Many autoimmune diseases are covered under state medical cannabis regimes, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, ALS (or Lou Gehrig’s disease), Huntington disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus. Those conditions represent a few of the 80 registered autoimmune disorders, where the immune system is triggered by the body’s healthy tissues and attacks them as invaders.
In the U.S., 50 million suffer from an autoimmune disorder; 75 percent of that population are women.
Cannabis is a known immune system modulator
Cannabis, along with some other herbs, may help bring the immune system back into balance and help alleviate the symptoms of some autoimmune disorders by triggering cannabinoid receptors. Preclinical studies have found that triggering the CB2 receptor can suppress immune response and prohibit inflammation and enhance the body’s own anti-inflammatory response.
CBD2 receptors are found throughout the body – including in bones, skin, and the spleen – and the immune system.
CBD oil for the immune system
CBD oil, in particular, has shown to slow T-cell production and suppress immune system memory and increase gene expression dealing with oxidative stress which might reduce cell damage from autoimmune attacks. THC, on the other hand, has shown to be an immune system suppressant only at very high doses but a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory at very low doses. Some cannabis terpenes – such as beta-caryophyllene and myrcene – have shown to have anti-inflammatory properties as well; however, not all cannabis contains the same terpene profiles but in legal and some medical states terpene profiles are made available to consumers.
Other AI diseases that cannabis could be an effective therapy for
Not all autoimmune diseases are covered by state medical cannabis programs despite cannabis having a promising role in alleviating symptoms and regulating autoimmune responses. Celiac disease, for example, effects 1 in 141 Americans but is not a qualifying condition under any medical cannabis program in the U.S. In 2013, National Institutes of Health researchers concluded that activating the endocannabinoid system played a role in the overall health of the intestinal track for celiac patients.
Autoimmune disease – Cannabis for Fibromyalgia
According to a Care by Design patient survey, CBD was effective at reducing pain in 100 percent of fibromyalgia patients who responded to the study but the condition is included in just seven medical cannabis programs. A 2014 study by German researchers at the University of Heidelberg found THC to be an effective pain management therapy for fibromyalgia patients.
What products and delivery systems might work for me?
High CBD, due to its anti-inflammatory properties are a good first step. Full spectrum products are more likely to contain other helpful cannabinoids like CBG and CBN. CBG has shown to be an effective tool in battling autoimmune diseases – namely inflammatory bowel disease and Huntington’s. Likewise, CBN research, albeit limited, has yielded promising results that the cannabinoid reduces pain and inflammation. CBN-rich products are also harder to find as it requires THC to be exposed to oxygen over time; however, products with pronounced CBN profiles are available.
Cannabinoids and terpenes combine for healing
When managing medical conditions with cannabis it’s important to look for products that have the right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes. You’d need high doses of THC, the psychoactive compound, to invoke an autoimmune response, while full spectrum CBD-rich products do not have the psychoactive qualities while seemingly providing relief for a wider number of autoimmune disorders. Smoking and vaping will provide a near-immediate response, while edibles take up to an hour to work through the body.
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