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Is CBD Oil Effective for Lupus?

Posted by Lewis Olden on
Is CBD Oil Effective for Lupus?

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CBD is a derivative of the cannabis plant and is one of over 150 cannabinoids contained within the cannabis plant. CBD is becoming more than a trend as people are starting to realise the benefits that CBD can have. CBD is associated with treating conditions that often have symptoms of inflammation and pain.

To this date there is no conclusive evidence that CBD oil is an effective and safe treatment for Lupus. There is currently more research being undertaken, which may lead to data and evidence that can come to a definitive conclusion as to whether CBD oil is effective at treating Lupus.

Medical cannabis is still only available for very specific conditions on the NHS and is only available through private clinics in the UK. This means that CBD oil may be the best option to establish whether a cannabis derived product is effective in treating Lupus. There is a new medical cannabis card called the Cancard that is being launched in November 2020. The Cancard will allow anyone who has a chronic condition that can be prescribed medical cannabis by a private clinic to be exempt from prosecution for possessing cannabis. This is a positive step for all chronic pain sufferers who believe that cannabis effectively treats their symptoms.

What is Lupus?

Lupus causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and affect organs within the body such as the heart, lungs and brain. Lupus can initiate the deterioration of these organs. Lupus flare ups can leave sufferers so fatigued with the absence of energy and in so much pain they cannot accomplish the simplest things, including walking. Many Lupus patients cannot even set foot outside on a sunny day because the condition means that they are susceptible to sunburn.

There is estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000 people who suffer from Lupus in the UK. It still remains unknown what the exact cause of Lupus is and there is currently no known cure for Lupus. Therefore, existing treatment options focus on treating the symptoms of Lupus to improve the patient’s daily life by controlling the symptoms and attempting to minimise the flare ups that can lead to organ damage.

What is CBD Oil?

CBD is shorthand for cannabidiol, and it is a derivative of the cannabis plant. CBD does not get you high because it does not have any psychoactive effects. It is the cannabinoid named THC that causes the infamous high so often associated with cannabis and marijuana.

There are rising claims around that using CBD oil for medical purposes is effective. It is still early in the evolution of CBD and cannabis within society and there is still a great deal of evidence that needs to be obtained before the medical benefits of CBD can be declared definite. However, initial studies have been positive and there certainly seems to be growing clinical evidence that CBD oil can help treat certain conditions.

CBD oil has the capacity to treat a range of medical conditions. The conditions that may be able to treat include: 

When it comes to consuming CBD there are many options available. The most popular method of administering CBD is CBD tincture oil. CBD oil is taken by placing several drops underneath the tongue and it is sub lingually absorbed. CBD sprays are also an effective and common manner in which to consume CBD, similarly to CBD oil with a CBD spray you simply spray the thinner oil underneath your tongue.

CBD patches are an incredible delivery system with which to consume CBD. CBD patches are similar in size to a normal plaster and are just placed on the top of your arm or inside of the wrist. The CBD is contained within the adhesive that is used to stick to the skin and is pressure activated.

Cannabinoids are a chemical that bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system, glands and organs. Whereas CB2 receptors are mostly located in the immune system and in the liver, kidneys, heart and bones.

When a cannabinoid such as CBD binds to a receptor within the human body, the result depends on which receptor is activated. This is why CBD can produce effects ranging from mood alteration, reducing inflammation, improved digestion and the firing of neurotransmitters which are the chemical signals sent from the brain to the rest of the body.

The human body has its own endocannabinoid system. However, cannabinoids can be found in nature and are most abundant in the cannabis plant. THC and CBD are the most renowned cannabinoids and the most understood. THC bunds to both CB1 & CB2 receptors with the CB1 receptor being responsible for the psychoactive effect of getting high. When a cannabinoid binds to a CB2 receptor, a series of proteins that decrease inflammation are produced. These proteins are named resolvins.

CBD Oil for Lupus

There is still a lack of clinical evidence concerning the relationship between CBD and Lupus. Existing knowledge of CBD and its therapeutic effects allow researchers to make a reasonable assessment on whether CBD will have a positive impact on treating symptoms or conditions. CBD could be a future treatment for Lupus due to several reasons:

  • Lupus is a condition that adds to the epidemic of pain which includes untreated pain. Current treatments for Lupus are far from perfect meaning that existing suppliers of Lupus medications must be aware of the potential CBD may have in treating Lupus.
  • Across the western world there is an increasing problem with the prescribing of opioids. The side effects of opioids have an appalling effect on the user and society at large. Overdoses, deaths and the destruction of people’s lives can all be attributed to opioids. Many doctors would much prefer to prescribe a medication that does not have such severe side effects.
  • Research suggests that CBD is effective in treating pain and inflammation. CBD is widely considered to be safe and does not have any severe side effects. Lupus involves a substantial amount of inflammation; this is why it is thought that CBD oil could be effective in treating those suffering with Lupus.
  • While it cannot be spoken about too much, there is much anecdotal evidence to suggest that CBD is effective when used to help ease the symptoms of Lupus.

A 2018 study discovered that CBD has the capability to alter T-Cell activity after a spinal cord injury. T-Cells are an integral aspect of the immune system. The abnormal activity of T-Cells is believed to be involved in causing Lupus. 

Lupus pain is caused by several different factors. The pain from nerve damage also known as neuropathy can be encompassed within a Lupus diagnosis. There have been studies that have found that CBD oil can alleviate pain caused from neuropathy in HIV and diabetes patients.

The Side Effects of CBD 

The side effects of CBD are limited and are far less imposing than the side effects of many other medications used to treat Lupus. Some known side effects of using CBD are: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Change in appetite

CBD does not have any addictive characteristics. CBD is not addictive. CBD is also believed to have a very low toxicity level which means you cannot overdose on CBD.

Is CBD Legal?

The legal status of the cannabis is complicated. There are over one hundred cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and they each have different yet similar properties. CBD is legal in the UK so long as the product contains less than 0.2% THC. THC is illegal in the UK and Europe due to its’ psychoactive effects. 

There is incoming EU legislation classifying CBD as a Novel Food, specifically pertaining to ingestible CBD products. This classification will provide definitive legislation and industry standards for CBD in Europe. To be compliant with the Novel Food legislation, all ingestible CBD products must be formulated with CBD isolate and no full spectrum CBD will be considered compliant past 31 March 2021.

CBD’s classification as a Novel Food in Europe is a positive step. It means that the foundation is being built to allow further investigative research to be carried out to assess the full capabilities of CBD and its therapeutic effects. 

CBD is legal in Ireland so long as the CBD product contains less than 0.2% THC. There are currently conflicts between EU & Irish legislation. Hopefully, this is clarified with the classification of CBD as a novel food and the industry can begin to grow in Ireland.

CBD was federally legalised in the United States of America.

Existing links between Medical cannabis and Lupus 

There is still a lack of research involving the therapeutic effect cannabis can have on Lupus. Preliminary studies have taken place to assess the effect of cannabis on treating autoimmune diseases. These early studies suggest that cannabis may be a viable treatment method for autoimmune diseases. CBD has been consistently proven to act as an anti-inflammatory and an immunosuppressant. Conditions that may be able to be treated by CBD oil and medical cannabis are autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes and allergic asthma.


There is still a great deal of research that needs to be carried out to comprehend the full potential of CBD as a treatment for Lupus. Clinical data needs to be collated and studied to ascertain whether Lupus could be effectively treated with CBD or medical cannabis containing THC. CBD will not be able to cure Lupus, but it could help those suffering with the condition manage their symptoms and improve their daily life.

While much research needs to be done, the prospect of Lupus patients being able to manage their symptoms with greater control using CBD or medical cannabis seems to be possible and it will just take time for the appropriate evidence to transpire.

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