ujendra (2018, March 13) “Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System.” Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/.

Russo, E. (2016, July 1) “Clinical Endocannabinoids Deficiency (CED): Can this Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Other Treatment-Resistant Conditions?”, Cannabis Canninboid Res., Volume 1(1): 154-165. Retrieved November 5, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576607/.

How Does CBD Work?

Everyone has heard about the potential of CBD, but how does it work?

Scientists have recently discovered we have an endocannabinoid system (“ECS”) – a chain of receptors in our connective tissues, skin, and organs. From our brains to our toes, all mammals have this signal chain. It regulates our systems and helps our bodies run smoothly.

But how does this far-reaching system work, and how can it help you?

Scientists are just beginning to understand the power of our ECS to regulate cellular function. Receptors in our ECS attach to, and are activated by, molecules called “cannabinoids.”  These cannabinoids occur naturally in mother’s milk and are produced by our own bodies into adulthood. They are also found in certain plants, and are especially prevalent in hemp.

Ultimately cannabinoids – whether created by our bodies or consumed from hemp – connect with receptors in the ECS, like a key fits into a lock. This sets off a chain reaction, causing our cells to transmit materials and information to each other.

Interestingly, the ECS communicates in the opposite direction of most intercellular signals through a process called “retrograde signaling.” This allows the ECS to function as a policing system, imposing checks and balances on our cell activity. The ECS tells our cells to stop working once they finish their jobs, which promotes biological balance and homeostasis. Researchers believe this may even help regulate immunity, lower our body temperature, and increase feelings of calmness.

But what happens when we get stressed, tired, or sick?

When our bodies are stressed they may become deficient in endocannabinoid molecules. Luckily we can help by consuming phytocannabinoids, including those in the flowers and stalks of hemp. These plant molecules – including CBD, CBG, CBN, and others – resemble the endocannabinoids created by our bodies, attaching to our ECS and a setting off the reverse chain of intercellular signaling. This is how CBD and other cannabinoids regulate various system functions, contributing to balance and wellness.

Recent CBD research has taken off, with more medical professionals seeing results from their initial investigations. Longer term, more detailed studies are needed, but the consensus is CBD has favorable outcomes and few side effects for most people.


Biles, Mary (2019, May 8) Immune System: A Complex Balancing Act [Web Log Post]. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.thefix.com/how-cbd-oil-permanently-changed-my-autoimmune-condition

Russo, E. (2016, July 1) “Clinical Endocannabinoids Deficiency (CED): Can this Concept Explain Therapeutic Benefits of Cannabis in Migraine, Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and Other Treatment-Resistant Conditions?”, Cannabis Canninboid Res., Volume 1(1): 154-165. Retrieved November 5, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5576607/.

Zou, Shenglong and Kumar, Ujendra (2018, March 13) Cannabinoid Receptors and the Endocannabinoid System: Signaling and Function in the Central Nervous System. Retrieved October 8, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5877694/

I’m New to CBD; What Can I Expect?

New to CBD? We’re excited you’re taking the plunge. You’ll be thanking yourself soon.

CBD (short for “cannabidiol”) is a naturally-occurring compound in cannabis and hemp plants. It comes in many forms, including tinctures, topicals, capsules, vapes, smokable flower, and edibles.

While its cannabinoid cousin, THC, is responsible for the “high” from marijuana use, CBD is non-psychoactive. CBD users experience many of the same benefits of cannabis without the changes to appetite, mood, sense of time, or sensory perception associated with THC use.

Because hemp CBD doesn’t get you high and you don’t need to buy it through a dispensary, more Americans are turning to it to feel better. CBD research is in its infancy, and we don’t know much about the impact of cannabinoids on specific maladies. However, studies have indicated CBD may have positive effects on your gut microbiome, stress levels, and overall health. We encourage you to investigate.

We also encourage you to give it time. In our experience, change doesn’t usually come overnight. Certain health and wellness issues respond quickly while others can take days, weeks, or months to feel the full the effects of CBD. Each person is different, and what works for one individual may be different for another.

As MendCBD+ is a high-potency product, we recommend starting with a low dose and slowly increasing one drop at a time, until you find the optimal dose for your body. It may be helpful to use a phone app or journal to monitor your dosage, symptoms, and wellness levels. As always, we recommend consulting with your physician prior to beginning MendCBD+ or any CBD program.