Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the joints, skin, kidneys and organs. It causes inflammation that can lead to chronic pain, swelling and a host of other irritating symptoms. It’s estimated that over 1.5 million Americans have the disease. Most lupus cases start between the ages of 15 and 44, affecting mostly childbearing-age women and a diverse range of people, but also disproportionately women of color.
The damage that lupus causes targets healthy tissue in the body as the result of the immune system’s malfunctioning and becoming hyperactive. In its hyperactive state, the immune system can’t tell the difference between healthy tissue and foreign intruders, so it creates antibodies that end up attacking the healthy tissue leading to inflammation, pain and damage.
While there is no cure for lupus, its symptoms are typically treated with prescribed medications. The flip side of that though is that many traditional pharmaceutical treatments have irritating side effects, which in turn wind up being treated using more prescribed medications. Serious side effects could include pulmonary fibrosis, kidney issues, a number of cardiovascular conditions, plus stomach bleeding.
Making The Case for Medicinal Cannabis
Medicinal cannabis, which has proven to be a safe, natural, and effective treatment for lupus, and the only one that’s been known to do so, is receiving high endorsement from the Lupus Foundation of America, along with many additional studies that have taken place.
The reason for medicinal cannabis’ favorability is because cannabis contains high levels of CBD, which is most effective in treating lupus when taken in oral form on a daily basis. While cannabis in a capsule form is the most favorable way for patients to administer cannabis for lupus, cannabis infused capsules are hard to find.
Because inflammation and pain are two of the most pronounced symptoms of lupus, cannabis plays an important role due to its widely known ability to treat pain and inflammation in patients without subjecting them to the negative side effects of typical pharmaceuticals. Medicinal cannabis is also effective at treating the intensive nausea associated with lupus.
The Difference Medicinal Cannabis Makes
Medicinal cannabis can be an ideal treatment to help patients cope with symptoms associated with lupus (of which there are many) because of the properties in cannabis that can act as suppressors to specific parts of the overactive immune system that’s attacking healthy tissue.
Medicinal cannabis can be consumed along with prescription drugs in some cases of severe lupus symptoms. The cannabis helps to bring about added relief to symptoms treated by the traditional medications, plus it may minimize some side effects brought on by the medicines themselves. It’s important to remember to consult your primary care provider or trusted marijuana doctor to establish effective treatment for your condition.
The Cannabis Strains That Make A Difference
Among the many varieties of cannabis and strains that are out there, certain strains are more effective than others in treating lupus symptoms. There are five in particular that are most frequently used by patients.
- Charlotte’s Web: as one of the strains with the most fame and recognizability, Charlotte’s Web is known for its high CBD properties, so it’s a top choice for a daily treatment that works without producing a strong high. Severe pain sufferers typically benefit from the strain’s ability to treat a number of lupus conditions.
- Harlequin: for anxiety and pain, Harlequin has a high CBD level, which helps calm and soothe levels of anxiety, and therefore is a prime choice for patients coping with the chronic pain of lupus. It’s fast acting but can dehydrate as well. So when taking Harlequin, it helps to have plenty of water within reach.
- OG Kush: It’s American that’s a classic and has a full array of applications for medical conditions. The almost immediate sense of euphoria that occurs in patients makes this strain an ideal choice to ease the impact of mental and emotional stresses connected to lupus and other health conditions. Since its effects are typically strong, it’s a good recommendation to take this OG Kush in the comfort of home.
- Grandaddy Purple: For lupus patients who need help falling asleep because of insomnia, Grandaddy Purple is a medical cannabis strain to take in the evening before bedtime. It’s a strong strain, yet effective because it offers relief for muscle spasms, pain, and loss of appetite. It will help patients achieve a deep, relaxed state in which to get more restful sleep and promote healing.
- Afghan Kush: Another evening medication, Afghan Kush has powerful sedating properties, so it’s best not to use this strain during the day. For lupus patients dealing with depression, anxiety, chronic pain and exceptional stress, sleeping soundly is difficult. Afghan Kush is a more traditional cannabis strain that provides the kind of high typically associated with cannabis. For a powerful medication that offers maximum relaxation and sedating benefits, this is the strain to choose.
More research is needed!
The benefits of medical cannabis for treating symptoms that accompany lupus are many. It’s a logical choice for treating diseases like lupus that bring with it a host of conditions that don’t always benefit from traditional medications.
Because there’s a lack of research and clinical trials to refer to in coming to clear, definitive conclusions, it’s not fully known just how much medicinal cannabis can help manage symptoms derived from lupus. With what we do know now, and the fact that lupus is a qualifying condition for medical cannabis treatment in Illinois, there’s hope that the growing tide of support for medical marijuana will open more doors to greater discoveries.