Does Medical Marijuana Help Lupus?

Apply for Your MMJ Card
Slide background

Lupus is an incurable autoimmune disease that can cause symptoms ranging from rashes to swollen, inflamed joints and damage to organs. A cyclical disease, lupus is marked by period of flare-ups followed by period of remission. However, even though it can remain in remission for months or even years, it can flare up again at any time. Those with lupus can benefit from medical marijuana in a number of ways and should consider using it as a treatment if they live in a state where medical cannabis is legal.

What is lupus?

Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Those who have lupus have overactive immune systems that start attacking their healthy cells and tissues and cause inflammation, swelling, and damage to multiple organs and joints. There are multiple types of lupus including systemic, erythematosus, drug-induced, and neonatal. However, when most people refer to lupus, they are usually talking about systemic lupus. Systemic lupus impacts the entire body and symptoms can range from mild to very severe. This type of lupus can affect any organ or organ system in the body and normally occurs in cycles of flare-ups and remission. 

Erythematosus lupus only affects the skin and the most common symptom is a rash that appears on the neck, scalp and face. The rash can create scarring and last up to several years with recurring incidences and those with this type of lupus can develop systemic lupus later in life. 

Drug-induced lupus occurs due to a reaction to certain drugs, including hydralazine for hypertension and procainamide for heart arrhythmia. Neonatal lupus refers to the condition present in some infants born of mothers who have autoantibodies relating to lupus.

Risk factors for lupus include gender (females are nine times more likely than males to have lupus), age (lupus is usually diagnosed in those ages 15-45), genetic factors such as race and family history, and environmental factors including medication, smoking, and viral infections.  

Those who have lupus can experience a variety of symptoms and no two cases are exactly alike. Common symptoms include pain and swelling in the joints, sensitivity to the sun, chest pain when breathing, fatigue, hair loss, arthritis, skin rashes, and loss of appetite. Lupus can also cause high blood pressure, anemia, and fluid in the lungs. Treatments include applying cold packs and heating pads, exercising regularly, avoiding stress, and limiting exposure to the sun. Medications such as immunosuppressive drugs and steroids are also common treatments, but these can have unwanted side effects and patients can become dependent on them.

Medical Marijuana and Lupus

Can marijuana treat lupus?

As with all autoimmune disorders, lupus can often be successfully treated with cannabis. Some benefit from adding marijuana into their normal treatment program while others find they can get off steroids or other medications when they begin using cannabis to treat their disease. Not only can cannabis ease the symptoms of lupus, but it can actually calm the immune response that characterizes the disease. 

Symptoms of lupus marijuana can treat

Cannabis is effective at treating the inflammation that lupus causes and which is responsible for many of the symptoms of the disease. It does this by lowering levels of interleukin-2 and raising the levels of interleukin-19, an anti-inflammatory protein. Cannabis also has natural anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, which is especially helpful for those who have swelling or soreness in the joints or muscles. 

When the immune system is overactive, as it is in those who have lupus, the body’s own endocannabinoid system works to calm it and bring the body back into balance. However, it’s often unable to do so on its own. Because cannabis has phytocannabinoids that mimic the body’s own endocannabinoid system, it can support that system and increase its effectiveness, thus treating many of the lupus symptoms.

High doses of CBD seem to work best when treating lupus. Because CBD has no psychoactive effects, those who have lupus can take it during the day without it disrupting their normal activities. CBD can be taken in pill form, as an oil, or it can be vaped. High CBD strains can also be smoked. 

Scientific research on treating lupus with marijuana 

Studies have shown that cannabis is an effective way to suppress the immune system. Because autoimmune diseases like lupus are caused by an overactive immune system, this means that cannabis can treat the disease by calming the over activity. Other studies have found that the cannibinoids found in marijuana can treat autoimmune diseases by protecting sufferers from damage through induction of multiple anti-inflammatory pathways and suppression of cytokines (cells that cause inflammation.)

Getting your medical marijuana card to treat lupus

Lupus CTA

If you have lupus and have had trouble treating it with mainstream medication and lifestyle changes or if you want to try a more natural approach to treating your disease, you should consider medical marijuana. You can get your medical marijuana card from MDBerry from the comfort of your home. After verifying your condition and learning more about your healthy history, the doctors at can issue you a medical marijuana card that you can use to purchase marijuana at any licensed dispensary in your area

Recent Articles