Chronic Inflammation: How Your Endocannabinoid System Can Help
In a recent MyJane MyStory podcast with Dr. Dung Trinh, our listeners learned all about chronic inflammation and its effects on your health.
Dr. Dung Trinh is a chief medical officer of Irvine Clinical Research, a board member of Alzheimer’s Orange County, and the founder of the Physician’s CBD Council.
Inflammation – Good or Bad?
To start, Dr. Trinh helped us to uncover what inflammation is, and whether it is good or bad. “Inflammation is like a fever,” he says. When you have a cold or other injury, your immune system sends “soldiers” to defend your body and promote healing in that area, causing redness, swelling, and heat. This is a normal and healthy response. “But imagine having a fever every day for a month,” Dr. Trinh continues. If your body is going through constant inflammation, or chronic inflammation, that’s like, “going to war…and experiencing friendly fire.” Chronic inflammation is bad.
Chronic Inflammation as a Cause of Disease
Dr. Trinh tells us that chronic inflammation is linked to chronic disease. One example he gives is heart disease. When someone is diagnosed with heart disease, we immediately think the cause of the problem is clogged arteries from cholesterol and plaque buildup. “But why does the cholesterol get stuck to your artery?” Dr. Trinh challenges. He says that cholesterol binds to the arteries because the lining of the artery becomes damaged, making the lining sticky. “Where does the damage come from?” you may wonder. Dr. Trinh explains that arterial damage is caused by chronic inflammation.
Using many other examples, Dr. Trinh says that inflammation is the true cause of chronic disease in many parts of your body, including arthritis in your joints, encephalitis in the lungs, and health issues in the brain like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
What Can We Do About Inflammation?
In order to avoid inflammation, you should know that it is primarily caused by our lifestyles. Through proper nutrition and stress control, you can reduce inflammation in your body. Try to incorporate more anti-inflammatory foods like fish oil, turmeric, garlic, cinnamon and other supplements and vitamins. Also, you should avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as sugar, fried foods, red meats, and fast food.
Inflammation is also caused by excess amounts of stress hormones, like cortisol. Dr. Trinh gives an example of a study that demonstrates that yoga poses and meditation can help to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s by reducing your stress and thereby reducing inflammation.
What About Cannabis?
Another way to reduce inflammation is through cannabis. Cannabis stimulates the endocannabinoid system, which is a regulatory system in your body, much like your nervous system or endocrine system. The endocannabinoid system’s main function is to bring your body into a state of balance, which Dr. Trinh uses the scientific term for: “homeostasis.” By stimulating the endocannabinoid system, cannabis can reduce inflammation and create balance, since inflammation is a state of imbalance in your body.
Dr. Dung Trinh has a lot of experience with patients coming to him with cannabidiol products, surprised and excited about how it made them feel. Many of his patients told Dr. Trinh they are taking far less prescription pain medications, sleeping better, experiencing less anxiety, finding relief from PTSD, multiple-sclerosis and many other conditions. After hearing their stories, he went to look for more research to explain their testimonies, which is how he became an advocate for cannabis and its reported positive effects on inflammation.
According to Dr. Trinh, there is more research that needs to be done on the effects of cannabis and inflammation on specific chronic diseases, but the implications could potentially be great.
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