Medical marijuana has emerged as an alternative, holistic treatment option for lupus symptoms. Read on to learn more about how lupus patients can benefit from medical marijuana use.
What is Lupus?
Lupus is a debilitating long-term condition that impacts an estimated 1.5 million Americans. Unfortunately, conventional treatment for lupus mainly consists of drugs including immunosuppressants, antimalarial drugs, and corticosteroids. These drugs may lead to harmful side effects, and the risks increase with long-term use.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can cause inflammation anywhere in the body, from the joints to the skin and even vital organs. With lupus, the immune system can’t differentiate between antigens, which are harmful or foreign intruders in the body, and healthy tissue. So, it attacks healthy tissue throughout the body, leading to symptoms including pain, fatigue, fever, and often a facial butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks.
How Medical Marijuana Helps with Symptoms of Lupus?
Many drugs that have been developed for lupus over the past decade have failed or have significant side effects, leading to greater interest in medical marijuana as a natural alternative to help patients manage symptoms of the disease.
Cannabinoid Receptors and Inflammation
Cannabis activates two cannabinoid receptors in the body: CB1 and CB2. The CB1 receptor affects the release of neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine, leading to the high associated with marijuana use. The CB2 receptor, on the other hand, has a significant impact on inflammation.
When marijuana activates the CB2 receptor, fewer cytokines are released by the body; cytokines are involved in inflammatory reactions in the body. So, by inhibiting the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, medical cannabis can decrease inflammation in the body, helping in the treatment of autoimmune conditions like lupus.
Florida Lupus Patients and Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana comes in many forms, from the dried plant to edibles, oils, and topical creams. In Florida, lupus is on the list of qualifying conditions for a Florida Medical Marijuana Card. If you’ve been diagnosed with lupus, you can visit a qualified medical marijuana doctor at Tetra Health Care to begin the process of obtaining medical cannabis to manage lupus symptoms.
Contact Tetra Health Care to schedule an appointment.