Updated on January 11, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Our immune system protects us from dangerous foreign substances, but sometimes, it works too well. When you have lupus, your antibodies not only attack invaders, but they also target your healthy tissue. As a chronic disorder, lupus can last anywhere from six weeks to many years.
Even in milder cases, lupus can be incredibly uncomfortable to deal with. The damage to your tissue and the unneeded immune response cause inflammation. Patients with lupus can experience swelling, fatigue, rashes and dizziness. In extreme cases, lupus can cause kidney problems, anemia and bone tissue death. Severe lupus also raises your susceptibility to lethal conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a cure for lupus yet. So, doctors focus on relieving symptoms and mitigating the damage done to your body. The kind of care you and your physician choose depends on the specific symptoms you have. Since everyone has a unique experience with lupus, they each get a specific treatment approach.
Some patients with lupus use marijuana medicine like cannabidiol (CBD) products to improve their condition.
Humans have a closer connection to cannabinoids than you may think. The endocannabinoid system (ECS)’s role is just as important as that of any other bodily system. Our bodies naturally create endocannabinoids, which resemble the cannabinoids we find in marijuana. These compounds and the cell receptors that use them make up the ECS.
The ECS has a close connection to our immune systems. One of the primary types of cannabinoid receptors, CB2, regulates our immune functions. Some cannabinoids, including CBD, also attach to receptors outside of the ECS to further control immune responses. Lupus can cause your ECS to become a bit out of balance, and adding more cannabinoids can correct the overactive antibodies.
Some folks with lupus take immunosuppressants to stop their immune systems from working so hard. But, cannabinoids can act as a natural alternative. When you take CBD on its own, you can take advantage of its immunosuppressive benefits. If you decide to also take medicine with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in it, you can get extra bonuses from activated CB2 receptors.
Inflammation causes many of the problems associated with lupus, and this symptom and the immune response go hand in hand. As part of our built-in security system, inflammation works to separate foreign substances from important parts of your body and repair tissue. But, just like antibody activity, too much inflammation hurts instead of helps. Fortunately, as part of calming down the immune system, CBD also soothes inflamed tissue.
As a bonus, cannabinoids like CBD also directly address the symptoms of lupus — it lowers headache pain and chest pain, as well as reduces swelling and seizures.
Like other forms of medicinal cannabis, you can use CBD medicine in a wide variety of ways. This flexibility lets patients adjust their treatment plans to work with their preferences and medical needs.
You can get CBD medication in a certain formula to address your symptoms. To avoid the “high” that THC creates, some people use CBD products only. But, if you want to get the relief THC provides, you can use medicine with a 1:1 ratio — or even something with just a hint of the compound. The availability of CBD and THC medicine depends on your state’s laws, so investigate those before deciding on a formula.
To further customize your medication, you can pick from a wide variety of medicine types. Unlike pharmaceutical medicines, which tend to come in a few forms at most, CBD comes in many forms. Patients who want aren’t opposed to inhalation or ingestion can smoke or vape flower, or take edible CBD products. Or, if you prefer a more familiar medication method, you can also get CBD pills, tinctures and oils.
Use a holistic approach when picking the right medication for you. Don’t just think about what will relieve your lupus — consider how else your treatment could increase your overall well-being. For example, different cannabinoid ratios and product types suit certain times of the day. If you want to find a solution for your child’s lupus, you can opt for kid-friendly products like CBD-only edibles.
Are you interested in learning more about how CBD can relieve the symptoms of lupus and other medical conditions? MarijuanaDoctors.com has the resources you need to stay informed about your options. Count on us to keep you up to date.
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