Systemic lupus erythematosus, abbreviated as SLE and commonly known simply as lupus, is a chronic autoimmune disease when a patient’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissues and organs. The disease is inflammatory, and various human body systems may be affected. Most typically, inflammation spreads to skin, heart, lings, joints, liver, blood vessels, kidneys and the nervous system. SLE is a systemic disease, which means that periods of illness with active treatment alternate with remissions, when treatment can be minimized.
As with all autoimmune diseases, the underlying cause of lupus is hard to define. Genetics is certainly a factor, but it is not known to which extent. SLE occurs nine times more often in women than in men, especially in women between 15 and 35 (child-bearing age). Lupus is difficult to diagnose since the symptoms often mimic those of other conditions, but the most distinctive sign is a so-called ‘butterfly rash’ – reddish facial rash, resembling the wings of a butterfly. Not all patients have this symptom, however, and in some medical cases, patients are wrongly diagnosed because of poor connection of signs to this particular disease.
The most well-known and studied effect of medical marijuana is its ability to act as alternative anti-inflammatory. Lupus primarily involves inflammation, which bothers the patient with continuous nausea and pain. The pain deriving from inflammation can be very disturbing, and traditional painkillers provide little relief. Cancer-related studies have uncovered the mild painkiller effect of cannabis, which, in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, make it an ideal alternative remedy, able to suppress the immune system.
Patients with history of medical marijuana treatment of lupus have shown significant progress with side effects being second to none. The appropriate method of using medical marijuana would be vaporizing a strain before sleep, and applying topical cream during the day to relieve joint pain. By successfully lowering the levels of the body’s inflammation-promoting protein interleukin-2, and raising levels of the anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10, cannabis shows that it may be of help with autoimmune disorders where inflammation is the main problem.