An impressive amount of research suggests that CBD is effective against pain and inflammation. For that reason, many people with lupus are turning to full-spectrum CBD oils for relief. What is the truth about lupus and CBD oil? Can it actually help you control the symptoms and reach the underlying problem? Studies have shown that CBD may help manage the symptoms of Lupus, such as inflammation, pain, and hypertension, which may be caused by anxiety and stress. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil, is a non-psychoactive chemical compound that is commonly extracted from hemp. Research and anecdotes suggest benefits
CBD Oil for Lupus: Benefits, Dosage, & How to Use?
This article covers everything there is to know about lupus and CBD oil — from the involvement of the endocannabinoid system (ECS) to CBD’s efficacy in treating lupus to finding the best dosage for your individual situation.
Lupus is an autoimmune condition that can take several forms; the most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). It is marked by general inflammation of the immune system, causing it to attack its own tissues.
Although there’s no cure for lupus, it has a range of treatments, including CBD oil, which can help mitigate symptoms, prevent flare-ups, and improve the quality of life of those living with the disease.
Read on to learn more about the potential benefits of using CBD oil for lupus and how to tackle the condition for the best results.
Does CBD Help with Lupus?
CBD becomes the go-to alternative to pharmaceutical medications for people living with lupus due to its much better safety profile. CBD has remarkable anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, but it doesn’t come with the dangerous side effects associated with prescription drugs.
According to a review of different treatments for lupus patients, 50% of people with lupus use complementary and alternative treatments for symptom control. The therapies highlighted by the review include natural remedies, meditation, chiropractic treatment, breathing exercises, and health supplements such as CBD .
CBD, or cannabidiol , is one of the major botanical compounds found in cannabis plants. It is extensively studied regarding its effects on human health through endocannabinoid modulation and interactions with over 65 molecular pathways.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is the master regulatory network that maintains homeostasis throughout the body by sending its own endocannabinoids to bind to cannabinoid receptors type 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2).
CBD indirectly interacts with the ECS receptors through certain enzymes and hormones that optimize the release of endocannabinoids by the body and the time they circulate in one’s system .
Medical researchers have investigated the therapeutic potential of CBD in a range of physiological and mental ailments, including anxiety and depression , epilepsy , chronic pain , sleeping disorder and insomnia , and autoimmune diseases .
The last category involves lupus, which — as mentioned — is characterized by widespread inflammation.
How Does CBD Work for Lupus Treatment?
While direct research on CBD use for lupus is in the early stage, many studies are underscoring the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of CBD. Since chronic inflammation is the root cause of lupus, researchers hypothesize that it can be an effective treatment for its symptoms.
Let’s take a look at what science says about the most prominent areas of lupus treatment with CBD oil.
CBD for Pain and Inflammation
While there’s no universal course of illness regarding lupus, the National Resource Center on Lupus reports that more than 90% of patients experience inflammation and pain in the joints or muscles . As a matter of fact, more than 50% of people with lupus mention joint pain as their first symptom. Lupus pain is certainly triggered by inflammation.
A 2018 study on CBD use identified pain as the most commonly cited reason for using CBD oils. While CBD hasn’t been directly studied concerning lupus, there’s a solid scientific ground suggesting its use for pain and inflammation . A 2018 study published in the Journal of Pain Research shows that CBD has significant benefits for pain management compared to placebo .
CBD blocks the release of inflammatory proteins by acting on adenosine receptors . It can also mitigate pain signaling to the brain by interacting with TRPV-1 cells .
CBD for Anxiety and Depression
Depression is a comorbid condition in many autoimmune diseases. Lupus often goes through periods of remission and flare-ups, which can take a toll on your mental health. Dealing with any chronic disease can cause psychological distress manifested by episodes of anxiety or depression — not to mention the destructive impact of the disease on the nervous system itself.
According to one study, 25% of lupus patients experience depression, while anxiety affects 37% . Another study confirms the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in women with SLE compared to the general population .
Learn more about CBD and anxiety here.
One study examining the reasons for CBD use identified anxiety as the second most common cause of taking CBD oil. CBD has been shown to interact with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter linked to mood and emotions . Given this, CBD can modulate the functioning of serotonin receptors and thus be used as a potential treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorders. Studies on animal models have also demonstrated the antidepressant effects of CBD.
CBD for Opioid Addiction
Chronic pain is a common issue for many lupus patients. Doctors usually recommend opioid-based painkillers for severe lupus pain, which may not be the best solution considering the dangerous side effects of long-term opioid use.
A 2019 study showed that 31% of lupus patients use prescription opioids. Of them, 68% had been taking opioids for more than one year, and 22% used a combination of two or more opioid medications .
When used as prescribed by a doctor, opioid medications can help in short-term pain control, but they aren’t recommended for long-term use due to the high risk of dependence and severe withdrawal. Opioid use is a growing epidemic in the United States that can be challenging to treat. Meanwhile, some studies suggest that CBD has the potential to intervene against opioid addiction and withdrawals.
THC and CBD Effects on Lupus (The Entourage Effect)
CBD isn’t the only anti-inflammatory compound in cannabis. THC, the other major compound, is a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent too.
When you take THC and CBD together — either in a herbal extract or by inhaling vapor from the flowers or concentrates — they work synergistically to produce the entourage effect. This phenomenon has been identified in 1988 and presumes that the sum of all active ingredients in cannabis is more effective therapeutically than each of them alone.
Cannabis has long been used to reduce inflammation in the body in patients with autoimmune diseases, such as ulcerative coliti s, atopic dermatitis , psoriasis , rheumatoi d arthritis , and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease .
Researchers have found that cannabis lowers levels of a compound called interleukin-2 and increases the concentrations of interleukin-19, which is an anti-inflammatory protein. These are the driving factors behind marijuana’s analgesic effects; they’re also the reason why people with lupus turn to the combination of THC and CBD for effective symptom control .
If you’re afraid of getting too high from using cannabis for lupus, you may opt for selectively-bred high-CBD strains, which often come with ratios like 20:1, 12:1, 10:1, 5:1, or 2:1. Such strains provide the anti-inflammatory and painkilling benefits of cannabis but without an overwhelming buzz in large doses.
Learn more about CBD and THC, head over to our comprehensive post on the topic.
Best Type of CBD for Lupus
Proponents of the entourage effect suggest full-spectrum CBD oil as the best type of CBD for lupus. That’s because the aforementioned synergy between the botanical compounds in cannabis leads to a greater therapeutic effect.
This, in turn, translates into more effective symptom control on top of reaching the underlying cause of lupus — chronic inflammation.
The only federally legal type of CBD that evokes the entourage effect is full-spectrum CBD oil from hemp. This type of CBD contains all cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that naturally occur in hemp plants — including trace amounts of THC.
The THC in full-spectrum CBD oil is only at 0.3% or less due to federal regulations ruled out by the 2018 Farm Bill.
If you’re concerned about the trace amounts of THC in your product, there are also broad-spectrum extracts and CBD isolates.
Broad-spectrum CBD is very similar to its full-spectrum counterpart — but it doesn’t have any THC. The intoxicating compound is removed from the end product after initial extraction.
CBD isolate exactly what it sounds like — pure, isolated cannabidiol. This type of CBD ensures the highest dose per serving for people with lupus and is free of any aroma and flavors. While these are obvious advantages for people fussing over the natural taste of CBD oil, isolated CBD has one serious drawback: the lack of the entourage effect.
People typically choose isolates over other formats when they have a job that requires drug testing for THC.
CBD Dosage for Lupus
Though CBD oil may help reduce joint pain and inflammation, as well as other lupus-related symptoms, it’s important to note that CBD hasn’t been widely examined as the treatment for lupus. Therefore, there are no established dosage guidelines or charts for people with lupus who would like to start taking CBD.
The effective dosage may vary between individuals based on several factors, including age, weight, gender, metabolism, unique body chemistry, and more. Trial-and-error is inevitable if you want to find the best dosage for lupus in your case.
If you’re new to CBD, you may want to start with a low-potency oil and take small doses to see how your body responds to CBD in the first place. From there, you can adjust the dosage as needed; you’ll know you’ve found your optimal dose when the pain will start to go away along with other symptoms — but without causing drowsiness or lethargy.
The side effects of taking CBD oil include dry mouth, dizziness, sedation, changes in appetite, or diarrhea. That being said, it’s impossible to overdose on CBD lethally; the WHO has acknowledged its safety profile, claiming that people can use even 1,500 mg daily and go on without any dangerous side effects.
Since CBD interacts with many pharmaceutical medications, it’s important to consult your doctor before buying CBD oil for lupus if you had been prescribed any medication. Doing so will help you fit CBD into your existing routine to avoid negative interactions.
What Is Lupus?
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The immune system of a person with lupus starts to malfunction, attacking healthy cells instead of the malignant ones because it treats them as foreign invaders. So, instead of protecting you against pathogens, it turns against the body by killing normal cells and creating widespread inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can lead to tissue damage and even trigger some serious complications that can be life-threatening.
Different Types of Lupus
There are 5 identified types of lupus:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) – the most prevalent form of lupus, SLE is also the most severe type because it affects the entire body.
- Subacute Cutaneous Lupus – this type of lupus only affects the skin and is characterized by a widespread rash often worsened by exposure to sunlight.
- Drug-Induced Lupus – as the name suggests, this form of lupus is caused by certain medications, including hypertension drugs and pills for rheumatoid arthritis.
- Neonatal Lupus – a rare type of lupus that occurs in infants of women who have lupus.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, lupus symptoms may vary from one person to another depending on the type and intensity of symptoms.
In many cases, people with lupus also experience arthritis of the small joints and a rash. Oftentimes, these symptoms are accompanied by fever, hair loss, abdominal pain, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, dry mouth, and mood disorders.
The first clinical sign of lupus is an abnormal blood test result such as protein in the urine, indicating kidney disease for many patients. The pattern in which the flare-ups occur may change over time; the diagnosis of lupus generally relies on laboratory testing.
What Causes Lupus?
Similar to many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of lupus is unknown. That being said, researchers believe that it may involve a combination of genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. Others attribute the onset of lupus to severe stress and excessive exposure to sunlight.
Although anyone can have lupus, the newest epidemiological reports point to women under 45 as the most affected group. Lupus also tends to develop more often in people of color, particularly Asian, Latin, and African. Children forms of lupus usually develop after 15 years of age.
How Is Lupus Treated?
As a complex condition, lupus has various treatments whose effectiveness may vary depending on the organs involved and the patient’s symptoms. Sometimes, more than one therapy may be required for effective symptom control. The treatment may also change over time depending on the progress of the disease.
Many people with lupus live a normal lifespan but may experience some level of disability.
The most common treatments for lupus include:
- Biological agents
- Immunosuppressive drugs
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Intravenous immunoglobulin
- Antimalarial drugs (like Hydroxychloroquine)
Unfortunately, most of these treatments entail the risk of severe side effects, some of which can be life-threatening. For this reason, although not extensively studied, CBD oil has become an appealing alternative for patients with lupus. It exerts potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects without posing a threat to your life.
Final Thoughts on Using CBD Oil for Lupus
Every year records an estimated 16,000 new cases of lupus. It is a life-changing autoimmune disease that has no cure and can significantly worsen the quality of your daily life.
Living with a compromised immune system can be difficult. However, knowing the right way to take alternative treatments such as CBD oil may be a significant step towards a better life. Finding the right type and dosage of CBD for lupus takes time and isn’t as obvious as some go-to therapies, but it’s definitely much safer.
CBD can reduce certain lupus symptoms, such as pain and inflammation, skin infections, hypertension, anxiety, and photosensitivity.
Because of the possible interactions with certain drugs, people with lupus should consult their doctor before adding CBD oil to their regimen.
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Nina created CFAH.org following the birth of her second child. She was a science and math teacher for 6 years prior to becoming a parent — teaching in schools in White Plains, New York and later in Paterson, New Jersey.
Best CBD for Lupus – August 2022
There are several medications for people with lupus because of the vast array of possible symptoms a patient may have. Treatments depend on the severity of the condition.
People with lupus are prone to have serious complications that affect the body’s major organs, such as the skin, heart, lungs, and kidneys (5 ) .
Because of the numerous disorders that come with having lupus, several medications are prescribed by medical professionals as treatment options.
The Lupus Foundation of America’s list of drugs commonly used for lupus include (6 ) :
- Antimalarial drugs , like hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine , for rashes and UV light protection
- Anti-inflammatory drugs , like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , for swelling and pain reduction
- Biologics , like monoclonal antibody belimumab , to help the immune system function properly
- Immunosuppressants , like cyclophosphamide, methotrexate, and azathioprine , to control the overactive immune system
- Anticoagulants , like aspirin, heparin, and warfarin , to prevent blood clots
- Steroids (corticosteroids) , like prednisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone, and hydrocortisone , to help with the body’s inflammatory response
The mentioned drugs and medications can be combined as prescribed by doctors and may cause side effects.
Taking a higher dosage of NSAID can cause gastrointestinal problems , such as stomach ulcers. Too much of it can reduce the kidney’s blood flow and may affect how the organ eliminates waste (7 ) .
Initially, doctors administer steroids in the lowest possible dosage. Long-term use and high dosage of steroids may have more adverse effects on patients than benefits (8 ) .
Continuous consumption of the drug may lead to osteoporosis and may increase the risk of infections, especially on open wounds (9 ) .
Medical professionals recommend immunosuppressants to those who have severe lupus cases but cannot take higher doses of steroids. Immunosuppressants lower the immune system’s activity that is attacking an individual’s tissues.
Lupus patients who are taking these drugs might have higher chances of developing other infections, like shingles, and severe diseases, like cancer (10 ) .
Given these side effects, some people have turned to natural alternatives, like cannabis (medical marijuana) to treat lupus symptoms (11 ) . Marijuana plants contain cannabinoids, the most active of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
THC is the psychoactive counterpart of CBD. Products with this component can make the user high, so caution is advised.
There is no concrete evidence and documentation that CBD alone can directly treat lupus. However, according to studies, CBD may help manage other autoimmune disorders , like rheumatoid arthritis , multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and type 1 diabetes (12 ) .
Autoimmune diseases are chronic medical conditions wherein the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues and cells.
How CBD Oil Works to Help Alleviate Symptoms of Lupus
There are four different kinds of lupus, but the most common is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This kind of lupus elicits an abnormal response from the immune cells, enabling the immune system to attack the body’s healthy tissues (13 ) .
These immune cells are called T cells and B cells. The former are white blood cells that fight foreign bacteria that enter into the body. The latter are the cells that produce antibodies.
Th ere are four kinds of lupus, and they all share common symptoms, such as (14 ) :
- Pain throughout the body including chest pain
- Inflammation or swelling of body parts and joints
- Light sensitivity
- Butterfly rash on cheeks and nose
- Hair loss
- Mouth and nose sores
CBD may help reduce inflammation and pain, the primary symptoms of lupus, through the endocannabinoid system (ECS) in the body.
The ECS impacts the body’s immune response, regulating pain and inflammation. It also controls other bodily functions, like sleep , cognition, and metabolism (15 ) .
Endocannabinoids, like anandamide and 2-AG, act as neurotransmitters that activate cannabinoid receptors, namely CB1 and CB2. The ECS produces both of these endocannabinoids.
Anandamide has a direct correlation with CB1 receptors, with both of them functioning with the nervous system. Meanwhile, 2-AG and CB2 receptors are both associated with pain and inflammation relief (16 ) . 2-AG or 2-Arachidonoylglycerol is the endocannabinoid linked with pain relief, appetite, and mimics the function of THC (17 ) .
These two pairs working together create equilibrium, also known as homeostasis. This process links to how CBD can affect the processes in the body.
A 2018 study found that people with lupus have significantly increased levels of 2-AG, bound with CB2, compared to those who do not have the disorder.
The elevated 2-AG levels are evident in those who have the lowest disease activity. The findings suggest that the symptoms are under control, and the ECS is working effectively to suppress lupus (18 ) .
The results showed that cannabis might serve as an immune-modulating and regulating tool to maintain balance in an over- or under-reacting immune system (19 ) .
CBD for Inflammation
Inflammation caused by lupus can target different parts of the body, including joints, hands, feet, and even heart, especially during flare-ups or increased disease activity (20 ) .
Researchers of a study published in the journal Future of Medicinal Chemistry discovered cannabinoids to be a potential lupus treatment because of its anti-inflammatory properties (21 ) .
Some lupus patients may develop lupus myositis or the inflammation of skeletal muscles. According to a 2017 study, about 2% of the patients diagnosed with lupus have myositis and are more likely to have other complications , such as skin rash and alopecia areata (22) .
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that attacks the hair follicles which results in hair loss and baldness.
CBD oil tinctures can treat skin rashes and other skin inflammation , like eczema , with a low level of cannabinoids (23 ) . The topical use of CBD ointments on skin inflammations is also regarded as a safe and effective treatment, as cited in a 2019 study (24 ) .
CBD for Pain Relief
A study showed that almost 100% of people suffering from lupus experience muscle and joint pain (25 ) . More than half of the people stated that joint pain was the first symptom they felt after developing lupus.
When a lupus patient’s joints are inflamed, the person is more likely to develop lupus arthritis if not addressed quickly.
Compared to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus arthritis is less painful and less destructive. However, if untreated, lupus arthritis can lead to worsening joint and cartilage function that then can lead to muscle atrophy or loss of muscle tissue (26 ) .
A 2018 study stated that chronic pain is the most common reason why people use cannabis for medical purposes (27 ) . This kind of pain includes neuropathic pain or nerve pain that targets the sensory system and is difficult to treat or locate.
Significant studies show the positive effects of cannabinoids in suppressing inflammatory and nerve pains in rodents (28 ) .
Based on a study conducted on rats with osteoarthritis, CBD may be safe and therapeutic for joint pain relief (29 ) . CBD experiments with animals as test subjects showed no signs and symptoms of harmful side effects. These experiments show a promising result for the potential treatment of pain on humans.
CBD for High Blood Pressure
People with lupus who are long-term steroid users may pose a higher risk for cardiovascular diseases, like high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke (30 ) .
CBD has shown to have a positive impact on the cardiovascular system by widening blood vessels to increase blood flow and lower blood pressure (31 ) .
Blood pressure can increase due to anxiety and stress about the medical condition. Based on a study published in Medicine, about 25% of lupus patients have depression , while 37% have anxiety (32 ) .
High strength but moderate dosage of CBD can be an agent for relaxation for people suffering from anxiety-related disorders, such as panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (33 ) .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Lupus
- Studies aforementioned showcased CBD’s benefits in alleviating common symptoms for lupus. CBD may be safer than most drugs prescribed that may have severe side effects.
- The Lupus Foundation of America expresses its support for further research on using medical cannabis in treating lupus symptoms (34 ) .
- CBD “is generally well-tolerated with a good safety profile,” according to the World Health Organization (35 ) .
- CBD oil may be purchased over-the-counter in states and areas where they are legally available.
- Medical marijuana, cannabis plants used for treating illnesses and medical conditions, is not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (36 ) .
- CBD is an immunosuppressant, based on a 2020 study published on Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research (37 ) . It means that CBD may weaken the immune response of the body , which may help people who have an overactive immune system . CBD also has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects and thus may act as an immune modulator
- Some medications may negatively react when used at the same time with CBD. The reaction can result in adverse drug events , like injury, overdose, and allergic reactions (38 ) . Consult with a doctor knowledgeable with medical marijuana before purchasing any CBD product.
- There are unregulated and unsafe CBD products that have unproven medical claims that can harm the user. FDA has been warning the public about particular claims (39 ) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatments for Lupus
More than 50% of adults with lupus resort to complementary and alternative medicine as an addition or replacement to their prescribed medications (40 ) .
Complementary treatments are services or medications that are added to the current treatment to treat lupus. Meanwhile, alternative medicines are treatments or services that are used as substitutes for prescription drugs .
Complementary and alternative treatments include the following (41 ) :
- Traditional Chinese medicine , like acupuncture and Tai Chi
- Wellness programs , like massage therapy and meditation
- Herbal medicines and other supplements , like omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and N-Acetyl Cysteine
- Homeopathy and naturopathy, which are natural approaches to holistic healing
- Chiropractic pain relief treatment to correct bone alignment problems by “cracking” the spine
- Ayurveda, which is a non-traditional treatment that originated in India
- Biofeedback, which uses electrical sensors connected to the body to measure the body’s overall well-being
Though some of the mentioned treatments promote well-being and are harmless, these non-conventional practices still need further clinical research and rigorous scientific testing.
Consult a physician first to know if a particular treatment has side effects or may induce a specific reaction to the current medication.
On the other hand, CBD is also considered complementary and alternative medicine with the following characteristics:
- Hemp oil from cannabis seed can be a source of essential amino and fatty acids. These include eighteen different chemicals , such as hydrocarbons, carbohydrates, and terpenes , known for their medicinal properties (42 ) .
- While there are no treatments for lupus, CBD may help manage lupus symptoms, like inflammation, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and anxiety (43 ) .
How to Choose the Right CBD Oil for Lupus
Choosing the right CBD oil for lupus requires knowing which spectrum works best for lupus.
For more significant healing effects and enhanced health benefits, pick the full-spectrum CBD oil. It includes phytonutrients from hemp, which are the natural chemicals produced by plants.
Full-spectrum CBD oils deliver the entourage effect. The synergy of the combined chemicals, including THC, is a powerful and potent effect.
The broad-spectrum CBD oil is suitable for those who are sensitive and prone to allergic reactions. It delivers results slightly similar to the full-spectrum oil minus the THC.
Making informed choices based on the usage and purpose should be the top priority in considering the right CBD oil for any ailment or condition.
Other reminders that one should keep in mind while choosing the right CBD oil are the following:
- Research thoroughly and ensure that a reputable supplier or source manufactures the product.
- Be familiar with medical marijuana laws in the area and make sure to abide by those.
- Read product reviews before buying online. Look at positive and negative reviews about the store and the products. When buying a product in-store, ask if the store is authorized by the state or municipality to sell CBD.
- Look for certification codes or a certificate of analysis to ensure that the product underwent quality control from an accredited laboratory (44 ) .
CBD Dosage for Lupus
There is no specific dosage recommended for lupus treatment since there is no FDA-approved CBD treatment for lupus. Keep in mind that every treatment differs from one lupus patient to another.
However, it is best to take small amounts of CBD or a CBD:THC ratio as an ideal and safe measurement. If dissatisfied with the results, the dosage can be gradually increased .
Observe and take note of any side effects that may occur. It is better to track the dosage and possible reactions, side effects, or improvements for later consultation with a trusted physician.
Ultimately, seek information first from a medical practitioner before adding any CBD medication to the prescribed medication.
How to Take CBD Oil for Lupus
CBD products come in different forms that can fit into a person’s lifestyle and condition.
The most common forms of CBD are oil and tincture. Both provide instant comfort and relief for pain and inflammation. The former can be used with vape, while the latter can be mixed with food .
Ingesting CBD oil can sometimes leave an oily taste. The tincture is more suitable for direct ingestion because it has a broad selection of flavors.
Topical CBD products , like creams, lotions, salves, and patches , work well with skin inflammations and body pain. Products like these can be applied directly to the skin. These products can treat skin rashes caused by lupus (45 ) .
The American Academy of Dermatology suggested that topical CBD products may improve skin conditions , such as acne, psoriasis, and eczema (46 ) .
Other CBD products also come in pills. Beginners can also explore other CBD products in the form of gummies , lozenges, and other food items , like brownies for convenient consumption.
The Legality of CBD Oil
Out of the 50 states of the United States, 33 allow the use of medical marijuana (47 ) .
Out of the 33, only four states have been vocal about their permission to use marijuana to treat lupus, namely Hawaii, New Jersey, Illinois, and New Hampshire. Seven other states allow medical marijuana for lupus upon the recommendation of a physician.
Lupus is a life-changing autoimmune condition that has no cure. Every year records an estimated 16,000 new cases of lupus (48 ) .
Living as an immunocompromised person can be difficult. However, knowing the right type, right dosage, and the right way to take alternative treatments , like cannabinoids, may be a significant step towards a better life.
CBD can help alleviate lupus symptoms, such as inflammation and pain, hypertension, anxiety, skin infections, and photosensitivity.
Because of the side effects that come with certain drugs, people with lupus should engage in a conversation with their
CBD Oil (Cannabidiol) and Lupus
Online, there are thousands of anecdotes speaking to the benefits of CBD oil. But, what is it, and how can it help reduce lupus symptoms?
Before diving in on the research on CBD oil, we will start with the recent regulatory changes. The perspective of the United States’ government has shifted in the last 12 months due to new rulings and legislation.
NOTE: The following is a review of regulatory changes in the United States only. Always be sure of the legal status of any products you buy or use.
Is CBD oil legal to buy?
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever, marijuana-derived pharmaceutical drug on June 25, 2018. Epidiolex, derived from CBD, was approved for the treatment of two pediatric seizure disorders .
Following the announcement by the FDA, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency released their own statement which classified Epidiolex in schedule V of the Controlled Substance Act. Per the law, drugs are classified into 5 different categories (schedules) “depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drugs’ abuse or dependency potential.” Schedule I contains drugs considered to have no medical benefit (e.g., heroin, LSD, methaqualone, marijuana). In contrast, schedule V contains drugs with very low potential for abuse (e.g., cough syrups with low amounts of codeine, antidiarrheals).
The passage of the legislation resulted in a statement from Scott Gottlieb, M.D., the commissioner of the FDA. Gottlieb noted that the FDA still considers CBD a drug and, as such, it is illegal to put into foods/health products without approval from the FDA.
What does this all mean?
While there are pathways for approval now, most products currently on the shelves are not compliant with the regulations. A CBD oil product is de-scheduled so long as it was produced using legal hemp and does not make improper health claims. As pilot programs from the 2014 Farm Bill make it to market, and states adopt the changes of the 2018 Farm Bill, there will be an increase in these products.
Looking for more information? NORML provides information on the status of marijuana (both recreational and medical), hemp, and medical CBD for every state.
Okay… so what is CBD oil?
Cannabidiol , also known as CBD, is one of the extracts of the cannabis and hemp plants ( Cannabis sativa ) that is under research for its use in chronic diseases. Commonly taken from the hemp plant, CBD is a non-psychoactive chemical compound. CBD is different from Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound in cannabis associated with the “high.” Products can contain CBD alone or CBD with THC.
Because it does not cause a “high,” CBD extracts may provide relief without inhibiting a person.
CBD oil can come in a range of forms including:
- liquid drops or tinctures
- chewing gum
- cooking oils
- edibles (gummies, brownies)
- eLiquid or vape cartridges
- salves or balms
Dosage, time until onset, and duration of effects vary by method. Be sure to read labels closely!
Cannabinoids, the many chemical compounds that make up cannabis, are found naturally in the body. Through these body systems, medical cannabis may help regulate the sensations of pain and pleasure, the processes of thinking and memory, body movement, the awareness of time, and appetite regulations.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) studies show that CBD has some antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune-system regulating effects . CBD may also change how the brain responds to pain , making it feel less intense and reducing the need for pain medication. This gives it a lot of potential use for people with lupus.
CBD oil & lupus
Studies on cannabis have found potential for using CBD oil as a way to reduce lupus symptoms. Many of these studies are conducted with small numbers of participants or rely on anecdotal reports . However, the research is beginning to paint a compelling picture regarding the efficacy of CBD.
A 2010 review published by the HHS government agency details the effects that cannabinoids have on the body . CBD goes directly to the immune cells and cause weak or damaged cells to die off. They also suppress T-cell responses, a major source of inflammation. This weakens the immune response, protecting cells from being attacked by the overactive immune systems of people with lupus. A 2015 report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) that looks specifically at multiple sclerosis implies that CBD may also directly protect nerve cells from autoimmune damage.
They interfere with a particular cytokine called IL-6, which is associated with inflammation-related tissue damage and joint pain . CBD has also been tested in experimental mouse models for many autoimmune disorders, and are being moved to testing in human models.
There are many clinical trials in the works on how CBD oil might help with inflammation. For now, though, we have a plant extract with a high potential to help and a low potential for habit formation and side effects. As interest – and funding — increases for using CBD oil to treat autoimmune diseases, this evidence will come.
Things to consider
Just like with medications, it is possible to have interaction effects between medications and CBD. Be sure to talk to your lupus treatment team about any potential interactions before starting any new treatments.
Also, any smokable products provide additional risks. The smoke can damage lung tissue, increase cancer risks, and contribute to inflammation. Only get your CBD oil from a reputable distributor.
If you do use CBD oil, you should also be vigilant and make sure that it doesn’t trigger a symptom flare. Though CBD has an immune system suppressing effect, you may have an allergy or be sensitive to the cannabinoid. In general, CBD is traditionally well tolerated with a good safety profile.
If you’re looking at products, be wary of overstated claims for health benefits. While the research is promising, individual products have likely not been validated via a clinical trial. And, keep your eyes out for new research.
13 thoughts on “ CBD Oil (Cannabidiol) and Lupus ”
I’ve tried a couple of CBD oils with no luck. I have wasted big bucks and have been let down. It didn’t do a thing for me. Sorry.
Thanks for sharing your experience with CBD oil. It’s great to hear from both sides on treatments that are available over-the-counter and are not deeply researched!
Me either. It is so not cheap by any means!
Give Haleigh’s Hope a go. Very reputable and great reviews. Don’t give up searching! https://haleighshope.com/
How do you get into the study
After 13 months of taking CBD Oil, I am in remissions from multiple autoimmune and connective tissue diseases. It’s a miracle in a bottle.
Where do you get your CBD oil?
Out of sheer agony I tried CBD oil tincture to help with the ongoing pains of lupus and RA complicated by allodynia from a recent spinal surgery that didn’t go as planned. To my amazement I have much less pain all over! I am a retired RN Asst Professor and did plenty of research before taking the leap of faith. My Internist approved it and I have decreased the Ultram by half in the past week. It is too expensive though but I think prices will drop as it becomes more popular.
I have been using CBD Crude Oil from hemp. Very high% of CBD, 0% THC. It has helped with my Lupus, chronic pain, anxiety and other additional autoimmune disorders. It is from a known, registered, regulated, independent lab tested Hemp oil producer so I trust the product I get.
Hi Betty my sister is suffering from lupus. Where do you get your CBD oil?
I’m using full spectrum CBD oil for lupus symptoms and it’s been helping me very much…I highly recommend it!
Hi Suzanne my sister is suffering from lupus. Where do you get your CBD oil?
You have to speak to someone for good explanation on dosage and just knowledge about cbd I lost money because I didn’t get the right info on strength,I’m fighting a connective tissue illness.as well as ostioporosis,r.a. as well .