Cannabis and Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to mistake healthy human tissue for harmful intruders. This causes the immune system to become hyperactive and attack its own body. This causes pain and a whole slew of other related symptoms including excessive inflammation, soreness, fatigue, fevers, mood changes, rashes, hair loss abnormal heart rate, weight loss, anemia, etc.
Pain and soreness spread all over the body from the effects of lupus, most severely in the joints. This is why cannabis is thought to be an effective treatment for lupus. In this article, we’ll dive into the many ways that cannabis can help with this awful condition.
How Can Cannabis Help Lupus?
One of the most damaging symptoms of lupus is inflammation. Without treating inflammation, severe health outcomes can occur. Inflammation is one of the key physical factors that cause Alzheimer’s and can lead to tissue scarring, which can cause significant damage to the tendons, organs, and muscles over time.
Marijuana, as many already know, is a very potent anti-inflammatory. Compounds found in marijuana known as cannabinoids dampen the inflammatory response and interact with specific cell receptors within the immune system. Most notably the CB2 receptor, which is thought to modulate the inflammatory response.
During this interaction with the endocannabinoid system, medical marijuana increases the level of interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory protein, and decreases the level of interleukin-2, a pro-inflammatory protein. The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating a wide variety of functions in your body; the current prevailing theory is that auto-immune diseases are caused by an imbalance in this system and marijuana is believed to help get it back on track.
Marijuana Treats Pain
Inflammation and pain are very closely related and because marijuana is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can also help decrease your pain drastically. Cannabis also works wonders on muscle relaxation and easing both physical and mental fatigue. This makes it easier for you to move around and get through your days, even when you’re having a bad flare-up.
Cannabis Strains for Lupus
Different strains are good for different things: indica helps to put you to sleep and ease your pain, sativa will help you fight your fatigue and depression, strains high in CBD can help you conquer your pain without being too high. The following are examples of helpful strains you could try out:
- Sativas: Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough, Super Silver Haze
- Indicas: Afghan Kush, Bubba Kush, Granddaddy Purple
- High-CBD: Harlequin, Charlotte’s Web, One-to-One
- Dietary Cannabis: ACDC
Dietary cannabis, cannabis you consume in the raw form rather than heating it up and activating the THC, could be very beneficial for those with autoimmune diseases. It’s been known to help with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic pain ailments and is non-psychoactive.
Additional Treatment Options
- Cannabis Topicals: This includes balms, lotions, and salves that can be applied directly to the affected area for immediate relief from pain and inflammation. They are non-psychoactive and are applied to the skin topically.
- Canna Caps: You can actually make your own marijuana capsules or find them at a local dispensary. They’re a great way to get the many health benefits of marijuana discretely and conveniently.
- Rick Simpson Oil: This is a highly concentrated cannabis extract. It’s the method of choice for marijuana consumption among epileptic patients and cancer patients.
While there’s still loads of research to be done on marijuana’s effectiveness in treating lupus, we do know enough to get started in studies and prescribing it to patients to ease their symptoms. Cannabis contains large amounts of beneficial antioxidants, cannabinoids, and anti-inflammatory compounds, making it an ideal natural treatment for this condition.
Written by Megan Medeiros (BA)
Megan Medeiros has a bachelor’s degree in English and is currently working on a master’s in English at James Madison University. She's the owner and operator of Medeiros Writing, and has been working as a cannabis writer for the past three years, mostly following the legal climate of marijuana, especially in areas like California, Colorado, Oregon, Canada, and other legal areas.
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