Have you ever wondered if marijuana or hemp can help minimize your lupus symptoms and if cannabis oil is good for Lupus? What about CBD oil and other products that claim to be curing everything from anxiety to Parkinson’s disease?
If you are interested in adding cannabis oil or hemp to your natural lupus treatment plan, start first by understanding the differences in the two plants and by checking your state laws. Marijuana and hemp both come from the same plant species, Cannabis Sativa L. For all intents and purposes, the main difference between hemp and marijuana is the level of THC. Marijuana is grown specifically to contain significant levels of THC and is cultivated for recreational and medical use, while hemp has only trace amounts of THC. However, major differences in the two plants have been established through genetics, cultivation and legal status. Hemp is commonly referred to in the context of an industrial plant that is cultivated for rope, textiles and food but is gaining notoriety for its high CBD content and its application for pain and anxiety relief. Plants cultivated for medical and religious purposes (marijuana) have higher concentrations of the psychoactive cannabinoid, THC. Different strains of marijuana and extracts from hemp work differently for specific symptoms. For example, sativa strains of marijuana are effective for fighting fatigue and depression, whereas Indica strains help with pain and insomnia and of course all of these symptoms can come under the Lupus umbrella. For daytime relief, CBD dominant cannabis strains or CBD from hemp, which contains trace amounts to no THC, are the best options and may relieve symptoms in people who suffer from generalized anxiety. Cannabis is also excellent for nutritional support. In its raw state, marijuana is non-psychoactive as is hemp and many people suffering from rheumatoid or fibromyalgia symptoms find relief by drinking green juice made from hemp or marijuana leaves. CBD and THC are synergistic which means they work together and when combined, provide a very effective solution for managing the inflammation, pain, brain fog, sleep disorders and other symptoms commonly associated with lupus, fibromyalgia and other auto immune diseases.
So is cannabis oil good for Lupus? Read on and you’ll be amazed with the potential of this herb and why you should consider adding it to your treatment regimen.
From a legal standpoint, CBD derived from hemp is legal in the United States, while CBD and other extracts from marijuana is federally illegal in the United States, though state-by-state legalization is occurring rapidly. As of the last U.S. election, twenty-nine states and Washington D.C. have broadly legalized cannabis in some form (i.e., medical, recreational or both), soon to be joined by three additional states. This leaves many states and Puerto Rico without any lawful consideration at all. Internationally, the laws are as varied as in the U.S. For example, Australia has decriminalized cannabis in some states but has opted to maintain its illegal status in others, making it a punishable crime. In Belgium, you can legally grow a female plant, but possession of any quantity is illegal. Canada is said to be preparing for full legalization. Researching the laws that pertain to you is important and can’t be stressed enough as a first step. But don’t feel defeated if you live in a state where cannabis is not legal. Unlike cannabis, which requires you live in a state where marijuana is legal for either medical, recreational or both, CBD oil from hemp is classified as a dietary supplement, and is not subject to the same rigid restrictions as marijuana. It’s true that hemp alone has many beneficial properties is broadly legal to purchase and consume, but the optimal scenario for everyone is legal access to both hemp and its sativa cousin, marijuana.
Most people suffering from lupus experience pain, fatigue and sometimes chronic insomnia. By now, it’s well understood that chronic inflammation is at the root of most of these symptoms and the good news is that cannabis reduces inflammation. After exploring the legalities in your state or country, understanding how it works is not only interesting but can provide hope for those who are overwhelmed with debilitating symptoms or those who have yet to find relief from synthetic medications, the mainstay of our standard lupus treatment protocols. The best way to determine if cannabis is right for you is to explore how this miraculous herb works in the body. A thorough explanation is difficult to fit into a short article or blog, but in a nutshell, Cannabis Sativa L. contains substances that activate the receptors in the human endocannabinoid system. This body system was actually named after the cannabis plant in the early nineties, when scientists discovered naturally occurring cannabinoids in humans while studying the effects of THC on the brain. This amazing and complex system is responsible for everything from maintaining bone density to controlling blood sugar and scientists believe it is responsible for maintaining homeostasis, or balance in the human body. Scientists have identified over 85 unique molecules in cannabis known as cannabinoids, which include THC and CBD. Cannabinoids from cannabis can signal the body to make more endocannabinoids and build more cannabinoid receptors. This is the reason some people claim to feel no effect from using hemp or cannabis initially, but over time build up cannabinoid receptors by stimulating their production. The plant also produces many other non-cannabinoid compounds that have shown promise in regulating the body’s endocannabinoid system. In addition to cannabinoids, there are also terpenes in the cannabis plant. Terpenes are best known to be behind the unique smell of cannabis, but they have also been found to have regulating or modulating effects on the body by blocking cannabinoid receptors in the brain when necessary and by promoting cannabinoid absorption when the body needs help. Pain control and sleep support are common reasons for people with Lupus to seek pain medication. With all of the negative and scary press on the opioid epidemic, in addition to new prescribing regulations for doctors, patients suffering with chronic pain are sometimes left with no options or take pain medications that don’t always help. There is also fear amongst patients surrounding addiction to these medications and with good cause. The good news is that the receptors that bind to THC are not present in the part of our brain that regulates heart rate and respiration, which means that you can consume as much as is needed to alleviate your particular symptoms. Unlike narcotics, there is no lethal dosage for cannabis, however, cannabis and narcotics do magnify one another, so people who take narcotics can and should reduce the dosage of their pain medication if they can’t discontinue using it all together.
Depending on the legal status in your home state and your symptoms, there are many ways to use cannabis and hemp. Many medical cannabis users rely on smoked or vaporized marijuana to find quick relief, but if you plan on using cannabis as a regular part of your treatment, you might want to consider the healthier option of ingesting cannabis with edible products or capsules, using it topically for localized pain relief or sublingual drops. By ingesting it, you spare the possibility of lung irritation that sometimes comes from vaping and smoking. Inhaled cannabis does not provide long term relief in comparison to ingested cannabis, which delivers relief from pain and inflammation in a much slower and prolonged way. If you’d prefer to take something in a pill form, you can easily make your own marijuana capsules or find them at a dispensary or retail shop. CBD oil from cannabis or from hemp, are both effective when used sublingually- depending on the product and its concentration, just a few drops can provide hours of relief from pain and anxiety.
Many of the skin issues associated with lupus and other conditions can be especially difficult, both emotionally and physically. Cannabis is very effective in reducing inflammation and can be effective for idiopathic rashes and more specific skin conditions such as eczema. These skin remedies can be purchased in ready-made preparations or can be made at home using whole plant material or concentrates that can be purchased, depending on what is available in your particular location. If you are hesitant to try products containing THC, CBD from hemp may be a better option to start with. Keep in mind that you may feel nothing at first and have a difficult time determining whether it’s helping or not. Give it time and don’t expect something that won’t happen- you will not feel the high from CBD as you would from THC or drowsiness from certain strains of cannabis, but you should notice an improvement in sleep and symptoms of anxiety almost immediately. Some people report that CBD from hemp alone has improved their pain levels, but THC has been found to be much more effective for treating moderate to severe pain.
How do you know what to buy and determine the quality of the product? Whether you are purchasing products from a medical dispensary or retail shop or purchasing hemp products online, take the same precautions as you do when buying supplements or food. That is, organic is best in order to avoid pesticides and other chemicals. All products are labeled and you need to be sure the label includes all ingredients in addition to proper storage and dosage information. Dosages are tricky, and it will take some experimentation to find what works for you. Don’t give up, as there is a myriad of information available on what works best for specific symptoms. People with autoimmune disease are often tasked with researching their own symptoms and solutions but often become frustrated and unable to obtain the proper support and information from traditional medical practitioners. Don’t give up! Websites such as Leafly.com can help with everything from general information to matching specific strains to symptom relief. Weedmaps.com will help you locate places to purchase products and will help you determine what is legal in your location. When it comes to strains and delivery systems, there is something for everyone, depending on the desired outcome. If the first thing to comes to mind when you hear ‘marijuana’ is the stereotypical burn out hippie, you will be surprised to learn that millions of high functioning individuals use this herb on a regular basis for its numerous health benefits. The varying legal status of cannabis is what prevents it from becoming a mainstream medicinal and nutritional option for those in search of alternative sources for symptom relief and optimal health.In spite of all the promising news surrounding cannabis, the use of it for symptom relief and disease remission remains contrary to many physician’s medical opinions. Recent surveys report that physicians lack confidence in their knowledge of cannabinoids in general, and in their perceived competence to advise patients effectively about use. In a recent study by Medscape, Rheumatologists ranked the lowest in support for medical marijuana use, with only 54% saying it delivers benefits and 44% supporting legalization. Some Rheumatologists are hesitant to endorse the use of cannabis is due to potential drug interactions. The FDA has reported drug interactions with cannabis among people who took Neurontin (Gabapentin), a pretty common Lupus and Fibromyalgia drug. Other potential interactions include use with barbiturates, sedatives, antidepressants, muscle relaxants, opioids and blood thinners, which are all drug classes commonly prescribed for lupus symptoms and overlapping diagnoses. It goes without saying that it’s important you speak with your doctor before introducing any medicinal herbs to your treatment arsenal.
Research is still lacking in terms of how cannabis can specifically be helpful in treating lupus, but there is no denying this plant is a powerful, medicinal herb and worth exploring more. It contains large amounts of beneficial properties including cannabinoids, antioxidants, anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory compounds, all of which can dramatically improve symptoms of lupus and other diseases. Its potential as an immune modulator is exciting news for anyone suffering due to their immune system being out of balance. The unique chemical compounds found in Cannabis Sativa L. truly set this plant apart from most synthetic medicines and other medicinal herbs. Have you added cannabis or hemp to your lupus care regimen? How does it work for you and how effective has it been in alleviating your symptoms? If you haven’t, what is holding you back?
This blog post was written by Kelly Costello. If you would like to check out my interview with Kelly on how to use Cannabis for Lupus then you can watch that HERE.