Using Cannabis for Autoimmune Disorders Overview
The endocannabinoid system is the key role player in many autoimmune disorders, however, treating these autoimmune conditions with plant cannabinoids isn’t well understood at this time. It’s the CB2 receptors that is responsible for modulating the function of the all immune system cells in the body. Since cannabinoids have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive activity, this makes them a great possible candidate in treatment of autoimmune disorders such as:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Septic shock
- Addison’s disease
- Celiac disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Graves’ disease
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Lyme disease
- Mast-cell disorders
- Myasthenia gravis
- Sjogren’s syndrome
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
What are Autoimmune Disorders?
Autoimmune disorders include any diseases or disorders characterized by tissue injury caused by an apparent immunologic reaction of the host with their own tissues, distinguished from autoimmune response, with which it may or may not be associated.
So, in simpler terms-autoimmune disorders are when something happens to an individual’s immune system causing it to function abnormally, the body forms antibodies that react against its own tissues. Unable to distinguish between internal antigens that normally present in the cells and external invading antigens, the body reacts against the internal cells to cause localized and system reactions. These reactions affect the epithelial and connective tissues of the body causing a variety of symptoms. Autoimmune disorders are divided into two categories:
- The collagen diseases (connective tissue diseases)
- The autoimmune hemolytic disorders
The collagen diseases include disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus, Scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis. The autoimmune hemolytic diseases include disorders such as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, and acquired anemia.
Sometimes these autoimmune disorders can be treated with immunosuppression.
Common Symptoms that Occur with Most Autoimmune Diseases
There are many common symptoms that can occur with most autoimmune diseases which include:
- joint pain
- muscle pain
- poor appetite
- impaired memory or concentration (referred to as brain fog)
- abdominal pain
CBD and THC are both potent anti-inflammatory agents, muscle relaxants, and pain relievers. In pre-clinical studies, CBD has shown to regulate the autoimmune system by decreasing substances produced by the body that cause inflammation.
Effectiveness of Cannabis on Autoimmune Disorders
It’s possible that cannabis may be effective in treating autoimmune disorders. There is currently promising research going on regarding autoimmune disorders.
How to Dose with Cannabis to Treat Autoimmune Disorders
In order to effectively suppress immune response, doses of THC may be too high to avoid significant adverse levels of psychoactivity. One proposed method that may help with this is called titrating. Titrating is when the THC dose is gradually increased to assess immunosuppression levels. Once the user develops tolerance to the psychoactivity of THC. Issues of psychoactivity can be avoided by exploring non-psychoative cannabinoids such as THCV and CBD.
Ways to Ingest Cannabis for Autoimmune Disorders
Vaping or Smoking
These methods are also effective for symptomatic relief.