Cannabis & the Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is the highway used to transport immune cells.


In this video, we’ve combined information and studies gathered regarding the immune and lymphatic systems’ reactions to cannabis because of their design in working with one another in ridding the body of harmful pathogens. When cannabis affects one system, it’s almost certain the other will experience a change as well, and current studies are beginning to shed light on such responses.

The immune system is our body’s natural defense against pathogens and environmental antigens. Various organs are part of the immune system and they are found at various locations throughout the body. These organics include the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, where specialized blood cells are created and matured that fight infectious disease. The lymphatic system is the highway used to transport immune cells. Its pathways are similar to the cardiovascular system’s, though its mechanism depends upon the contractions and movements of our muscles rather than a pump like the heart. Lymph nodes, which are small balls of tissue found throughout the body, are responsible for filtering harmful substances from lymph fluid. They are also the location that two types of white blood cells are produced, T cell and B cells.

When a virus or harmful bacteria enters our body, it must first travel to the lymph nodes before our immune system begins to react to its presence. The lymph nodes signal the immune system into action, and begin increasing white blood cell production. This causes them to swell, which is why doctors will often palpate the lymph nodes located beneath the jaw.

Currently, there’s few studies that evaluate how cannabis affects the immune and lymphatic systems, especially in healthy adults. However, patients with diseases that directly attack the immune system, such as those with HIV/AIDS, or leukemia, have found some relief with use of the plant. Preclinical research suggests cannabis may strengthen the immune system in HIV patients by influencing an increase of CD4 counts, important immune defense cells that the HIV virus destroys. A study showed that these counts rose by 20% in patients consuming cannabis.

Inflammation is a natural defense the body produces in order to initiate tissue repair, clear out dying cells, and reduce further damage to the area by restricting its use, pain inhibition. It’s a reaction the immune system takes that can signal a major problem, cause further destruction or activate processes that help us heal. But, inflammation can also hinder us in our day to day life. Cannabis has been shown to decrease inflammation, thereby calming the cascade of reactions of the immune system that induce inflammation.

While more studies on humans are needed to fully understand the effects of cannabinoids on the immune system, what we do know is that it can sometimes benefit those with immune disorders by increasing T-cell counts. If you’re considering using cannabis in regard to an immune imbalance or immune disorder, it’s highly encouraged you speak with your physician first. In adults with a normal functioning immune system, no negative effects have been presented involving cannabis to suggest it compromises immune defense.