Lupus can be a debilitating disease that is affecting roughly 1.5 million Americans and unfortunately there is no cure. The disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder which means the body’s natural immune system attacks its other natural systems. Natural antibodies will seemingly attack anything, whether it is the patient’s organs, blood cells or joints. The opiate based drugs that have traditionally been prescribed to patients often come with addiction and side-effects, so the question is now; can cannabis help lupus sufferers?
A person with lupus may be dealing with chronic pain, inflammation and skin rashes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the active cannabinoid found in marijuana that is not psychoactive. CBD attaches to CB receptors found throughout the body in the endocannabinoid system, similar to how the opioids found in opiates connect to the opioid system receptors found throughout the body. When CBD attaches to CB receptors it can result in pain and inflammation reduction. If you you add in THC and other active cannabinoids found in marijuana, the individual suffering from lupus may get a better night’s sleep and help with their appetite. It cannot be said enough that more research needs to be conducted and unfortunately lupus patients need the federal government to de-schedule marijuana for the extensive research that is necessary. Does cannabis help lupus patients? Based off of the research that has been completed so far, medical marijuana seems like a good fit, don’t you think?
In the wake of the opioid controversy, it’s important to understand that some patients will do just about anything to resolve their pain. Without stronger medications, most will suffer in silence. Some are even being told to take Tylenol for pain that was once treated with much stronger drugs. The options for pain control are sparse, and many patients are looking for more natural alternatives.
One alternative available for some is medical marijuana. Luckily for me, here in California, medical marijuana has been legal since 1996. It recently was legalized for recreational use. Today, 29 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana and for good reason. Although more research needs to be done, patients have been shown to gain control of pain while using it. It has shown promising responses in patients with lupus, reducing pain and inflammation. It can help regulate mood, appetite, sleep, pain, and even our immune systems.
Before I began experimenting with medical cannabis, I was taking a myriad of pain pills, ranging from Tylenol with codeine to morphine. At the height of my pain, I was on a prescription dose of 200 Norco (acetaminophen and hydrocodone) tablets each month. While the pills did control most of the pain, they came with unwanted side effects. The nausea, constipation, and overall feeling of malaise were enough to have me looking for other options. I also experienced toxic poisoning from methotrexate and wanted a more natural approach. I was told by a few other lupus patients that medical marijuana had helped them immensely.
I enlisted the help of another, more experienced patient and began to do my own research. I talked to my doctors and we agreed that it would be a viable option for me. The relief I received from marijuana was nothing like I had ever experienced. Not only was my pain under control, but also I was not experiencing the awful side effects of the prescribed pain meds. My nausea lessened and the migraines stopped. The marijuana also had the added benefit of sleep, which was something that I had trouble with for years. It also helped to lessen my anxiety and gave me an overall sense of well-being.
While some may regard those who use marijuana as lazy and unproductive, it has quite the opposite effect on me. With my pain gone, my entire quality of life improved. I am able to do things that I used to be restricted in doing. Things that most people take for granted, like walking the dog or doing chores around the house, I was finally able to do again.
Most people believe that you can only smoke marijuana, but there are a variety of ways you can ingest it. Vaping is a popular form, as are edibles and capsules. For those who experience joint or muscle pain, lotions and salves also prove helpful. Whatever your preference or need, there are ways to administer cannabis. It may take some experimenting, but it is possible to find relief. Marijuana has helped me, and I will continue to use it. Whatever you decide, be sure to consult your physician and always be honest about your use.