Cannabis as Part of Treatment for Lupus

There is an estimated 1.5 million Americans who have lupus and 5 million out of the worldwide population according to the Lupus Foundation of America. While it’s true that this condition is not really lethal, you can never be sure when it’s left untreated. For this reason, you have to address this condition with the right treatment. This article will give you an idea of the available ones you can try as well as the controversial “possibility” you still might not be aware of.

The Nature of Lupus

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), or just lupus, is an autoimmune condition that is usually long-term. It mostly affects women (more than 90%) between the ages of 15 to 45. Hence, it happens when your immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy cells and tissues that leads to the appearance of a variety of symptoms. These include inflammation, swelling, damage to your skin, joints, blood, and certain organs such as kidneys, heart, brain, and lungs. Thus, severe cases of this condition can result in organ failure.

Lupus can be fatal. It can lead to early deaths among its patients primarily due to kidney failure. Although cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke can also become another issue to be observed. Infections too, which are caused by immune-suppressing drugs, can contribute besides them. Furthermore, other health concerns like pancreatitis, vasculitis, pleurisy, pericarditis, and cancer will be on a higher risk. Nevertheless, because of the treatments that are used today, all of them can be possibly prevented with an 80 to 90 percent probability rate.

Treatments for Lupus

On the note, there are some treatments you can use to manage lupus if you are diagnosed with it. Medications are available depending on the symptoms that you wanted to be treated. It’s the reason why you have to discuss all of your concerns with your doctor before buying any of them. After all, these drugs are mostly acquired only through prescription. It’s because once flare-ups subside, you will need to change your dosage or the medicines themselves. These include:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

You can use some over the counter NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen sodium to treat not only pain but also swelling and fever. Prescriptions of them are also available for more intense symptoms. However, they may have severe side effects such as increased risk of heart ailments, kidney issues, and stomach bleeding.

Antimalarial drugs

Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are commonly used for malaria treatment, but they can also work with lupus by affecting the immune system. They can reduce the flares of your symptoms. Although side effects such as a rare case of damage on your retina and upset stomach are at risk. It’d be best if you can do regular eye examinations when using these drugs.


These drugs can work against inflammation of lupus. You can start with prednisone before you take high doses like methylprednisolone when it reaches your brain and kidneys. Some side effects include easy bruising, weight gain, osteoporosis (thinning bones), diabetes, hypertension, and a higher risk of infection.


These drugs may help severe cases of lupus. They include azathioprine, methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug), and mycophenolate mofetil. Possible side effects are higher risks of liver damage, infertility, cancer, and infection.

Biologics and rituximab can also be used for the treatment of lupus. The former is usually administered intravenously (IV). Its side effects are diarrhea, nausea, infections, and rare cases of worsened depression. Meanwhile, the latter is typically for resistant lupus. Its side effects are an allergic reaction (due to IV infusion) and infections. You can also try alternative medicines such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA hormone supplements), fish oil, and acupuncture.

The Role of Cannabis for Lupus Treatment

The use of cannabis can offer relief from inflammation among other symptoms of lupus. This happens through the interaction of cannabinoids with the CB2 receptors. You see, the latter has a direct contribution to the modulation of your inflammatory response. The former has the ability to increase the anti-inflammatory mechanism in proteins called interleukin-10, and decrease interleukin-2 (proinflammation) at the same time. In other words, the plant’s use as a medicine for lupus is possible because it has certain compounds that work well with reduced inflammation in a systematic manner. For this reason, many studies and clinical trials are launched to determine and explain such potential.

Although you have to know that most of the results already showed undeniable approval. On the other hand, if you still feel doubtful of medical cannabis as a treatment for this condition, you can always turn to natural remedies. These include a healthy lifestyle by eating right, exercising regularly, avoiding too much sun exposure, and smoking. You can also ask your doctor for better advice, especially if you already have plans for yourself. For all you know, they might worsen your condition rather than improve them. In the end, you have to take care of your health as lupus concerns your immune system.

Using medications that can give benefits to your immune system has the potential to be used. However, that doesn’t mean that they can be practically anything. For instance, if you have gallbladder issues, turmeric use will not be advisable. Even though it can be useful for pain and swelling in your joints because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, this is an issue it can’t work well. Instead, you can try ginger as it’s been proven a powerful home remedy for not just lupus but also many other health conditions.

The Truth About the Matter

Generally speaking, you can use medical cannabis as a part of your treatment for lupus. You can add it alongside natural remedies, medications, or the alternative ones if you want. It’s really up to you as you are the one who can identify whether your symptoms have been improving or not by its use. However, the opinion of your doctor is still the best plan you should consider the most. After all, the will to keep yourself on the right shape usually starts within you. Applying it into action is only the result of the decision that you made.

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