What Are the Best Strains for Autoimmune Disease?
For many users of medical marijuana, knowing the best strains for autoimmune disease can go a long way toward finding relief from some of the most debilitating symptoms associated with these conditions. Autoimmune diseases are disorders in which your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body, recognizing body parts like skin or joints as foreign, and releasing antibodies to attack them.
There are many different autoimmune disorders, and each affects the body in a different way; some of the most common autoimmune conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. Because these diseases cause symptoms like chronic pain, swelling, and muscle aches, medical cannabis is often used as a holistic treatment for everyday relief.
The Best Strains for Autoimmune Diseases
Though many cannabis strains have anti-inflammatory properties that may help with a range of autoimmune disease symptoms, some strains in particular are anecdotally said to help relieve certain symptoms of chronic autoimmune disease. Some of these strains and their possible therapeutic benefits include:
Cream Caramel (indica): May help with pain, stress, insomnia, and depression.
Green Lantern (sativa-dominant strain): May help with chronic pain, fatigue, stress, nausea, and vomiting.
Jet Fuel (hybrid): May help to ease anxiety, inflammation, depression, pain, anxiety, stress, and joint swelling and pain caused by arthritis.
Orange Dream (hybrid): Fights chronic inflammation and depression, is said to be a great cannabis strain for muscle spasms, and is said to help with rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and joint pain.
Black Mamba (indica): Remedies stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, pain, and inflammation.
Electric Lemon G (hybrid): May help to improve focus and concentration. This strain also spurs creativity and is said to help with pain and fatigue.
Bay II (sativa): Is said to help with anxiety, depression, nausea, inflammation, stress, and pain, and to improve creativity, focus, and energy.
Which Autoimmune Diseases Can Be Treated With Medical Marijuana?
Currently, 38 states, including Arizona and California, allow medical-grade marijuana to be used as a treatment for certain conditions when approved by a physician and purchased with a valid medical marijuana card (remember to renew your medical marijuana card if it’s close to expiring). Several autoimmune diseases are included on the list of conditions that can be legally treated with cannabis. Qualifying autoimmune conditions in several states include:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Chronic pain that patients may experience due to other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can often be treated with cannabis with a physician’s certification and a medical cannabis card in states that list “chronic pain” for any reason as a qualifying condition. The specific conditions that qualify you for a medical card differ from state to state; consult a doctor who’s experienced with medical cannabis in your state for more information.
Which Autoimmune Diseases Could Improve With Medical Cannabis?
Patients with various autoimmune disorders can potentially manage chronic pain and other symptoms caused by their condition with cannabis-based products. The following are four of the most common autoimmune conditions that qualify patients for a medical card in various U.S. states.
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the motor neurons that facilitate communication between the brain and spinal cord to degenerate. In time, the brain-body communication pathway can malfunction, causing the person to lose the ability to speak, move, or breathe on their own.
According to at least one survey, medical cannabis has the potential to help with appetite loss, depression, drooling, pain, and muscle spasms caused by the progression of ALS.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes swelling in the digestive tract. This can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition.
According to the Crohn's Disease Foundation, studies have shown marijuana to improve some symptoms of Crohn's disease, including pain, nausea, and decreased appetite.
MS is an autoimmune condition that attacks the protective sheath covering the nerve fibers. This causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body, and can sometimes lead to permanent damage to the nerve fibers.
The symptoms of MS are varied and differ from patient to patient. However, common symptoms of MS include vision and balance problems, numbness, tingling or electric shock sensations, the loss of the ability to walk, and cognitive problems.
Some evidence has suggested that marijuana can go some way to ease sleep problems and fibromyalgia in patients with multiple sclerosis. There is also anecdotal and limited scientific evidence suggesting that marijuana can help to reduce muscle tightness in MS patients.
Lupus is a chronic disease that can cause inflammation and pain in any part of the body.
There is currently very limited research into the effects of cannabis on lupus. However, in a survey conducted by Lupus Corner, 83% of patients with lupus who used cannabis as a treatment said they would recommend it to others. Research into other autoimmune diseases reported the potential improvement of inflammatory disorders with cannabis, which may also be relevant to lupus sufferers who suffer from inflammation.
Stress and Anxiety Caused by Long-Term Illness
Cannabis is also known both anecdotally and scientifically to help many patients overcome sleep disturbances and find relief from stress. Medical marijuana may also help with anxiety. For patients who are suffering from long-term illnesses, anxiety is a common side-effect that affects their quality of life. Though it is a secondary effect of chronic illness, it is a symptom that is often self-treated with cannabis.
How Does Medical Marijuana Work to Treat Autoimmune Diseases?
Because autoimmune diseases are imbalances of the immune system, cannabis helps by acting as a regulating tool to bring the immune system back into balance. Therapies based on medical cannabis can help to regulate the immune system in various ways:
Cannabis may modulate the immune system and digestive system by decreasing inflammation.
CBD may have the ability to modulate the immune system instead of suppressing it, and transdermal CBD was seen in one animal study to reduce the infiltration of immune cells into the tissue surrounding inflamed joints.
THC may have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Studies of cannabis and multiple sclerosis have shown compelling evidence for the immunomodulatory properties of cannabis.
The Right Medical Marijuana Strains Could Help to Alleviate Some Autoimmune Disease Symptoms
For sufferers of chronic autoimmune diseases, finding an effective long-term treatment to relieve some of the most debilitating symptoms could improve your quality of life dramatically. Medical marijuana used on the advice of your physician can help you live a healthier life with less discomfort and inflammation.
Finding the ideal strain to provide pain relief or treat other autoimmune symptoms can be a question of trial and error and also one of personal preference. Patients who prefer not to inhale cannabis products may benefit from other forms of cannabis such as oils or capsules; finding the right cannabis-based medication is usually a question of experimenting until you find the products, dosages, and frequency of consumption that work best for you.