Lupus, lengthily known as Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, is among the common autoimmune conditions affecting patients globally. This condition’s severity is in its figures, affecting more than 5 million people globally, with an estimated 1.5 million Americans, and 16,000 new annual cases. Like any other autoimmune disorder, lupus effects range from chronic to life-threatening, often requiring patients to seek urgent interventions.
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Since there is no currently known cure, lupus patients and alternative medicine practitioners often consider using medical marijuana to control their symptoms. As such, getting to know the effectiveness of medical marijuana in treating lupus can help patients choose if it is a suitable treatment for their condition.
Does Medical Marijuana Treat Lupus?
Medical cannabis has long been used as alternative medicine in treating various conditions. It has proven effective in helping lupus patients adapt to various symptoms of this condition, such as debilitating pain and excruciating nausea. Several studies have primarily confirmed medical marijuana as an anti-inflammatory. As such, it can suppress specific parts of the immune system.
Intense inflammation and pain are the two characterizing symptoms of lupus. Therefore, using medical marijuana can successfully treat both symptoms at a go. Medical cannabis lowers the levels of Interleukin-2, which is the inflammation enhancing protein in the body. It also increases the levels of interleukin-10, the body’s anti-inflammatory protein. Cannabis also helps alleviate pain caused by inflammation in the body cells.
As mentioned, lupus is an autoimmune disorder resulting from an overactive immune system. Therefore, the suppressing benefits of medical cannabis come in handy by relieving the symptoms experienced by lupus patients. However, how does it achieve these suppressive effects? Marijuana activates the MDSCs – Myelin-Derived Suppressor Cells, which combat hyperactivity of the immune system.
Advanced research on the relationship between medical marijuana and lupus has been impaired by federal regulations and limited availability of cannabinoids. Despite this, the few lupus-specific studies have shown strong associations and medical marijuana benefits to lupus patients. For instance, one study sought to identify the effects of medical marijuana on the human immune system.
The researchers tested and compared blood samples of non-smokers to that of cannabis smokers. The study concluded that blood from cannabis smokers had high levels of Interleukin 10, which suppresses the body’s immune system. It also had low levels of lymphocytes and natural killer cells, which boost immunity. Despite such limited research, most lupus patients rely on individual anecdotal evidence, which satisfies their inquiries on the use and effectiveness of medical marijuana.
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How to Treat Lupus with Medical Marijuana
Finding the right medication often comes down to multiple trials, with physicians making dose adjustments occasionally. Similarly, finding the right marijuana strain and correct dosage method effective for lupus patients requires some experiments. Different lupus patients show different symptoms, and bodies respond differently to cannabis treatment. As such, a treatment method that is effective for one patient may not be effective for another.
That said, Sativa strains are beneficial for patients fatigued by lupus’s effects as they have significant energizing effects. Despite various marijuana strains having varying amounts of CBD and THS, both cannabinoids are beneficial in treating lupus. Some Sativa strains, such as Sour Diesel, Strawberry Cough, Indica Strain, and others, also help relieve conventional lupus medicine’s side effects.
Like any other medication, how you will consume medical marijuana affects its working ability. As such, below are some ways lupus patients can take medical marijuana;
- Smoking – Just like smoking is effective for recreational use, it is an effective method of using cannabis to treat lupus. This method provides immediate effects. However, high heat can produce harmful byproducts that can cause lung problems.
- Edibles – Edible cannabis is increasingly becoming popular and a good option for long-lasting relief. However, on the downside, its effects take longer to kick in.
- Vaporizing – Vapors have a low heat point than smoking, thus minimizing the chances of inhaling harmful byproducts. Like smoking, its effects are almost immediate.
- Topical – Topical application is an effective route for lupus patients as they can target the swelling or painful areas for immediate relief. It also treats any skin condition associated with lupus. Fortunately, various cannabis-laced salves, oils, lotions, and balms are available for topical application.
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Medical marijuana has undisputed benefits that can alleviate inflammation and pain symptoms associated with lupus. Patients who want to enjoy the benefits of cannabis in treating lupus but don’t want the high feel can use CBD, which is the non-psychoactive strain of cannabis.
As more research on medical marijuana’s effectiveness in treating lupus continues, always rely on your doctor’s recommendations. Self-medicating can be dangerous, especially the use of unregulated cannabis, which may contain unknown additives. For this and more, consider the use of marijuana edibles and other forms available at MDBerry.
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