CBD For Autoimmune Diseases

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Autoimmune diseases are pretty common today in America. It’s likely that you know someone who is suffering considering 1 in 5 Americans suffer from some type of autoimmunity. Cannabidiol (CBD) has shown in studies and as anecdotal evidence that it may be able to help people manage this lifelong illness.

Cannabidiol (CBD) may be able to help with autoimmune disease because of the way it interacts with the immune system. By elevating an endocannabinoid that mediates the immune functions of the body, CBD hemp oil may be able to help make the chronic illness more manageable.

What is An Autoimmune Disease

Your immune system is what fights off viruses and bacteria that may be detrimental to your health. Without your immune system, you could die from a common cold. Many illnesses can make the immune system less effective, but autoimmune disease kind of does the opposite.

When you have an autoimmune disease, your body is mistakenly attacking healthy tissue. This can cause pain and inflammation that gets in the way of everyday life. Autoimmune comes in all shapes and sizes, each one with their own painful twist to the disease.

What Are Autoimmune Diseases

While this isn’t a complete list of autoimmune diseases, these are some of the most common. What you’ll notice is that the immune system is what causes the body to react differently.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is when the immune system attacks the joints. The inflammation causes the tissue that is supposed to help lubricate the joints, called synovium, to become thick and inflamed. This is what causes the swelling, redness, and pain in rheumatoid arthritis.

Graves Disease

Graves disease is when the immune system causes the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones. This can cause weight changes, weakness, troubled sleep, nervousness, and irritability.

Sjogren’s

Sjogren’s is an autoimmune disease that can affect organs like your kidneys, blood vessels, GI tract, lungs, liver, pancreas and central nervous system. You can experience pain in the joints or muscles, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes.

Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a chronic illness that can cause pain and fatigue in your muscles. The pain can vary in intensities, but even on the lighter end of the scale, it can still get in the way of everyday activities. Some common symptoms of fibromyalgia are pain in the muscles, fatigue, nausea, constipation, anxiety, forgetfulness, and depression.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an illness that happens when the immune system causes inflammation of the skin, causing it to produce skin cells too quickly. Because the skin can’t shed the skin cells fast enough, they start to pile up on each other causing the red and itchy skin rashes.

Lupus

Lupus is another autoimmune disease that can attack all over the body. This particular autoimmune disease can be life-threatening in severe cases. Lupus can cause you to have shortness of breath, skin lesions, fevers, fatigue, and joint pain.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is when the immune system attacks the central nervous system. The immune system inflames a fatty substance that insulates nerve fibers, causing pain in various parts of the body. Typical symptoms are things like pain, fatigue, dizziness, excessive urinating, anxiety, mood swings, sexual dysfunction, slurred speech, and depression.

Diabetes

Diabetes is also an autoimmune disease. While it was once thought that it was a metabolic disorder, researchers believe that the insulin resistance is a product of the immune system attacking healthy tissue. Common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, hunger, fatigue, and blurred vision.  

Treatment Options

Diet

Some people have tried the autoimmune protocol diet with the theory that gut bacteria affect the immune system. This diet is a nutrient-based diet that excludes foods that have been known to irritate gut bacteria.

Foods To Exclude For At Least The First Thirty Days

  • Grains and pseudo-grains
  • Legumes, seeds, and nuts
  • Nightshade vegetables like potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, chili, and eggplants
  • All dairy
  • Eggs
  • Modern vegetable oils
  • Alcohol
  • Natural and artificial sugar and sweeteners
  • NSAIDs like ibuprofen and aspirin

What CAN You Eat?

  • All vegetables except nightshades
  • Seafood
  • Meats
  • Fermented foods
  • Fruit in small quantities

Medication

Researchers have suggested that using immunosuppressants for autoimmune diseases. Their only issue is that remission is still uncommon with these medications. Some scientists have seen success in immune-ablating by auto transplanting stem cells, but researchers believe that resetting the immune system should be the actual goal, instead.

With the emerging research on cannabis in the last few decades, scientists are now starting to discover that CBD may be a valid treatment option for autoimmune disease. While we don’t know if it meets the goals of resetting the immune system, the interaction it has with the body could be beneficial for patients.

What is CBD

Cannabidiol is a chemical found in the cannabis plant. At CBD Instead, all of our products are a derivative of hemp instead of the marijuana plant. CBD, unlike THC, doesn’t get the user high but it still has many of the healing benefits that cannabis has to offer.

The way cannabidiol works is by indirectly interacting with the endocannabinoid system. By elevating chemicals, stimulating receptors, and opening channels, CBD has shown to help the endocannabinoid system work more efficiently. This information is meaningless if you don’t know what the endocannabinoid system is, so get ready to learn.

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system is a regulator of our body. It is in charge of making sure everything in the body is running efficiently. When you get a paper cut, the endocannabinoid system is why you don’t get an infection or bleed out. Cannabidiol helps regulate this system by elevating endocannabinoids which in turn bind to cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors are located all over the body. They each have their respective jobs and help mediate functions in the body when stimulated by endocannabinoids. The CB1 receptor helps to regulate the neurological functions while the CB2 receptor helps to mediate immune functions.

Endocannabinoids

The two endocannabinoids that have researchers’ attention are anandamide and 2-AG. Anandamide mainly binds to the CB1 receptor while 2-AG primarily binds to the CB2 receptor. Endocannabinoids travel backward from the receiving cell to the sending cell, helping to control the activity going on in the brain.  

How CBD May Help With Autoimmune Diseases

Studies have shown that cannabidiol can suppress a large number of inflammatory genes activated by T cells. When the inflammation does occur, studies suggest that CBD can help prevent damage done to the brain.

Rodent Model Evidence

In rodent models where the subjects had paralysis caused by experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, CBD helped to relieve the paralysis from their hind legs. A study with rodent models with diabetes, cannabidiol showed to stop the onset of autoimmune disease. While these trials are still in their early stages, learning the mechanics behind how cannabis helps is an exciting adventure that could prove to be beneficial should these trials begin on human subjects.

How Does It Work?

Because cannabidiol elevates the 2-AG endocannabinoid, it may be able to help with autoimmune diseases. The 2-AG endocannabinoid travels from the receiving cell to the sending cell with a message to stop sending out so many attack cells.

While CBD suppresses immune functions, it doesn’t stop all immune cells from being sent out. This may be the reason that people can still heal from injuries while reducing inflammation. CBD can do more than just help with the swelling, CBD has shown in studies to help with other symptoms of an autoimmune disease that makes these illnesses so unbearable.

Pain

Inflammation causes pain, so people with autoimmune diseases have to live with that suffering usually daily. The endocannabinoid anandamide may be able to help with that because it helps mediate neurological functions, including your sensitivity to pain. While it doesn’t cure the illness that causes the pain, when anandamide binds to the CB1 receptor, it tells the receptor to stop sending pain signals helping to make it more manageable.

Depression

Depression is common in people who experience chronic pain. Research shows that people who have depression and pain together often overlook their depressive symptoms. Cannabidiol has shown to possibly be a fast-acting anti-depressant. With rodent models experiencing chemical changes in their brain within the first thirty minutes of taking the medication, it is looking very promising for the mental health world.  

Muscle Spasms

Muscle spasms are common with people who have muscle pain, like with multiple sclerosis. Research indicates that cannabidiol has the ability to reduce the frequency of muscle spasms. Inflammation can make your muscle contract which is what the spasms are. By reducing this inflammation, CBD oil may be able to help with this particular pain.

Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom cross the board of illnesses. It’s when you feel tired even after having a good night’s rest. It can also impair your cognitive performance, making you feel foggy. Cannabidiol has shown in studies to be a wake-promoting agent while also helping people get a better night’s sleep. Taking a small amount can lead to feeling more awake while taking a large dose of CBD has shown to help promote the REM state.

Talk To your Doctor

If you have an autoimmune disease and you want to start taking CBD hemp oil for it, talk to your doctor about integrating it into your regimen. You most likely are on other medications, and CBD can cause certain drugs to act differently in the body. Your doctor can also monitor you more closely and has the tools to make sure this is the best treatment options for you.

Have you used CBD oil for your autoimmune disease? We would love to hear about it in the comment section below!

Sarah Potts

Sarah Potts has been writing about the wonderful benefits of cannabis for CBD Instead since 2017. Medical cannabis has changed her life and her goal is to show others how it might help them as well.

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