CBD for Lupus: Does it Actually Work?

Written by Nishant Garund
Medically Reviewed by Dr.Varuni Agarwal

Dr. Varuni Agarwal is an esteemed Ayurvedic physician specializing in
diagnosing diseases through Ayurvedic dosha imbalances and providing personalized treatments. She focuses on ahara (diet) and vihara (lifestyle) to manage and heal various ailments.

CBD for Lupus: Does it Actually Work?

Lupus is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own tissues, resulting in various symptoms such as rashes, pain, inflammation, and more. Treatment involves various therapies and medications, but many patients find it difficult to adhere to them. Medical cannabis has shown promise in treating lupus symptoms, as cannabinoids show promise as anti-inflammatory agents. When used with traditional treatment, medical cannabis may improve the overall quality of life among lupus patients.

Currently, there is no single cure for lupus, and doctors must treat the symptoms to control it. Patients often take medications like steroids, immunosuppressants, and antimalarials, which can have serious side effects like osteoporosis and infection risk. Medical cannabis offers a safe, more effective alternative, as it can help manage pain, inflammation, and anxiety associated with the disease.

Types of Lupus

Lupus is classified into three types: systemic Lupus erythematosus (SLE), discoid Lupus erythematosus, and medicine-induced Lupus erythematosus. In the UK, around 50,000 people are affected, with women being more likely to develop the disease than men. The disease is usually mild and rarely fatal, but it can cause serious complications like lung clots or heart attacks. Lupus is especially dangerous for pregnant women, as it can lead to premature births or stillbirths.

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the body's ability to attack its tissues. Diagnosis is challenging due to its unique manifestations and lack of specific tests. Common laboratory and clinical tests include a complete blood count (CBC), urine analysis, blood tests, and a chest X-ray. The cause of SLE remains unknown, but researchers suspect it may be due to genetic and environmental factors such as stress, sunlight, and vitamin D deficiency.

Treatment plans vary depending on the type of lupus, but most include medication and lifestyle changes. Flares can be triggered by stress, infections, and certain medications and can last for weeks or months. A lupus treatment plan may include pain relievers, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, DMARDs, and immunosuppressants.


CBD oil for lupus 

Cannabinoids have been used as medicine for centuries and act on the human body's endocannabinoid system (ECS), which influences various physiological processes, including mood and immune function. An imbalance in the ECS could be a contributing factor to lupus.

Medical cannabis has been explored for treating lupus due to its anti-inflammatory properties and pain-relieving properties. Lupus is closely linked to the immune system, which attacks cells, joints, and organs, leading to inflammation. Cannabis also has analgesic properties, which can help reduce pain, which is a common symptom of lupus.

Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, have been shown to regulate the production of key inflammatory mediators in immune cells and suppress inflammation by blocking certain pathways. A 2015 study found that administering THC to mice with induced lupus reduced joint swelling and inflammation.

Medical cannabis can help reduce pain from lupus flares and reduce the side effects of medications used to treat SLE. It may also help reduce joint inflammation and muscle spasms common with lupus. While not an all-in-one painkiller, it can act as an adjunctive treatment to reduce inflammation caused by other factors and reduce the need to use other prescription medications.

Cannabis oil has been studied as an alternative treatment option for those affected by depression and anxiety. Clinical studies have shown that patients who use medical cannabis have lower levels of anxiety and depression compared to those who don't use medical cannabis. Patients with SLE(Systemic lupus erythematosus ) reported feeling less depressed, anxious, and stressed when they use medical cannabis, and their symptoms are easier to manage.

Medical cannabis is safe for lupus patients if prescribed by a doctor who has considered the patient's treatment plan. It has not been shown to cause adverse effects or trigger a "lupus flare." Studies have also shown that medical cannabis can help people reduce the amount of prescribed opioids or other prescription painkillers they need to take.

CBD oil, derived from hemp, has gained popularity for treating pain and inflammation-related diseases. However, there is no conclusive evidence that CBD oil can safely treat lupus.

Taking CBD for Lupus

There are various options for taking CBD oil, including smoking, capsules, drops, or sprays under the tongue, and as a topical ointment. Lupus contributes to an epidemic of pain, including untreated and undertreated pain. Research suggests that CBD oil is effective against pain and inflammation, both characteristics of lupus. In its pure form, CBD oil is generally regarded as safe. Anecdotal evidence from people with lupus who say it's effective is another thing that gets healthcare providers interested.

Some possible side effects of CBD include changes to liver enzymes used to process drugs, dry mouth, low blood pressure, lightheadedness, drowsiness, and increased tremor in Parkinson's disease (at high doses). The World Health Organization also says CBD oil may alter hormonal levels, stimulate the immune system at low levels, and suppress it at higher levels.

Does CBD oil help lupus and tourette syndrome?

CBD for lupus treatment

Cannabinoids, including delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabis extract nabiximols, have been used for medical purposes for centuries. They have been shown to suppress tics and associated behavioural problems in Tourette syndrome (TS). However, there are only two controlled trials available on THC's effect on TS, and its efficacy in TS is uncertain due to missing longer trials. Despite this, THC is recommended for adult patients with TS when first-line treatments fail.


CBD for lupus Joint pain

Animal studies have suggested that CBD has pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, but these effects have not been validated in quality studies in humans. Anecdotally, some people with arthritis who have tried CBD report noticeable pain relief, sleep improvement, and/or anxiety reduction. However, like any medication for arthritis, some people do not report any symptom improvement when taking CBD.


Can I take CBD oil for lupus?

Yes, you can, as while research is still in its early stages, evidence suggests that cannabinoids, such as CBD, could help manage and treat lupus symptoms. Similar research into other autoimmune conditions notes that CBD may help reduce immune and inflammatory responses, although one must consult a doctor before consuming the same.

What's the best way to use CBD for lupus pain?

There is no such  best way to consume CBD; one can either consume CBD oil drops, also known as tinctures, which are an orally available form of CBD. They are made by extracting CBD from the cannabis plant and diluting it with a carrier oil like hemp seed or coconut oil. The resulting CBD oil is bottled and taken orally by placing a few drops under the tongue, or one can also apply it topically. CBD topical oils are effective for treating chronic pain in muscles, joints, and achy muscles. These oils contain CBD oil and a carrier like coconut oil or beeswax and can be applied using fingers. While evidence for topical use is limited, it is common to experience relief within 30 minutes to a few hours. Some other ways include edibles and vapour inhalation, So it is completely dependent upon convenience and desired time of absorption.

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