The cannabis plant is used for health and wellness as a result of its natural antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Once you consume cannabis, the cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system inside the body and produce their healing effects. For that reason, a lot of people are using this plant as an alternative to traditional treatments for conditions such as chronic pain, epilepsy, and others.
However, the benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids like THC don’t end there, since scientists are doing even more studies about the benefits of consuming marijuana and the hemp plant. Recently, one of weed’s main cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD), was researched as a treatment option for candida infections and yeast overgrowth. To find out about how CBD affects women’s health and the role of cannabinoids in the effective treatment of yeast infections, read on.
Candida and What It Does to Your Body
Our bodies fight off different infections on a daily basis. Some aren’t a cause for concern, while others can cause serious infections if they grow out of control. One of them is Candida albicans, which is a type of fungus that causes candidiasis (a fungal infection).
Normally, candida lives on the skin, inside the mouth, throat, gut, and vagina, however, if it multiplies it can cause serious candida infections that can manifest in different parts of the body. Once it gets out of control, it can affect both the bloodstream and the internal organs like the kidneys, heart, and brain.
Yeast infections can happen as a result of:
- Taking antibiotics;
- Eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs;
- Consuming too much alcohol;
- Having a compromised immune system;
- Oral contraception;
- High stress levels.
Candidiasis can manifest in different ways:
- Oropharyngeal Candidiasis, or oral thrush, is candidiasis that develops in the mouth or throat. It happens mostly among older people, newborns, and people with compromised immune systems.
- Genital Candidiasis, or genital yeast infection, is candidiasis that happens as a result of too much candida yeast growing in the vagina. This infection is one of the most common fungal infections in women and it causes discomfort for patients like itchiness, irritation, pain while urination, and other effects.
- Invasive Candidiasis is an infection that happens when candida yeast enters the bloodstream and from there it travels to the heart, brain, eyes, and bones. It’s a serious life-threatening infection.
How Is Yeast Overgrowth Treated?
Candidiasis is treated with common antifungal supplements combined with diet modifications. Patients consume high-quality probiotic supplements to promote good gut health and maintain a balanced diet. It’s good to include foods naturally rich in caprylic acid that treat yeast overgrowth like coconut oil, and also foods that contain antioxidant properties like turmeric, berries, and others. For patients who have persistent infections, or patients who don’t respond to treatment, it’s useful to search for alternative options to manage the symptoms. One of them may be using CBD oil.
CBD Oil and Its Antifungal Properties
According to a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD), cannabigerol (CBG), and cannabichromene (CBC), have moderate antifungal properties. CBD also boosts the effects of caryophyllene oxide (a powerful antifungal), which is an oxidized form of beta-caryophyllene. The terpene Beta-caryophyllene oxide gives weed its distinctive aroma and flavor, but may also act as a potential fungicide and treat Candidiasis.
Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties in CBD may provide relief from symptoms related to fungal infections such as swelling and redness. Essential oils like tea tree and thyme may also provide similar anti-inflammatory effects.
Finally, according to a 2020 study by the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at the University of Melbourne, CBD has antimicrobial properties and may help to discover new anti-infective agents.
Can CBD Oil Help With Fungal Infections?
According to recent research, CBD oil may be an effective antifungal. Common antifungal medicine works to destroy the fungal cells by damaging the cell membrane and therefore limiting the production of ergosterol. Ergosterol is needed to protect the fungi, and once its production is hindered, fungi cells die without causing harm to surrounding cells.
Cannabinoids prevent fungal infections by blocking their spread as a result of the oxidation process that happens between the molecules in CBD and other molecules. Hence, fungi cells aren’t able to produce ergosterol which in turn inhibits them from multiplying. For cannabinoids to prevent fungal infections, it’s essential that the CBD product is full-spectrum CBD oil, so it contains all the essential terpenes and cannabinoids and has significant antifungal properties.
CBD Oil Compared to Common Treatments for Candidiasis
While common treatments for candidiasis are effective, some of the antifungal medications that are available on the market may produce unwanted side effects in users. The most common ones are abdominal pain, rashes, red skin, and burning, while some can even produce severe symptoms like liver damage, loss of appetite, and nausea.
Research published in the Infectious Diseases in Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal in 2008, proved that the antibiotic tetracycline can cause symptoms of Candida albicans and cause yeast overgrowth.
However, according to a 2019 article by the American Society for Microbiology, cannabidiol proved to be effective in the battle against Gram-positive bacteria and acts similar to antibiotics like vancomycin or daptomycin.
For that reason, a lot of people are turning to CBD oil to provide a natural relief from fungal infections with a low risk of side effects, and also bring about stress-relief and anti-inflammatory properties that can boost the immune system.
CBD Consumption Methods and Which Ones Can Be Used to Treat Fungal Infections?
CBD can be consumed in different forms and the most common ones include:
- Sublingual Consumption – CBD tinctures and oils;
- Oral Consumption – CBD capsules, pills, and CBD edibles;
- Vaporized Consumption – vaping CBD;
- Transdermal Consumption – CBD topicals, lotions, and suppositories.
For patients in need of treatment for fungal infections close to the skin or a mucous membrane, topical, suppository, and sublingual CBD products are some of the best options. Topical lotions can be used on the skin, suppositories can be used vaginally to treat vaginal yeast infections, and tinctures can be applied sublingually.
Whichever CBD product you decide to use to treat your fungal infection, you should consult your healthcare provider prior to starting any treatment for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, while CBD oil can provide relief and eliminate symptoms that are caused by candidiasis and fungal infections, some patients may consume other medication and their metabolization may be altered when paired with CBD.
Secondly, consuming CBD may result in side effects for some users like fatigue, reduced appetite, diarrhea, and dry mouth, so getting a medical prescription for CBD is essential.
Finally, the CBD market is a fairly new market as a result of the recent regulation by the FDA, so there can be variations between CBD products from different companies.