Endometriosis – en-doemee-tree-oh-sis — is a disease affecting the reproductive organs in female bodies. It’s often painful, and sometimes debilitatingly painful. It’s estimated that there are around half a million Canadian women with endometriosis. The unfortunate reality for many women with endometriosis is that it is life-long and there are very few treatment options.

But endometriosis is slowly becoming one of those significant avenues of cannabis research. As scientists discover the connection between the endocannabinoid system and endometriosis pain, some evidence is suggesting that it’s a plausible treatment.

Given how debilitating endometriosis pain is, and how few treatment options there are outside of surgery, endometriosis treatment is becoming a serious issue. On top of this, many women go undiagnosed for years as just having “bad period pain” before admitted for testing. 

It seems that more recently, endometriosis research is emerging from the shadows, and with it, the potential of cannabis for treatment of endometriosis pain at the very least.

In this article, we’re checking out some of the latest research and what the science says about the significance of medical cannabis in treating endometriosis.

What is endometriosis and how does it happen?

An egg and sperm concept image created with a fried egg and beans
@bidan_konsultasi_kehamilan12

Endometriosis is the disease that ensues when endometrial tissue grows in places other than the uterine cavity. The overgrowth of endometrial tissue can happen anywhere around the pelvic area. In severe conditions, the tissue will grow and form melds between organs or tissues that are not meant to be melded together. Endometriosis is associated with severe, chronic pelvic pain especially during menstruation. Other symptoms include excessive bleeding, painful sex, painful bowel movements and urination, fatigue and nausea. 

Even though the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterine cavity, it still bleeds as though it would if it were in the correct place. It’s thought that this is what causes the pain associated with endometriosis. 

One of the few explanations for what causes endometriosis includes retrograde menstruation. It happens that endometrial progenitor cells (endometrial stem cells) are sometimes shed during menstruation. It can also happen that menstrual blood containing endometrial progenitor cells travel backwards through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. 

Another explanation is that immune disorders might make it hard for the body to identify and manage overgrowth in endometrial tissue.

Although we don’t know the exact cause of endometriosis, there are some associated risk factors:

  • Getting the period at a young age and/or going through menopause at an older age
  • Low BMI
  • A relative with endometriosis
  • Other reproductive tract abnormalities

It’s estimated that around 7% of women in Canada live with endometriosis and around half are aged 18-29 when they are first diagnosed. 

Endometriosis and the endocannabinoid system.

A conceptual image of the female reproductive system including a papaya and hands
@lifewithchronic

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is implicated in a lot of different aspects of female health. For example, endogenous cannabinoids levels fluctuate greatly during the menstrual cycle. These fluctuations play a role in the different steps and processes of the menstrual cycle such as regulation of oocyte maturation. This puts the ECS under the spotlight when it comes to female reproductive disorders like endometriosis.

In one rodent study, researchers found that the CB1 receptor is expressed on the nerve fibres that play a role in endometriosis pain. More specifically, they found that CB1 agonists decrease endometriosis-related pain while CB1 antagonists increase hyperalgesia. To put that into real life context, THC is a CB1 agonist.

In a 2016 study, researchers found that women with endometriosis had elevated levels of endogenous cannabinoids throughout the menstrual cycle but decreased expression of the CB1 receptor. This discovery lends itself to the idea that CB1 expression and endocannabinoid levels play a huge role in endometriosis pain. The overexpression of endogenous cannabinoids may hinder their ability to moderate pain, creating a negative feedback loop system. 

In other research, researchers have suggested that reduced functionality of the ECS leads to overgrowth of endometrial tissue, suggesting that underlying endometriosis is actually an endocannabinoid deficiency. 

Can cannabis help with endometriosis?

A cannabis plant in a red vase
@eir_club

There is no known cure for endometriosis despite there being multiple lines of treatment. Some women opt not to get a period at all and take eostrogen to stop periods. Some women undergo surgery to remove the endometrial tissue that has grown in the pelvic region. However, the tissue can grow back and surgery might be required again. Others simply use painkillers to manage the pain without other kinds of treatment.

Surgery isn’t typically considered for women who aren’t at risk of complications due to their endometriosis (infertility, the melding of organs, etc.). Which often means that pain management is one of the only long-term options available. And that’s where cannabis seems to be able to help.

THC might help with endometriosis in more ways than just being analgesic, because endometriosis-related pain is a special kind of pain. THC has been shown to modify uterine innervation, reducing the hypersensitivity of the nerve fibers responsible for endometriosis related pain. In the same research, THC was also able to reduce or inhibit the development of endometrial cysts.

In one Australian study, women who used cannabis had the highest self-reported effectiveness in pain management strategies for endometriosis. 

So cannabis might not be curing endometriosis, but it looks like cannabis might be an effective strategy for dealing with endometriosis pain at home. From both anecdotal evidence and scientific evidence, there’s reason to believe that THC might have a role to play in endometriosis pain management in the future.

Cannabis and women’s health.

Trying to understand cannabis and endometriosis should highlight two very important things: one, the endocannabinoid system plays a major role in women’s reproductive health and two, cannabis has the power to interfere with that. The understanding that THC might alter the way that uterine tissue is innervated might also explain why so many women love using cannabis to treat period pain in general, whether it’s endometriosis-related or not.

Knowing that the ECS is so heavily implicated in women’s health also means that women should feel empowered into using cannabis in a healthy way. 

Ladies out there with endometriosis — have you ever tried cannabis? Does it help with your pain? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

A soothing golden smoothie that delivers the final flavours of summer.

A passionate and creative Latinx based in Toronto, Jen Marsil embodies health & wellness. She is a creator, a writer and cannabis enthusiast who enjoys adventures both in literature and in the real world. Her mission: to introduce you to a different vision of what it means to be healthy — while reminding us that it doesn’t always have to be bland. Check her out @j_marsil:


Different season, different ingredients.

As the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter, I felt like I needed a pick me up. Something different from my regular green smoothies. I wanted to do something bright and fun but also still have the added benefit of my regular smoothies.

So today I present you with the soothing mellow smoothie: a light yellow protein-filled smoothie packed with anti-oxidants to help relieve indigestion and inflammation that’s packed with antioxidants — all with the added anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, analgesic (pain-killing), immune-modulating benefits of Twisted Extracts’ CBD tinctures.

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Before 🥭🍍🥒🥑🍌🌱🍊🍯
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After 🍹

Why add CBD to this smoothie recipe?

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CBD has been an integral part of my smoothies because of the calming effects and relief it gives me, soothing my stomach and calming nausea. This simple smoothie allows me to manage my symptoms and still give me the boost of energy I need to get things done throughout the day.

The “Soothing Mellow Yellow” smoothie recipe.

A smoothie with anti-inflammatory and digestive powers. The tangy mango and pineapple, warming turmeric, and refreshing orange combination in this satisfying smoothie really starts the day off right.

Total time 5 minutes

Ingredients.

20 mg CBD Tincture
1 cup Mango
1 cup Pineapple
1 Avocado 
1 tbsp Flax Seeds
1tbsp Chia Seeds
2 Bananas
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/2 cup Coconut Yogurt
2 Freshly Squeezed Oranges
1 tbsp Honey Garnish 

Instructions.

Blend on high. Sip in bliss.

Hope you all enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments below. 👇🏽

CBD is arguably the most trending thing in the 21st century. The legalization of cannabis swept the world and throughout that process, the technology of cannabis product manufacture has advanced exponentially. One of the outcomes of that technology was the ability to isolate cannabinoids  — and that’s how we got CBD-only and THC-only therapeutics.

Before this quantum leap in the cannabis world, cannabis was plain and simply, cannabis. There was very little interest in the myriad cannabinoids, terpenes, and other biologically active compounds in the cannabis plant. Now that we are discovering those compounds might have therapeutic properties, it’s become one of the fastest growing bodies of research ever.

But there’s a lot of hype about CBD.

How much of it is just hype and how much of it is true? It’s a question on so many people’s lips and the answer isn’t all that complicated when we break it down. Just like every other drug on the planet, there are certain health conditions for which CBD seems to work extremely well, and others for which it doesn’t have a pronounced effect.

Harvard professors seem to feel the same. Let’s have a look at what they think about the hottest cannabinoid on the market.

Not a panacea, but a therapeutic for certain conditions.

There is a mountain of evidence supporting the use of CBD in a multitude of different conditions, but that doesn’t make it a panacea. For example, even though CBD is anti-inflammatory, it’s not the recommended drug for a stomach ulcer or pancreatitis. 

According to Harvard professor, Dr. Levy, the greatest “benefit [he] has seen as a physician is in treating sleep disorders, anxiety, and pain.” Appropriately, there has been a lot of research on the use of CBD for insomnia, anxiety, and chronic pain. These are also the most common reasons for people to self-medicate with cannabis.

As we know, CBD is also hugely on the radar as a treatment for epilepsy. In fact, there already exists a CBD-based, FDA approved epilepsy drug called Epidiolex. 

As well as this, CBD is being investigated for its potential in treating other treatment-resistant conditions such as fibromyalgia, IBS, and migraines.

Separating CBD’s qualities from its affinities.

A hand moves puzzle pieces to conceptualize relationships and affinities

Just because CBD is anti-inflammatory, doesn’t mean that every single inflammatory condition can be treated with CBD. For example, CBD might be able to reduce inflammation and pain in arthritis, but it will probably have zero effect on inflammation caused by a localized infection or conjunctivitis.

While CBD has the quality of being anti-inflammatory, it doesn’t have an affinity for every single organ in the body. CBD doesn’t even have much of an affinity for CB1 and CB2 receptors, as we now know, which means that we have to look at it differently to THC. It also means that to understand where and how it might be used, we have to look at where it goes once it gets into the body.

Now, all of that is a lot of really complicated scientific language about receptors and what not. For the purpose of this article, it’s not all that important. In our blog, we talk about the different ways CBD and THC work in different medical conditions and we go into much greater detail.

For the purpose of this article, it’s important to understand the difference between a quality and an affinity. In another example, we can look at Milk Thistle, a common herb used in herbal medicine. It has the quality of being an appetite stimulant, but it does this through an affinity for the liver. It doesn’t exert this effect through brain chemistry, for example (which is what THC does). It exerts this effect by targeting the liver. 

A quality is the effect it’s likely to have, and the affinity is where it’s most likely to take place.

Why all the controversy?

A man holds fake news newspaper to conceptualize controversy

There’s no doubt that all the controversy into the effectiveness of cannabis stems from the fact that for the 100 years prior to legalization, cannabis got nothing but bad press. But we also have to acknowledge something fundamental about the study of plants that is very different to the study of drugs.

As part of my studies in herbal medicine, I was required to study Western drug pharmacology. In pharmacology, a drug has one or a number of active ingredients. The drug is designed to target a specific receptor or kind of cell in the body, and it carries out its processes.

In herbal medicine, a plant has at least a dozen pharmacologically active compounds. So which one should we study? And how should we know if the compounds interact with each other once they get into the body? There are many more complexities in studying herbal medicine, which is also often why there’s inconsistencies between study results. Another thing that creates complexity when studying CBD, cannabis, or other herbal medicines is that the preparation (such as dose, extraction form, quality of the herb, its phytochemical profile, etc.) varies greatly between studies. At this stage, nobody really knows what the ideal dose of CBD is for a certain condition — when studies are being designed, it’s mostly guesswork.

If studying pharmacology of Western drugs is kind of like following a recipe, studying herbal medicine is kind of like doing a sudoku puzzle. In pharmacology, a drug is designed to have a specific effect. In herbal medicine, we’re looking for what specific effects a whole multitude of compounds might have.

Medicinal CBD is just that — medicinal. And in medicine, doctors don’t just throw around prescriptions. If you’ve got cardiovascular problems, you probably don’t need to be taking cancer medication. It’s the same for CBD. It can be used for many wonderful things, including just to stay healthy. But taking CBD thinking it’s going to cure every disease you have is naive and a complete misinterpretation of the entire concept of medicinal cannabis.

Stay up to date with our blog for in-depth articles about the research surrounding CBD and other cannabinoids with respect to certain health conditions. 

What have you used CBD for? Did it work? We’d love to hear from you in the comments! 

It seems like we’re discovering new cannabinoids everyday — and that’s because we are. Scientific research into cannabis has opened the proverbial can of worms, and we often find ourselves discovering things about cannabis we would never have even guessed. Not that long ago, we published an article about tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV) and how it talks to our endocannabinoid systems. Today we’re going a little more in depth.

More and more research is emerging about how THCV can be applied in the context of medical cannabis. Obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation and chronic pain are among some of the medical conditions and symptoms THCV is showing promise for. 

Most of us associate cannabis with an increased appetite. It’s a good herb for those wasting away due to cancer and its related therapies. But THCV is different. 

THCV might actually reduce the appetite and offer a potential cannabis-based treatment for obesity.

THCV is a little bit of an anomaly in the world of cannabinoids. That’s why it’s so interesting and worth checking out how it works in some of the Western world’s hardest to manage diseases.

THCV, diabetes, and insulin resistance.

A person with gloves administering insulin for diabetes

There’s a lot of exciting research going on about THCV’s role in Type 2 Diabetes, sometimes referred to as “insulin resistance”. To put things in context, there are two kinds of diabetes: the first, you’re born with (Type 1), while the second (Type 2) is acquired. Acquired insulin resistance can happen because of lifestyle factors, but genetics can also play a role. To give you an idea of how much a problem Type 2 Diabetes is in Canada, about 3 million people have it. That’s 8.1% of the population. To give you an idea of the worldwide problem, up to 1 in 11 people worldwide have Type 2 Diabetes.

We’re talking about something pretty serious here.

The reason Type 2 Diabetes is so hard to treat is because it takes a long time to happen. Insulin resistance happens very slowly as a response to consistently high blood sugar levels. Eventually, cells lose sensitivity to insulin and don’t let glucose inside the cell. This can eventually lead to a dysfunction in the way the pancreas produces insulin, as it essentially gets tired from constantly producing high levels of insulin. 

The complications of diabetes are serious. Consistently elevated blood-glucose levels can lead to nerve damage, blindness, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage and skin problems. Plus, without sugar entering cells, cells don’t have any energy to carry out cellular processes.

In a 2020 study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research, researchers found that THCV enhanced glycaemic control and up-regulated energy metabolism. More specifically, THCV use showed reduced fasting plasma glucose levels compared to the control group. In another study, researchers showed in murine studies that THCV increased insulin sensitivity.

It looks as though the underlying mechanisms of action of THCV are multifaceted when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes. The upregulation of energy metabolism, reduced fasting glucose levels, and increase in insulin sensitivity of cells are all factors that might make THCV interesting in the treatment of diabetes.

Research into THCV and obesity.

An obese woman sits on the couch with her dog reading a book

As you might guess, type 2 diabetes and obesity are highly correlated. Diabetes UK estimates that obesity counts for about 80-85% of the risk factor of developing Type 2 Diabetes. In developing countries this is a huge problem as the prevalence of obesity continues to rise.

Poor diet and lifestyle factors are the most highly implicated factors in the development of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. Excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, and sedentary lifestyle are all factors which may contribute to the development of these diseases. And as we know, nobody is born with Type 2 Diabetes, and very few children are born with obesity. These tend to be developmental problems that occur as a result of lifestyle factors, although genetics may interplay.

So what role does THCV have to play?

As we mentioned earlier, THCV might actually be an appetite suppressant. But before we get into some of this super sciency, very enlightening research, we have to talk about some of the physiological things we observe in obesity other than abdominal fat.

For example, in this research, researchers identified functional brain activity changes in women with obesity. This is important because the part of the brain this functional activity seems to affect is the reward system, which we know is highly implicated in obesity. 

Arguably the most exciting research we’ve found on cannabis ever is this:

In 2016, researchers set off to investigate how THCV affects the brain parts that are interconnected with the development of obesity, such as what we just mentioned. Researchers found that after administration of THCV, there was a decrease in the resting functional state of the default mode network, and an increase in functional connectivity in the brain control network. Both of these findings are consistent with THCV’s potential as a treatment for obesity. 

THCV has also been shown to be an appetite suppressant, but it’s not known what functions are at play to produce that effect. This research may be one of the ways that THCV suppresses appetite,  but we won’t know that for some time.

Don’t forget about the entourage effect.

Entourage effect is much like an orchestra working together

We’re always excited to bring to you the latest cannabinoid research. But we also never want you to forget the importance of the entourage effect.

Sometimes in cannabis research, we take the cannabinoid out of cannabis and it doesn’t seem to have the same clinical effects as when the plant is administered in its whole form. This is because we don’t know to what degree cannabinoids exert their effects with the help of other cannabinoids, terpenes, and compounds in cannabis. That’s to say — how much of it was done by one cannabinoid and how much of it was a team effort?

It’s something that makes it extremely difficult to study isolated cannabinoids. At the same time, we have to study isolated cannabinoids so that we know what they’re all about. 

THCV is like a finger on a hand. If you remove all the fingers, it’s not really a hand anymore and the hands can’t do their job. This shows the potency of the entourage effect and why you should always consider the entourage effect when reading cannabis research.

Strains high in THCV.

The good news is that THCV isn’t psychoactive like its cousin, THC. It can therefore be considered by those who don’t like the intoxicating effects of cannabis as is the case for those who prefer to use CBD. Here are a couple of the strains in the My Supply Co. pantry that are consistently high in THCV and worth checking out if you’re interested in this wonderful cannabinoid.

From the pantry

Girl Scout Cookies Vape Cart

As well as having high THC and CBN contents, Girl Scout Cookies also has higher than normal THCV levels. Euphoria and relaxation ensue after puffing on the Girl Scout Cookies Vape Cart, so get on it to feel the effects of THCV.

Durban Poison

So far as we know, Durban Poison contains the highest THCV content than any other strain of cannabis. This energetic sativa gets people on their feet and ready to tackle whatever the day has in store. Check it out for a hit of THCV.

Have you tried strains in THCV? How did they affect you? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

In the last article we published on inflammation, we talked about the connections between inflammation and certain diseases. We even pointed out that many of the diseases cannabis is useful in treating are linked with chronic inflammation. But to really understand how cannabis can help in treating inflammation, we have to get into the nitty-gritty of what inflammation actually is.

Put your geeky science glasses on because this is going to be a crash course in human biology.

Inflammation is arguably one of the body’s most important immune responses. It’s how the body responds to an attack from an external pathogen, to injury or infection. It’s completely necessary for survival and without it, humans wouldn’t live for very long.

Inflammation is not always a bad thing, and inflammation is not inherently pathogenic. Inflammation is the response from the immune system — not the disease itself. However, pathogenic immune responses do exist, such as in autoimmune diseases. Sometimes, inflammation becomes chronic and actually causes more damage than good. This is the kind of inflammation that requires medical intervention.

As we touched on in the last article, dementia is associated with chronic brain inflammation. Brain inflammation has also been observed during seizures, and we also know that researchers are making breakthrough discoveries about the role of inflammation in mental health such as depression. This research makes inflammation a target in the treatment of these diseases.

So before we get into the pharmacological actions of cannabis in terms of inflammation, let’s breakdown how and why inflammation happens.

What is inflammation and how does it happen?

A woman crouches down with pain and chronic illness

The inflammatory process typically happens in three stages:

  1. The acute phase 
  2. Tissue formation
  3. The remodelling phase

These three phases are all part of normal inflammatory physiology. It means that whenever somebody gets an injury or infection, this process takes place as part of healing. Let’s have a look at it in a little more detail.

Let’s assume that you acquire an injury and the tissue or skin is broken or damaged. This marks the beginning of the inflammatory process. Upon injury, specialised cells near to the site send chemical signals that dilate the nearby blood vessels and make them more permeable. These include histamine, prostaglandins, kinins, etc. 

The arrival of histamine and prostaglandins on the scene is what causes the redness, soreness, and itchiness that’s associated with a tissue injury. As the capillaries are more permeable and fluids and proteins leak from the capillaries, pain arrives as the site of the injury.

A diagram representing the inflammatory process.

Source

These chemical mediators also attract more specialized immune cells to the area that can come in and “police” the infection. Leukocytes such as neutrophils are able to arrive at the injury faster because of capillary dilation. They are also able to move through the capillary thanks to increased permeability, and can actually enter the site of infection.

Once these specialized immune cells have arrived, they essentially “consume” or “destroy” pathogenic material, dead tissue, and anything that isn’t required at the site. This is called phagocytosis, where a cell swallows pathogenic material and digests and destroys it. 

Once the infection has been handled by these specialised immune cells, tissue formation and the remodelling phase occur. This is when a scar forms or when the tissue heals back to its original state.

This is all part of normal, natural inflammation. Up until this point, it’s considered normal. But something happens that makes inflammation turn chronic. 

Why and how does inflammation become chronic?

There are a number of reasons that chronic inflammation might occur. As we mentioned, it’s usually at this point that inflammation turns from a good thing into a bad thing.

Some of the reasons for chronic inflammation include:

  • Failure of the immune system to completely remove the pathogen or infectious organism such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, or protozoa. Without complete removal, small parts of the organism remain in the body and cause low-grade, chronic inflammation.
  • Constant exposure to a low-level irritant or pollutant in the air or at workplaces.
  • Autoimmune disorders where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues causing inflammation where none is required.
  • Recurrent episodes of acute inflammation such as repeated injury or repeated infection.
  • Sometimes, as is the case with rheumatoid arthritis, chronic inflammation is an independent physiological response that doesn’t follow acute inflammation. 

Researchers also acknowledge the role that lifestyle factors have to play in chronic inflammation. Diet, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption are all linked to the development of chronic inflammation. Research also shows that intense stress over activates the immune system which leads to chronic inflammation. 

How does cannabis reduce inflammation?

A sick woman drinks herbal tea while covered in a blanket.

A mountain of research has gone into the treatment of inflammation with cannabis. A number of different mechanisms are thought to be behind THC and CBD’s ability to reduce inflammation, so let’s have a look at each of these cannabinoids separately.

CBD and inflammation.

Clinical studies investigating CBD and inflammation have confirmed that CBD might reduce inflammation in the following ways:

  • By reducing the level of pro-inflammatory cytokines. These are part of the chemical mediators that create inflammation mentioned earlier in this article about how inflammation occurs.
  • CBD might inhibit T-cell proliferation. T-cells are among the specialized immune cells that come to the site of injury to deal with the injury or infection.
  • CBD might help to reduce the adhesion of specialised cells to the capillary membrane, therefore disallowing them from exiting the capillary and performing inflammatory actions.
  • Finally, CBD induces T-cell apoptosis, which is the programmed death of specialized immune cells that cause inflammation.

THC and inflammation.

It’s thought that THC shares some of the anti-inflammatory mechanisms of action as CBD . Primarily, THC is well known to induce apoptosis in immune cell populations, especially among macrophages and T-cells. However, there is no evidence that THC reduces the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines or any of the other chemical mediators in the inflammatory process.

Antioxidants and their role in inflammation

A bowl full of antioxidant rich strawberries and blueberries

We’ve shown a few of the ways that THC and CBD have a direct effect on the inflammatory process. But cannabinoids work in indirect ways, too. Both THC and CBD are antioxidants, which means that they can counteract reactive oxygen species (ROS). These ROS are a result of normal physiological processes, but failure to counteract or remove them can lead to inflammation, disease, and cancer.

In fact, CBD can prevent the formation of superoxide radicals. This is a direct way that CBD exerts its antioxidant properties. 

Why are the antioxidant properties of THC and CBD important to inflammation then?

Well, as we mentioned before, poor diet, obesity, alcohol consumption and smoking are risk factors in inflammation. That’s because they cause a lot of reactive oxygen species, and because a poor diet lacks antioxidants to counteract them. 

But THC and CBD aren’t alone in being antioxidant rich. Many plants are antioxidant rich, and this is why a poor diet is linked with a high level of oxidative stress and reactive oxygen species. This is why the antioxidant properties of cannabis are more of a secondary and non-direct way of reducing inflammation. And because these mechanisms aren’t exclusive to cannabis, cannabis isn’t the only way you can get the same results. 

From inflammation to healing

Not all inflammation was created equal. Some people suffer chronic inflammation as a result of autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease. Others suffer chronic inflammation because of repeated exposure to irritants such as those who work in mines or in factories. Because of this, not all inflammation should be treated equally. For some people, simply removing the irritating factor (such as a chemical pollutant) is enough for healing to begin.

It’s easy to plug cannabis straight into the biomedical model we typically use for disease: there’s a drug for each disease, and there’s very little variance on that. Even though cannabis is anti-inflammatory, it doesn’t mean it’s going to cure all kinds of inflammation. If a person is obese, smokes cigarettes and drinks a lot of alcohol, then there’s no amount of cannabis that’s going to undo any inflammation caused. 

With that in mind, there are certain inflammatory conditions that cannabis has an affinity for — like inflammatory bowel disease! In the coming weeks, we’re bringing you some articles about the kinds of inflammatory conditions that cannabis shows therapeutic potential. Stay with us on this journey through cannabis and its potential to heal inflammation.

Inflammation is an enormous topic when it comes to cannabis. It is the reason cannabis gets so much medical attention, and it’s arguably the strongest leg cannabis has to stand on in the medical world. What we’re learning is that cannabis potentially has a place in clinical medicine in terms of suppressing pathogenic immune responses.

This is huge for a lot of reasons. The first is that a lot of serious medical conditions are the result of pathogenic immune responses (any auto-immune condition). The second is that inflammation is a primary factor in most of the chronic health conditions that the western world faces. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer. Chronic brain inflammation is associated with Alzheimer’s. Crohn’s disease is characterised by chronic inflammation of the GI tract.

Some of the most debilitating, chronic, and treatment resistant conditions pivot around dysfunction of the immune response. At the same time, the inflammatory response is hugely complex and is also fundamental to human health (without an immune response, pathogens would take over quickly). So therapies that target the immune system are often handled carefully as long term use can also impact the long term function of the immune system.

We know the topic of cannabis and inflammation is a hot one. People want to know more about it, how it does what it does and where it might be useful. We’ve decided that it’s best to tackle this issue over a range of articles. In this article, we’re introducing the idea of cannabis as a therapy for inflammation by looking at the connections between what we already use cannabis for and conditions that are highly linked with inflammation.

The role of inflammation in diseases you would never expect

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We usually associate inflammation with physical injury or autoimmune diseases like Crohn’s disease or Hashimoto’s. We don’t often think of inflammation as having a part to play in depression, epilepsy or Alzheimer’s. But modern research shows us that it does have a role to play.

For example, in epilepsy, some experimental studies have shown that a seizure can induce brain inflammation. Furthermore, repeated or frequent seizures can lead to chronic brain inflammation. Researchers are discovering that certain inflammatory mediators may be involved in the epileptogenic process.

Epilepsy isn’t the only disease with an unexpected relationship with inflammation. Alzheimer’s is another disease for which inflammation is a central mechanism. Researchers are beginning to think that inflammation might be the precursor for amyloid β plaques and neurofibrillary tangle, which were originally thought as the initial factors in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis. However, prolonged, chronic brain inflammation is associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementia symptoms. 

Recent scientific data is even beginning to demonstrate a cross-talk between the inflammatory response and neurocircuits in the brain that lead to depression. Replicated alleles of depression have proinflammatory protective effects. The hypothesis is still in its infancy, and is a little bit left of centre, but essentially states that millenia of “training” the human to survive in highly pathogenic conditions has led to immunity itself becoming pathogenic in sanitary countries such as western countries. Depression is being associated with this kind of pathogenic immunity.

Drawing connections between cannabis and inflammatory diseases

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It’s really important to realise that the scientific community doesn’t fully understand the mechanisms of action used by cannabis to reduce inflammation. Cannabis is a whole plant with many different compounds, all of which potentially act in a different way. This is in contrast to pharmaceutical drugs which typically have a very targeted location, cell, or receptor in the body. A pharmaceutical drug typically has one active constituent, whereas whole plant medicine has many active constituents.

Why is this important?

It’s simple. We might be observing that cannabis is effective in patients with epilepsy without fully understanding why. The same can be true for Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, and anxiety. 

On the outset, epilepsy and depression don’t seem to be very connected. But if inflammation underpinned those two diseases, then they would definitely have something in common. It would then also offer an explanation as to why cannabis seems to be effective at treating two completely different, unrelated conditions.

Some of the most common, scientifically accepted reasons to use cannabis include:

What we’ve just begun to demonstrate is at the source of most of these conditions, there is a pathogenic inflammatory process going on. We already mentioned the inflammatory processes involved in epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and depression. Is it possible that cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties are what make it effective in so many different conditions?

The problem with drugs that affect the immune system

There are a lot of anti-inflammatory drugs in the pharmaceutical world that are used for all matter of health problems. We have drugs to suppress immune responses in those who have had transplants, we have drugs for suppressing immune responses in those with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s, and we even have local corticosteroids for use when a person has an external injury.

Corticosteroids are arguably one of the best medical discoveries. Corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory drugs) mimic the action of the body’s own hormone, cortisol. This hormone has a variety of biological functions including regulating metabolism, blood sugar levels, and also plays a role in reducing inflammation.

However, the problem with any drug that affects the immune system is that it is associated with loss of “immune tone” over an extended period of time. One of the side effects of long-term corticosteroid use is increased likelihood of microbial infections as the host struggles to fight them using its own defence mechanism.

This is kind of a problem, seeing as most of the conditions we mentioned are associated with chronic inflammation. This is where herbal medicine such as cannabis might be worth the conversation and definitely worth the research.

Ongoing research and medical discovery

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The body of research regarding cannabis is growing every single day. But inflammation is arguably the biggest topic in the medical world, so covering it in one article just isn’t enough. In this article we introduced some of the connections between what cannabis is typically used for and the inflammatory factors that underpin those diseases. 

We’re continuing to deliver content to you about cannabis and inflammation in the coming weeks so that you can get a better understanding of how and why cannabis is used to treat inflammation. Stay tuned for more research and information about cannabis and its role in inflammatory diseases.

Have you used cannabis successfully to treat inflammation? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Small intestine diseases have ravaged human history for a very long time, many of which don’t have obvious cures. Crohn’s disease is one of those treatment-resistant inflammatory bowel conditions. We don’t know what causes it, and biomedicine is far from reaching a cure for Crohn’s. But research about the endocannabinoid system’s involvement in Crohn’s disease, and the consequential effect of cannabinoids on Crohn’s disease is exciting.

Before 1932, all problems of the small intestine were thought to be caused by intestinal tuberculosis. That’s how elementary a lot of our knowledge of human anatomy is — a hundred years. We’re now making discoveries about our own anatomy that would never have been available to our ancestors — like the fact that endocannabinoid receptor expression is highly implicated in individuals with Crohn’s disease.

Of course, there’s still a lot we don’t know. Like how cannabinoids might be used in the clinical context for Crohn’s disease — or how typical Crohn’s medications interact with cannabis. What we’re learning is that:

  1. The function/dysfunction of the endocannabinoid system has a role to play in the development of Crohn’s disease
  2. Cannabis helps patients with symptom relief and,
  3. Cannabis might help to improve quality of life, which is a commonly skipped parameter in the investigation of non-terminal diseases

In this article, we’re checking out some of the science for and against the use of cannabis for Crohn’s disease and how it’s been investigated in the clinical setting. 

Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) and its potential role in Crohn’s disease

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Clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) is a term coined by cannabis researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo. Russo brought the term to the medical community in 2001 as a possible way of explaining the underlying mechanism of a handful of treatment-resistant conditions including Crohn’s disease. His underlying premise is that a dysfunction of cannabinoid receptors or endogenous cannabinoids may underpin some diseases.

Crohn’s disease is characterised by persistent inflammation of any part of the GI tract, although it typically happens in the small and large intestine. Symptoms include chronic gastrointestinal pain, diarrhoea or constipation or alternating between the two, and bleeding. Naturally, persistent inflammation leads to complications such as cancer, poor nutrient absorption and therefore malnutrition, etc. So it’s extremely important for Crohn’s patients to properly manage their disease.

What Ethan Russo proposed in 2001 is backed by some other observations made in other research. For example, in one study, researchers found elevated serum levels of anandamide (an endogenous cannabinoid) in patients with Crohn’s Disease. In other research, the CB2 receptor has been implicated in intestinal inflammation. Finally, in a 2017 study, researchers found that the CB2 receptor was downregulated in mice with chronic Crohn’s dIsease. 

So Russo’s theory might not be far off the mark. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that the endocannabinoid system is at play in Crohn’s disease. It’s obvious that we’re not completely clear on what that relationship is. But the fact that a relationship exists at all helps to explain why, in some of the studies we’re about to show you, patients have described relief from Crohn’s disease symptoms after using cannabis.

A handful of clinical studies on cannabis and Crohn’s disease

A woman rolling a cannabis joint on table with a grinder

There isn’t a lot of clinical research that confirms a lot of the preclinical knowledge we just mentioned. At the same time, the overwhelming consensus among Crohn’s disease patients is that cannabis may help with symptomatic relief and quality of life.

A small-scale 2011 Israeli observational study found that of the 30 patients reviewed, 21 patients displayed significant results. Researchers used the HBI (Harvey Bradshaw Index) to measure the activity of the disease state. It uses common parameters for measuring the severity of Crohn’s disease.

The same research group performed the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial on cannabis and Crohn’s Disease. It also had a small sample size (30 participants). Of the group that received cannabis, 45% went into remission, compared to 10% of the control group. And of all of those treated with cannabis, 90% demonstrated a positive response.

In one, anonymous, questionnaire-style study, patients of Crohn’s disease using cannabis reported the following:

  • 83.9% reported improved abdominal pain
  • 76.8% reported improved abdominal cramping
  • 48.2% reported improved joint pain
  • 28.6% reported improved diarrhoea

In another 2013 study, researchers observed overall symptom relief and better ratings in quality of life from patients with Crohn’s disease using cannabis therapeutically. 

The potential for more

A woman vaping cannabis outdoors

There are no doubt a lot of Crohn’s disease patients out there self medicating with cannabis successfully. But it’s still outside of the realm of science to prescribe cannabis for Crohn’s disease. At the same time, it is, quite obviously, something worth investigating further.

As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of things we still don’t know. A really big one is how cannabis interacts with typical medications used for Crohn’s disease. Can the two be used together? Does using one mean you can’t use the other?

There is a lot of potential for more research in the field of cannabis and Crohn’s disease, at a clinical level and at a molecular/scientific level.

Remember to always chat with your cannabis-friendly doctor before choosing to medicate with cannabis!

Have you used cannabis for Crohn’s disease? We would love to hear from you in the comments.

Everybody knows and remembers the infamous video of Arnold Schwarznegger smoking a joint with a bucket of fried chicken to celebrate his 1975 Mr. Olympia title. A lot of things came out of that video — like the knowledge that the particular fried chicken Schwarznegger ate during that video was some of the best he ever had in his life. Oh, and of course, the big kerfuffle about whether or not cannabis was conducive to bodybuilding or muscle sports in general. 

A lot of different rumours have made their way around since then. First, there’s the whole cannabis and sperm count thing, which a lot of people thought also meant that cannabis also lowers testosterone (myth). Then CBD birthed itself into the cannabis industry and things changed again in the relationship between cannabis and muscle sports.

It’s probably not as simple as “cannabis is bad for your beef” or “cannabis is good for your guns”. It’s never that simple — especially when cannabis is the subject at hand. In the absence of good (or any) scientific research about cannabis and muscles, how do we go about this? 

Well, there are a few ways. Let’s have a look at them.

Cannabis maybe increases serum testosterone levels?

Contrary to the belief that cannabis lowers sperm count because of lowered testosterone (it seems to have some other mechanism), there’s some evidence that testosterone levels might be higher in regular cannabis users (both men and women).

There were a handful of studies conducted in the 80s and 90s on this topic but then was abandoned until the last few years. The overall consensus is that higher testosterone levels are associated with recent cannabis use. But there’s no understanding of how long this effect lasts.  There’s no evidence that the increase in testosterone has a cumulative effect.

So far in the scientific understanding, testosterone doesn’t seem to be a very big player in the conversation about body-building and cannabis.

Mental focus and agility.

Focused woman lifting heavy weights at the gym

This is where things get… a little more complex. Cannabis affects different people differently. For some, the effect of a rich sativa strain gets the mind focused and agile. For others, cannabis turns the mind into an imaginative playground which has all the stability of soup. 

Some people might not feel comfortable with their ability to lift extremely heavy, and therefore dangerous, weights while they’re high. That impaired motor control effect. Others might feel that cannabis gives them the focus and stamina they need to do the job perfectly.

With all this subjectivity in the cannabis experience, body-builders should be thinking about their own minds, bodies, and their own typical reactions to cannabinoids. It’s probably important to think about dosage too (for an in-depth guide on dosage, check out our dosage chart). A 10 mg hit of THC might put you in the zone, but any more than that could push you over the edge into the who-needs-training zone. For safety, as well as your own physical performance, it’s really important to consider these things on a personal level. 

If you’re the kind of person who melts into a ball of jelly after using cannabis, that doesn’t mean cannabis can’t help your workout. You would just be introducing it at different parts of your day.

Relaxation and recovery.

An exhausted man rests after lifting heavy weights

This is where cannabis really seems to shine when it comes to bodybuilding — or any kind of professional athleticism in general. Athletes are understanding more than ever that rest is equally as important as training. And without rest, good training just doesn’t happen.

If training has been particularly difficult or caused pain or inflammation, cannabis can help. Topical and orally consumed cannabis can both help to reduce pain and inflammation, and essentially assist the body in its winding down process.

Those who like to use cannabis recreationally might find a lot of joy in smoking cannabis before doing some night time stretching to rejuvenate the body and the muscles. And for others, cannabis might be the ticket to a good sleep, opening up the door for good training tomorrow.

When it comes to bodybuilding, CBD is different to THC.

CBD doesn’t come with any of the cognitive effects of THC, which for bodybuilders, means it’s very different. For example, unless you take a very big dose of CBD, it’s not likely to impair your motor control or your memory. 

Most importantly, in 2018, the World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBD from its list of banned substances. It’s therefore recognized that it doesn’t have an effect on your physical performance, but it might have a positive effect on your mental performance.

At lower doses, CBD is somewhat stimulating, may improve mental focus, and is unlikely to hinder your physical performance at all. Some athletes use CBD before training as a way to prime the muscles and avoid inflammatory responses to training. It also provides pain relief in the event of injuries or sore muscles.

Some professional athletes use CBD before game day as a way to level out the mind, reduce any anxiety or fear, and get on with the competition. There’s no reason why bodybuilders and muscle junkies shouldn’t take advantage of what CBD has to offer in terms of attitude, mental performance, and overall wellbeing.

Never one size fits all.

The moral of the story is that there’s unlikely to be a rule book on how to use cannabis successfully in bodybuilding in the near future. But as we mentioned, there are at least some things you should very clearly think about. Like whether or not cannabis makes your mind wander or brings it back into focus, or whether you typically get lazy or excited after using cannabis.

When you find your sweet spot and it’s working, roll with it! And then share with us in the comments how you use cannabis for bodybuilding! We’d love to hear from you. 

If you’re turning your nose up at the idea of sticking cannabis up the butt, this article will catch you by surprise.

Rectal use of cannabis might be far from “traditional” or “conventional”, but it’s potentially even more therapeutic than other administration routes — depending on what you’re using it for. Rectal cannabis isn’t about sticking cannabis flowers into your anus — let’s get that really clear from the beginning. Specially formulated suppositories or, if for vaginal use, pessaries, are created for the purpose of putting cannabis in places the sun (almost) never arrives.

Your colon’s epithelium is rich with cannabinoid receptors, which automatically raises a very good argument for rectal cannabis use — especially if your ailment is colon-related. We’re also learning that cannabinoid receptor expression in the colon is a biomarker for certain colon inflammatory diseases.

It might not sound appealing and it’s probably not the way anybody would use cannabis recreationally. But if popping a small object in your anus to deal with otherwise treatment-resistant conditions like hemorrhoids or Crohn’s disease could help, you would probably do it, right?

What’s the case for rectal cannabis?

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As we already just mentioned, the primary case for rectal use of cannabis is the fact that your colon contains cannabinoid receptors. They are biologically active to endogenous (and exogenous) cannabinoids, so sticking cannabis up your bum definitely does something.

Rectal cannabis might also be more bioavailable than other forms of cannabis, according to at least two studies. It’s thought that because rectal administration bypasses first-pass metabolism (in the liver), less of it is excreted and more of it arrives in systemic circulation. However, at the same time, most people who report using cannabis rectally say that the psychoactive effects are dramatically reduced, which suggests that the cannabinoids do something else. For some medicinal cannabis users, this is an advantage.

Others theorize that because cannabinoids get quickly delivered to local organs such as the liver and intestines, there is less opportunity for cannabinoids to pass the blood brain barrier.

There isn’t an awful lot of scientific research in the way of different health conditions that benefit more greatly from rectal use of cannabis. In one murine study, 2-AG (an endogenous cannabinoid) was rectally inserted in two doses and improved symptoms of colitis. This means we can at least hypothesize that cannabinoids are biologically active at the cannabinoid receptors in the colon — and rectal use delivers cannabinoids nearly directly to the colon.

What might someone use rectal cannabis for?

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In the absence of nearly any scientific research, why would someone want to use rectal cannabis? Rick Simpson uses the theory of bioavailability to support the use of rectal cannabis for almost any therapeutic ailment that would call for cannabis.

But in reality, there’s just no need to stick cannabis up your bum if your problem is anxiety, restlessness or insomnia. But there might be a need if you suffer from diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS, hemorrhoids, anal inflammatory problems or injuries (such as fissure, abscess).

Rectal or vaginal use of cannabis may also deliver cannabinoids to the pelvic area, pelvic veins and lymph vessels, and could therefore help with pelvic problems. But again, there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not cannabis makes it very far into systemic circulation if it’s administered rectally, and there’s no scientific evidence to confirm either way.

Knowing what we know about cannabis, it makes a lot of sense to use cannabis for inflammatory conditions that revolve around that area. Locally, it is analgesic, and at the same time, can reduce inflammation at the site.

Bioavailability is always a big topic when it comes to cannabis. Therapeutics should be efficient, and a person shouldn’t have to take a copious amount to induce the necessary effects. Because of metabolic functions in the liver, stomach, and intestines, it’s easy for a lot of cannabinoids to be lost when consumed orally. The administration route is a way to mitigate some of these issues — if the problem is near the rectum or pelvis, put the medicine there or as close as possible.

Is the backdoor a better entrance?

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Given the fact that most rectal cannabis users report a diminished psychoactive effect, it’s probably not something you want to do recreationally. Unless of course, you were just in the mood to experiment and add to your diverse range of life experiences. 

At the same time, there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that rectal cannabis use might be therapeutically more effective than oral cannabis. There’s also some evidence that cannabis is more bioavailable through the backdoor thanks to bypassing liver enzymes.

So is cannabis really better through the back entrance? Well, you probably have to try it to find out! If you’ve got a colon or rectal problem and have considered using cannabis, do you really have anything to lose?

Have you ever used rectal cannabis before? What did you use it for and was it therapeutically effective? We’d love to hear from you in the comments. 

Immunity isn’t just something you take care of when you’re sick. Keeping your immune system healthy means you can mitigate getting sick at all. It’s never been more important to think about your immunity as the present thanks to the current coronavirus climate. Diet is the best way to maintain good health and great immunity — and you know how important natural health is to us at My Supply Co.

The world is ever-so-slowly emerging into a post-pandemic chapter. Countries are tentatively opening up their borders and trying to resume business as usual as much as possible. But without the advent of a vaccine, coronavirus is still lurking around — and in many countries, making a resurgence. 

You shouldn’t have to wait until a pandemic arrives to start thinking about your immune system and the things you can be doing to improve it. Even before coronavirus came on the scene, most of you were exposing yourselves to hundreds of different pathogens a day. And if you’ve ever travelled, then you know a lot about the different nasties that can infect you.

There’s never been a more appropriate time to learn how to take care of your immune system through your diet. But what you learn is something that you’ll be able to use for the rest of your life, active pandemic or not.

Something as simple as a daily smoothie or adding a few extra spices to your dinner can strengthen your immune system in a natural, holistic way. In this article, we’re walking you through some of the immune-boosting foods you can consume on a daily basis, and how they help with your immunity.

1. Citrus fruits

A woman bathes in a bath tub full of citrus fruit slices.

Almost everybody knows the main ingredient in citrus fruits that your immune system loves — Vitamin C!

In fact, if you ate one lemon each day (without the skin), you would get over 100% of your recommended daily intake for Vitamin C. This water-soluble vitamin plays a big role in immune defence as it supports many cellular functions of both the innate and acquired immune systems. 

On top of that, Vitamin C is an antioxidant. It neutralises free radicals around the body, which in turn minimises stress on the body. 

Citrus fruits are delicious and hydrating, especially in the summertime! Whether it’s fresh orange juice, some lemon juice on your salad, or a delicious grapefruit — get on the citrus this summertime.

2. Garlic

If you grew up in a traditional household, you’ll remember grandma always wanting to whack a piece of garlic on whatever ailed you. Garlic has been used traditionally for centuries for its antimicrobial properties. Yes — even pathogens cannot handle the smell of garlic.

Interestingly, allicin (the active compound in garlic), isn’t activated if you simply slice your garlic clove. Before consuming garlic, you should smash it in a mortar and pestle or with the back of a spoon. Crushing the garlic releases alliinase, which catalyzes the formation of allicin. 

Adding crushed garlic to your food is a great way to kill off any nasties that might have made their way into your belly. It’s best if consumed raw, so consider making hommus (a great way to use raw garlic), other dips, or by incorporating it into a salad dressing.

3. Yoghurt

A breakfast spread with yoghurt and fruit, sitting on the windowsill

Yoghurt and other live-cultured foods and beverages contain probiotics. These are living microorganisms that contribute to gut and intestinal health. Why might this be important for immunity then?

Well, believe it or not, your gut has a lot to do with your immunity. For starters, it is one of your first lines of defence — if a pathogen makes contact with your stomach acid, it’s highly unlikely to survive. Unless of course, it’s giardia, in which case, it can very much thrive in that environment. 

Secondly, many of the foods and medicines you consume to support your immunity make their way into your body through the gastrointestinal tract. If your digestion is poor, or your intestinal health is bad and therefore non-absorptive, then those immunity-boosting compounds will never really make it to their target tissues and cells. 

Keeping your gut healthy keeps your immunity up!

4. Bone broth

One of the best ways to keep your immune system up and running is with a good old, traditional cup of bone broth. Bone broth is made by cooking the carcass of a chicken (or beef or fish) for an extended period of time to extract the many minerals and fatty acids inside the bone. It’s cooked for so long that when the carcass is removed, the bones are extremely soft and brittle.

Bone broth is rich in anti-inflammatory fatty acids and omega-3 fatty acids. It is also rich in Vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 plays an important role in red blood cell production and energy metabolism — which indirectly affect how immune you are to pathogenic factors.

Bone broth is also a great source of nutrition while you are sick. Being rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as fatty acids, it is an easy-to-consume nutritional powerhouse for somebody who’s struggling to keep food down!

5. Ginger

A teacup and saucer filled with ginger lemon and honey tea.

If you fancy yourself the home herbalist, you know how important it is to have ginger on hand. Commonly used in the treatment of respiratory infections, ginger is heating, reduces nausea, and breaks up and expels tough and thick mucus.

The essential oils within ginger are also antimicrobial, and so consuming ginger tea can help to kill off some of the invading pathogens.

If you want an immunity powerhouse, consider consuming ginger in a tea with lemon and honey. Not only is it completely balancing to any kind of physical constitution, but it’s also delicious, it’s loaded with vitamin C, and it’s antimicrobial — the perfect tea to say see-ya to bugs and nasties.

Keep it local, keep it fresh.

To get the best phytochemical profile out of your food, it’s best to eat food that’s grown locally and was picked recently. This is how you ensure that your foods are loaded with all of the nutrients and vitamins that they are meant to — and that helps you get more, immunity-boosting chemicals into your body.

Diet is one of the pillars of health — and in the absence of a good diet, any pathogen can invade. In fact, without a good diet, you can’t be well, even if you don’t have some pathogenic infection. So if you want to keep yourself healthy, it really all starts with food. Plus — if staying healthy is delicious, then why not?

What foods do you love to include in your diet for immune support? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!