The endocannabinoid system can affect immune function

Unlike CB1 receptors, CB2 receptors are most commonly found within immune cells. By either directly or indirectly stimulating these receptors, cannabinoids are believed to play a key role in promoting immune regulation.

Research suggests that the endocannabinoid system can help regulate immune homeostasis in the gut. Conditions like Crohn’s disease, for example, are characterised by an imbalance that causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue in the digestive tract. Studies show that cannabinoids can help reduce the chronic inflammation caused by these conditions and possibly restore order to the immune system (Acharya, N., et al., 2017).

A paper published in 2009 explored the role of endocannabinoids in regulating the immune system (which includes modulation of an immune response in different cell types, effect on cytokine network, induction of apoptosis in immune cells and downregulation of innate and adaptive immune response). Laboratory studies have suggested that administration of endocannabinoids or use of inhibitors of enzymes that breakdown the endocannabinoids, can suppress immune hyperactivity and help the body recover from immune-related injuries (Pandey, R., et al., 2009).


Acharya, N., et al. (2017). Endocannabinoid system acts as a regulator of immune homeostasis in the gut. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, no. 9, 5005–5010.

Pandey, R., et al. (2009). Endocannabinoids and immune regulation Pharmacological research, vol. 60, no. 2, 85–92.