Autoimmune disorders can make your life miserable. These diseases cause your body’s natural defense system to attack itself instead of invading pathogens. They can impact any organ of the body and create many adverse effects.
These conditions frustrate medical practitioners. Current treatments work for some patients but not others, and some medications can also produce dangerous side effects. Cannabis offers a promising new protocol. Here’s what individuals with these disorders should know about this healing herb.
1. Psoriatic Arthritis
Psoriasis consists of red patches on the skin that occur when your immune system attacks the body’s largest organ. These vary from localized plaques and itching to full-body flares. Many sufferers find this disease disfiguring, and it dramatically interferes with their overall quality of life. Several patients also develop arthritis symptoms when the immune system attacks joints, as well.
CBD is a non-hallucinogenic terpene found in cannabis. Plaques arise when the rate of skin cell division accelerates faster than the body sloughs off old cells. Research indicates that the substance decelerates skin cell division, which helps halt the development of plaques.
2. Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) shares many symptoms in common with osteoarthritis. However, unlike in the former condition, which occurs primarily in patients aged 40 and older, RA can strike at any age. This difference occurs because osteoarthritis results from wear and tear on the joints, whereas RA arises from an autoimmune disorder.
Patients with RA experience pain and swelling in multiple joints — sometimes to the degree where they become twisted and deformed. This swelling occurs when the synovial fluid becomes inflamed. Several terpenes in cannabis, including CBD, offer potent anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate the ache.
3. Crohn’s Disease
Crohn’s disease affects the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike ulcerative colitis — a related condition that impacts the intestines only — Crohn’s can occur anywhere in the digestive system. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, as well as constipation and diarrhea. Some cases become so severe that patients require surgical removal of part of their digestive tract.
Many Crohn’s patients report considerable relief from medical marijuana. Experimental evidence indicates that endocannabinoid receptors, molecules in the body resembling cannabis, may play a role in limiting intestinal inflammation associated with this disease. Patients with a low quality-of-life index report the most significant relief.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) shares symptoms such as diarrhea and constipation with Crohn’s. However, in the former disease, patients develop ulcers along their digestive tract from the inflammation. In IBS, patients endure no such ulcers. Furthermore, the condition only affects the large intestine.
Because this disorder can increase the frequency and urgency of bowel movements, patients sometimes fear to eat around others. This hesitancy can lead to the development of anorexia. Cannabis can stimulate the appetite and alleviate anorexia, which can help these patients get the caloric intake they need.
5. Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis occurs when the body attacks the central and peripheral nervous system. Patients with this disease develop lesions in the white and gray matter of their brain and spinal cord. They may experience problems with balance and coordination.
In this disorder, the body attacks the myelin sheath that coats and protects nerve surfaces. Research indicates that cannabis may help prevent the destruction of this nerve covering, slowing the progression of the disease. It can also alleviate symptoms associated with medications, such as nausea and vomiting.
Lupus is an autoimmune disorder that attacks multiple organs of the body. It can impact the kidneys, and the majority of deaths from the disease stem from the failure of these vital organs. Lupus can also affect your lungs and heart.
Cannabis lowers levels of a substance known as interleukin-2, which interferes with wound healing. It also raises levels of interleukin-19, a similar body chemical with anti-inflammatory properties.
Uveitis occurs when the middle layer of the eye becomes inflamed. It can cause redness and blurry vision, as well as floating objects in the visual field. Cannabis lowers intraocular pressure, which can alleviate some of the pain associated with this disorder. However, further research is needed to discover the long-term effects of this treatment.
Fibromyalgia causes widespread pain throughout the body. Many patients experience trigger points that become hot and painful. Patients often experience cognitive difficulties and overwhelming fatigue, as well.
Certain cannabis strains help energize patients. While it can cause confusion, anecdotal evidence suggests that the uplifting effects benefit those pushing through exhaustion.
9. Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas, which produces insulin. In this disease, the body cannot produce sufficient insulin on its own. Without proper levels of this chemical, blood glucose levels elevate. This increase can lead to seizures and death.
One research study indicated that THCV and CBD both helped to lower blood glucose levels, offering possible complementary treatment for the condition. Additionally, using cannabis to relax doesn’t cause drastic blood sugar fluctuations the way alcohol does.
Cannabis Offers Powerful Autoimmune Disease Treatment
While further research is needed, cannabis offers promise in treating various autoimmune diseases. Hopefully, as legalization measures continue to spread, this healing herb will provide more patients with substantial relief.