Does Cannabis Treat Lupus?

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

You may know lupus, or systemic lupus erythmatosus, as an incurable autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, swelling, pain, and harm to various parts of the body. The disease results from a patient's confused and hyperactive immune system attacking his or her own tissues and organs. Lupus is difficult to diagnose and the symptoms can vary widely, but oftentimes patients who suffer from lupus face symptoms of fatigue, painful or swollen joints, fever, nausea, chest pain, anemia, sensitivity to light, hair loss, ulcers in the mouth or nose, and a rash that resembles a butterfly across the face.

Because marijuana acts as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent, it has great potential for combatting the symptoms associated with lupus. Inflammation can produce significant pain in the hands and knees, so cannabis's anti-inflammatory properties can reduce pain by treating the source. Lupus patients report cannabis strains high in the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD produce the greatest relief. This may be because the illness targets the patient's immune system, an area of the body high in CB2 receptors which have "high binding affinity" for CBD molecules. There is promise for topical cannabinoids to treat dermatological manifestations of this disease. Current standards of treatment often employ medications which suppress the body's immune system and may cause damage to other body tissues. They may even increase cancer risk, thus making medical cannabis a potentially safer alternative.

This information has been approved by our Chief Medical Officer. Check out the original feature on Whaxy for a more in depth look at cannabis' ability to treat the symptoms of lupus.