Updated on January 3, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Characterized by an immune system that erroneously attacks healthy cells necessary to ward off disease and infections, an autoimmune disease is a type of illness that can affect various parts of the body. Characterized by fatigue, muscle pain and uncontrollable spasms or ticks, this disease can lead to a variety of different autoimmune disorders. Because an autoimmune disease can branch out into various other specific diseases, a combination of factors can lead to this disorder.
Depending on what portion of the body is most affected and the severity of symptoms, doctors can prescribe a medication that alleviates discomfort caused by this disease. Many research studies suggest medical marijuana provides one such option that can help autoimmune patients find relief. The following case studies demonstrate hopeful results for autoimmune disease patients who incorporate medical cannabis into their treatment plans.
Although this case study didn’t mention autoimmune disease as a broad category, it focused specifically on the effects of cannabis on multiple sclerosis patients. Because multiple sclerosis is a disease caused by irregularities in the immune system, this specific study holds vital information for better understanding to what extent cannabinoid therapy can treat autoimmune disease conditions.
Wade DT et al. conducted a controlled study that examined the effects of cannabis treatment on multiple sclerosis patients. These researchers sought to see if MS patients could find relief from spasms, bladder issues, spasticity, tremors and pain while taking Sativex, a form of synthetic cannabis medicine.
In comparison to a group receiving placebo medication, the group of patients taking cannabis products experienced a significant reduction in MS symptoms during the study. Participants taking Sativex also showed little to no effects on cognition or mood, portraying marijuana as a valid medication option without harmful or adverse effects. The results from this study also demonstrate CBD and THC treatments could offer potentially curative properties for MS and other autoimmune disease patients.
In a 2013 case study posted in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, researchers examined the effects of cannabis’ anti-inflammatory properties on autoimmune disease management. Because autoimmune diseases stem from irregularities within the immune system, it’s essential to investigate how to normalize crucial functions that lead to the healthy functioning of this system.
The study examined how cannabis’s primary active ingredient, THC, could influence DNA pathways. When administered to patients with a form of autoimmune disease, THC was found to mediate anti-inflammatory properties that modulated immune responses as a result. These outcomes support the notion that marijuana can be used for potential health applications where the immune system experiences disruption.
Although marijuana was previously viewed as a recreational drug abused for its psychoactive side effects, many more health professionals are opening up to the actual curative properties of this substance.
Because autoimmune disorders can often lead to serious health risks and disease, patients receive a prescription to suit their specific symptoms. Although autoimmune disease refers to a broad range of various health complications, medical cannabis can be used to alleviate many of these illnesses without causing adverse effects.
In a 2016 study conducted by Wen-Shin Lee et al., myocarditis patients were examined while undergoing a CBD treatment plan. Within the study, patients experienced a considerable reduction in myocardial dysfunction symptoms due to the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of cannabis.
Although this study does not examine autoimmune disease as a broad category, myocarditis is an autoimmune dysfunction. Not only does marijuana produce similar effects for those with myocarditis, but for other autoimmune disorders, as well.
The compounds in CBD can stimulate a regulation of the endocannabinoid system by promoting anti-inflammatory properties. Many of the side effects of autoimmune diseases, including discomfort and pain, can potentially be minimized through a cannabis form of medication.
If you or a loved one is currently experiencing the symptoms of an autoimmune disease, it’s crucial to connect with a trained health professional to develop the treatment plan suited for your needs. Be sure to contact a marijuana doctor in your area who can provide you with the expertise and information you deserve. Once approved, you can access the specific cannabis strains to enhance your wellbeing.