The topic of CBD oil is one that’s widely discussed and often debated. There is promising research showing that CBD has several potential medicinal benefits for specific conditions. Therefore, CBD oil has become a trend when it comes to treating conditions involving pain and inflammation, and even depression and anxiety. But can CBD oil help lupus disease?
A lupus diagnosis can be devastating. The condition causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, and it can affect internal organs, including the heart, brain, and lungs. Every year, doctors diagnose 16,000 new cases of lupus. There are approximately 5 million people living with this life-altering autoimmune disease around the world.
Although lupus affects so many people, it’s a difficult disease to diagnose. It’s also challenging to treat because of its unusually wide and varied array of possible symptoms. Fortunately, CBD oil seems to offer some benefits for lupus patients. In this article, we will take a closer look at how CBD may help with lupus.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is a long-term autoimmune disease in which the immune system becomes hyperactive and attacks normal, healthy tissue. Symptoms include swelling, inflammation, and damage to the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, skin, and blood.
Because of its complex nature, people often refer to lupus as the “disease of 1,000 faces.” Lupus isn’t a contagious disease. It cannot be transmitted sexually or in any other way to another person. However, in rare cases, women with lupus could give birth to children who then develop a form of lupus, known as neonatal lupus.
The early symptoms of lupus vary widely but may include joint pain, fever, chest pain, swelling, headaches, skin lesions, and fatigue. The most distinctive symptom is a butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the cheeks – but not all patients experience this.
Most lupus patients experience symptomatic flare-ups that could worsen without successful treatment to manage the condition. Over time, lupus can cause neurological issues, kidney damage, and a heightened risk of lung, heart, and blood vessel conditions.
Doctors believe that a combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition triggers lupus. Certain types of medications (antibiotics, blood pressure drugs, and anti-seizure), infections, and even exposure to sunlight can also trigger the disease. The majority of patients receive a diagnosis between ages 15 and 45.
CBD Oil for Lupus
So far, there hasn’t been any research done on CBD oil specifically for lupus. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that it may help treat a few aspects of it.
Due to the lack of research, we need to go on what we know about CBD in general, along with what we understand from research on similar symptoms or pathology. CBD oil as a potential treatment option is likely to get attention from lupus researchers for several reasons, which we will outline below.
CBD and Lupus Symptoms
A wealth of research suggests that CBD is very effective in relieving pain and inflammation. One of the primary symptoms of lupus is considerable amounts of inflammation.
Lupus May Cause an Epidemic of Pain
Lupus contributes to an outburst of pain, including both untreated and undertreated pain. Current treatment options are by no means perfect, and drug companies have a significant financial incentive to find more effective medications.
Opioid Addiction Epidemic
Opioid addiction and overdosing is a major problem in society. Several studies have reported that when marijuana becomes legal in a state, the number of opioid prescriptions – and overdose-related deaths – drops. That’s sure to get the attention of doctors everywhere.
There is a lot of anecdotal evidence from people who suffer from lupus, claiming that CBD (or cannabis) is an effective treatment. While this cannot substitute scientific proof, it’s another thing to get doctors and scientists interested.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Lupus
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), studies have proven that CBD has some anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-system regulating effects. CBD can also change how the brain responds to pain, making it feel less intense and reducing the need for pain medication.
Pain and inflammation are two major side effects of lupus, and CBD oil can help to relieve both, without the adverse side effects that many prescription medications have. CBD helps to increase the levels of anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10, and also decrease the levels of pro-inflammatory protein interleukin-2.
CBD also appears to suppress particular components of the immune system. Because of how it affects the immune system, CBD oil can help calm the abnormal immune response that is a characteristic of lupus.
CBD also helps treat symptoms of abdominal cramping and nausea – often severe side effects of commonly prescribed drugs for lupus, such as corticosteroids and Plaquenil.
The Link Between Cannabis and Lupus?
Although there is a lack of research concerning lupus and CBD oil, specifically, research studies have investigated cannabis and autoimmune diseases.
According to research published on PubMed.org, preliminary studies suggest that cannabis may be a viable treatment option for autoimmune diseases. Cannabinoids, like CBD, have been shown to act as potent anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants. Cannabis has shown to mediate beneficial effects in a variety of autoimmune diseases, such as septic shock, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and allergic asthma.
According to Adie Rae, Ph.D., who is a scientific executive at Smart Cannabis, scientific evidence into the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the treatment of autoimmune diseases is just emerging.
For certain autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s disease, promising preliminary work already exists. Researchers report that patients with Crohn’s disease who use cannabis are less likely to have severe side effects and end up in hospital when compared to those who don’t use cannabis.
However, clinical evidence is not as far along for other autoimmune diseases.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Lupus
So can CBD oil help lupus? It might. Researchers are looking at CBD and lupus because lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system basically attacks healthy tissue. CBD is known for helping to regulate the immune system, which means that it could have some very beneficial effects. However, scientific evidence is still very limited.
CBD oil may provide benefits to help control the autoimmune response and alleviate the associated symptoms of lupus, such as pain and inflammation. However, keep in mind that you should always talk to your doctor before you start using any other medication, including CBD oil.