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Auto Immune Diseases and Medicinal Cannabis

Autoimmune diseases include any conditions where the body is attacked by one's own immune system - the system responsible for protecting the body against bacteria and viruses.

When the immune system senses a potential threat to the body's wellbeing, it sends cells to attack the threat. In most cases, the immune system can distinguish between foreign threats and your body's natural cells, however, in people that have an autoimmune disease the system mistakes regular bone, muscle and skin cells as foreign threats. 

Some autoimmune diseases target only one organ, for example type 1 diabetes damages the pancreas whereas diseases such as AIDS affect the whole body. 

What are some types of Autoimmune Disease?

Autoimmune Disease can affect people in different ways depending on the type of disease. Some autoimmune diseases are:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Psoriasis/psoriatic arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Addison’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Autoimmune vasculitis
  • Pernicious anemia
  • Celiac disease

Factors that may increase your risk of developing an autoimmune disease:

  • Sex
  • Genetics
  • Obesity
  • Smoking and exposure to toxic agents
  • Certain medications
  • Infections

How can medicinal cannabis help with Autoimmune Disease?

There are three primary ways that cannabis can benefit patients suffering from an autoimmune disease: lowering general inflammation, assisting digestion and immune system modulation

Medicinal cannabis has often been linked to lowering chronic pain and inflammation which makes it a great therapy for multiple autoimmune diseases. Conditions such as ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, Huntington disease and multiple sclerosis where pain features as a symptom could greatly benefit from medicinal cannabis treatments.

Some of the cannabis products that have shown to be beneficial treatments to autoimmune disease sufferers include:

  • Nabiximols
  • Dronbinol
  • THC:CBD extracts
  • CBD extracts
  • Cannabis Sativa
  • Cannabis Indica

They can be consumed as an oil, vape liquid, sprays and wafers.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Autoimmune Disease and are considering medicinal cannabis as a potential treatment, please speak to your GP or to one of our SAS accredited doctors here.