A lupus diagnosis can be devastating. The condition causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues, affecting internal organs including the heart, brain, and lungs. Every year, doctors diagnose 16,000 new cases of lupus. Approximately 5 million people are living with this life-altering autoimmune disease around the world.
Although lupus affects so many people, it’s a challenging disease to diagnose. It’s also difficult 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, and skin.
The early symptoms of lupus vary widely but may include joint pain, fever, chest pain, swelling, headaches, skin lesions, and fatigue. The most distinctive sign is a butterfly-shaped rash that spreads across the cheeks – but not all patients experience this.
Doctors believe that a combination of environmental factors and genetic predisposition triggers lupus.
Most lupus patients experience symptomatic flare-ups that could worsen if they don’t find treatment to successfully 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 medications), infections, and even exposure to sunlight can also trigger the disease. The majority of patients receive a diagnosis between the ages of 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 with a few aspects of it.
Firstly, research has shown that CBD can regulate the immune system and reduce inflammation. Since inflammation is a key component of most autoimmune conditions, CBD could potentially provide some relief. While there is a lack of research on CBD for lupus, there is evidence that it helps other autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis (MS).
CBD can also relieve pain, one of the primary symptoms of lupus. A 2020 study investigated the effects of CBD-rich hemp extract on patients living with chronic pain. A total of 97 patients completed the eight-week study.
Just over half of the participants (53%) either reduced or stopped their opioid use by the final assessment. Furthermore, 94% of participants reported improved quality of life. There was also a significant association between CBD use and better sleep quality.
Individuals living with chronic health conditions often experience mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Lupus is no exception, and a 2010 study found that approximately 65% of lupus patients also received a lifetime mood or anxiety diagnosis.
Research has shown that CBD can help to relieve the symptoms of various anxiety disorders. For example, a 2015 review found the compound effective for generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
However, it is unclear exactly how CBD might impact anxiety in people with lupus or other autoimmune disorders.
CBD exerts its effects on the body by influencing a signaling system known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS plays a regulatory role in many of the body’s crucial functions. They include mood, appetite, metabolism, and immunity, among others.
The ECS is composed of specialized cell receptors and chemicals called endocannabinoids. Research has demonstrated that people with lupus may have increased levels of an endocannabinoid called 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG). Furthermore, those with higher 2-AG levels displayed reduced disease activity.
Further study is required to explain the precise relationship between 2-AG and lupus, and how CBD might influence it. However, it seems the endocannabinoid system could be involved in the body’s natural management of the condition. Therefore, CBD may play a role in its treatment in the future.
How Can CBD Oil Help with Lupus
Numerous studies have proven that CBD has some anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-system regulating effects. CBD may impact how the brain responds to pain, making it feel less intense and reducing the need for pain medication.
Pain and inflammation are two significant side effects of lupus, and CBD oil may help to relieve both- without adverse side effects. There is some evidence that CBD helps to increase the levels of anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10, and can 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 assist in calming the abnormal immune response that is a characteristic of lupus.
CBD also helps treat symptoms of abdominal cramping and nausea – which are some of the 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 regarding 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.
Cannabis may provide benefits for a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions.
Cannabinoids, like CBD, have been shown to act as potent anti-inflammatories and immunosuppressants. Therefore, cannabis may provide benefits for a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. For certain autoimmune diseases, like Crohn’s disease, promising preliminary work already exists.
However, the evidence is mixed, with some studies reporting positive effects and others noting no significant benefits. Unfortunately, clinical evidence is not as far along for other autoimmune diseases. Therefore, it remains to be seen exactly how CBD might impact lupus and its symptoms.
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 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 minimal.
CBD oil may provide benefits to help control the autoimmune response and alleviate the associated symptoms of lupus, such as pain and inflammation. However, people should keep in mind that they should always talk to their doctor before beginning any other regimens, including CBD oil.