Lupus is an autoimmune disease. For some reason, the immune system fails to tell the difference between healthy human tissue and harmful intruders. The immune system becomes hyperactive and begins attacking its own body. This is quite painful, and can lead to a whole host of related symptoms.
The most common symptoms of the disease include:
Pain and soreness can be felt all over the body. But, it most severely manifests in a few key areas. The most extreme pain is often felt in joints, including the hands, wrists, and knees.
Perhaps the most damaging outcome of lupus is inflammation. Left untreated, inflammation can cause severe health outcomes. Inflammation is one of the key physical factors that leads to Alzheimer’s later in life. It can also lead to tissue scarring, which can cause significant damage to organs, muscles, and tendons over time.
Fortunately, marijuana is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory. Here’s how it works:
Inflammation is a perfectly normal immune response. When you scrape your knee, a little inflammation in the area is a way to tell that your body is actively working to fight infection and heal the injury. In lupus, however, that inflammatory response is totally out of whack.
Compounds in marijuana dampen that inflammatory response. Cannabinoids in the herb interact with specific cell receptors in the immune system. Most notably the CB-2 receptor, which is thought to modulate inflammatory response (among many other things).
Through this interaction, medical marijuana increases the level of certain anti-inflammatory proteins. Specifically, the interleukin-10 protein. At the same time, it decreases the level of pro-inflammatory protein interleukin-2.
Cannabis interacts with a regulatory network in the body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is thought to maintain homeostasis in the body. It helps regulate mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and our immune systems. As the ECS works to maintain bodily balance and harmony, it’s suspected that cannabinoid medicines may be helpful in lupus and other autoimmune diseases. Clinical trials and more research are needed to determine just how compounds in the herb can be used to best treat the disease.
Clinical trials and more research are needed to determine just how compounds in the herb can be used to best treat the disease.
Inflammation and pain are closely related. Because marijuana is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, it can drastically decrease the amount of pain you experience. Cannabis can also help relax your muscles and ease both physical and mental fatigue. This will make moving around and performing daily tasks much easier on flare-up days.
The research is still a way off in figuring out precisely how cannabis might be helpful in treating lupus. Marijuana’s inflammation-fighting properties, however, are very well documented. This plant is a true medicinal herb. It contains large amounts of beneficial cannabinoids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds. All of these factors can drastically improve your quality of life with lupus.