Does CBD oil help with autoimmune disease?
Overwhelmingly, the clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests that CBD oil can help manage the inflammatory symptoms caused by autoimmune diseases. In this article, we present links to research, as well as anecdotal accounts relating to some of the most prevalent autoimmune conditions, and how cannabidiol may help. We also delve into what an autoimmune disease is, so we can better understand why cannabidiol is being used by consumers to help manage symptoms.
“Cannabidiol may have utility in treating a number of human diseases and disorders now known to involve activation of the immune system and associated oxidative stress.”
Which autoimmune conditions can CBD oil help with?
There are over 80 autoimmune diseases identified to date. CBD oil has been shown both clinically and anecdotally to help reduce the severity of symptoms for sufferers of some of the most prevalent autoimmune conditions. Click on the links to see some of the findings that doctors, scientists, and researchers are publishing about autoimmune conditions and the symptoms that CBD may help manage:
How does CBD work for autoimmune conditions?
American biochemist and real-life cannabis success story, Dennis Hill, shunned modern medical interventions and instead cured his own prostate cancer with cannabis. Hill describes cannabis as a “metabolic support for the immune system.” In a nutshell, Hill explains that cannabinoids, like cannabidiol (CBD), work successfully on autoimmune conditions, because of their anti-inflammatory nature. More scientifically put, they “inhibit the inflammatory cytokine cascade”.
“One of the most important health benefits of cannabinoids is their anti-inflammatory property.”
Cannabinoids like CBD can reduce inflammation
They inhibit the inflammatory what? Whilst no-one can explain it quite like Dennis Hill, we’ll attempt to summarise what that means when it comes to using cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (i.e. CBD) to successfully treat inflammatory autoimmune conditions and their symptoms.
When the immune system responds inappropriately in the body, due to the presence of an autoimmune disorder, it causes inflammation and damage in the body. Hill explains that when the body first notices the inflammation, “the immune system signals glial cells to produce cytokines”.
Cytokines behaving badly
What happens next is very important. The best outcome is that when the body starts to produce those cytokines, they do what they are meant to do and get rid of the infection. However, if things go wrong (such as when you have an autoimmune disease), those cytokines go rogue and start to multiply, and you end up with a massive inflammatory response that sends your body into hysterics. Hill calls this an “inflammatory cytokine cascade”.
Cannabinoids restore balance to the body
To put it bluntly, autoimmune diseases wreak utter havoc in the body. This is where cannabinoids like CBD come in by stopping glial-cell production in its tracks, thus reducing inflammation and restoring homeostasis to the body. Hill says that cannabinoids:
“have the ability to suppress this inflammatory cytokine cascade by inhibiting glial cell production of the cytokines interferon or interleukin. Here we see the seeds of chronic inflammation dissolved by the modulation process of cannabinoids bringing homeostasis to systems out of balance.”
Plant cannabinoids work with the endocannabinoid system
The Endocannabinoid system
Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) has a big influence on some of your body’s most important systems, including the immune system. The ECS is all about maintaining balance in the body. That balance is called homeostasis. The endocannabinoid system is probably one of the most important physiological systems for creating and maintaining human health.
The ECS is powered by cannabinoids. There are three types of cannabinoid. These are:
(1) those our body produces—called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids include Anandamide and 2-AG. When we don’t have enough of our own endocannabinoids, it is called a Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency (CECD);
Receptors are special cells that tell our body how to react to stimuli (like pain or infection). The cannabinoid receptors found extensively inside our bodies are activated by cannabinoids. CB1 and CB2 are the best known cannabinoid receptors. When you put phytocannabinoids into your body (like CBD) they send the cannabinoid receptors into action to get the body back into a state of balance.
“the ECS acts like a kind of biological dimmer switch, responding to too much or too little activity by releasing endocannabinoids to create internal balance again”
Phytocannabinoids are mimetic
Phytocannabinoids (i.e. cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant) are called a mimetic medicine, because they mimic the endocannabinoids that are in our body. What this means is that the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant work like the cannabinoids found in our body to keep us healthy and well.
“Cannabis is the only plant we know of that produces phytocannabinoids that mimic our own endocannabinoids. ”
Inflammation and endocannabinoid receptor GPR55
You’ve probably heard a lot about the cannabinoid receptors called CB1 and CB2. Researchers believe there are probably other cannabinoid receptors, but have had a hard time identifying them.
In 2007, Swedish researchers published their findings about an ‘orphan’ cannabinoid receptor called GPR55. This research showed that cannabidiol (CBD) probably activates the GPR55 receptor. There is even speculation that GPR55 could be re-classified as the CB3 receptor.
So what happens when you activate the GPR55 receptor? Well, further 2008 research commissioned by Glaxo Smith Kline (one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies) concluded that the GPR55 receptor can regulate cytokines (remember we said earlier that when cytokines go rogue and multiply, your body produces an inflammatory response?). So when you regulate cytokines—by using CBD to activate the GPR55 receptor—you therefore reduce unwanted inflammation. (Ask yourself why big pharma would invest in research into a cannabinoid receptor that can reduce inflammation?)
“…the natural medicine is available now. Many of us feel we don’t need chemists from the pharmaceutical industry to reinvent these molecules.”
Research into using CBD to treat inflammatory autoimmune diseases
|Multiple Sclerosis||Neuropathic pain||Asthma|
|Inflammatory Bowel Disease||Crohn’s Disease||Diabetes|
In addition to the links we have presented throughout this article, there is far more research into the use of cannabidiol (CBD oil) to treat autoimmune diseases and inflammatory conditions. Here we present a sample of the publicly available references to help you decide whether CBD oil might help treat the symptoms of your autoimmune or inflammatory condition.
Research conducted in 2013, addressing the role of cannabis in pain management, concluded that “…(CBD is a) potent anti-inflammatory anti-oxidant, with activity exceeding that of vitamins C and E.”
Research conducted in 1998, in Maryland, USA, demonstrated that CBD is a neuroprotective and effective antioxidant. With relation to inflammatory conditions such as stroke, the researchers concluded that, “cannabidiol, may be a potentially useful therapeutic agent for the treatment of oxidative neurological disorders.”
Research conducted in 2009, by immunologists and microbiologists from the University of South Carolina, concluded that, “cannabinoids have exhibited significant potential to be used as novel anti-inflammatory agents”. Their exciting research included autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory hepatitis.
Research conducted in 2011, at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, concluded that cannabidiol showed promise in treating oxidative stress common to many autoimmune diseases.
US Patent 6,630,507, 2003: The United States government obviously strongly agrees on the role that cannabinoids play as both prevention and cure when it comes to antioxidants and neuroprotectants, because they own the US patent issued in 2003. The patent notes that this makes, “cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of (a) wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
“Non-psychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use”
Testimonials from patients who use CBD as a treatment for their autoimmune disease
The internet and social media is awash with stories from people who are using cannabidiol (some will call it CBD oil, hemp oil, MC, medical cannabis, or even errantly refer to it as medical marijuana) to treat the symptoms of their autoimmune conditions. Here are just a few.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn’s, Colitis)
IBD is an umbrella term for chronic inflammatory bowel conditions Crohn’s and Colitis. Symptoms include:
- gut inflammation
- colon inflammation
- rectal inflammation
- abdominal pain & cramps
- weight loss
“CBD has given me back a quality of life that years of debilitating pain and piles of prescription medications made me feel like I could never find again.” Read more…
Using raw, juiced cannabis (containing CBDA & THCA), this Aussie dad faces jail for treating both his daughters’ who suffer from Crohn’s. Read more…
“Significantly decreased some of my complications with perianal disease due to the Crohn’s. It has been a true blessing to get this type of relief. ” Read more…
Affecting mostly women, lupus (i.e. systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)) is an autoimmune condition that can affect almost any system or organ in the body. Difficult to diagnose, symptoms can be many and varied. The most common symptoms include:
- joint pain & swelling
- general malaise
“I am reversing my Lupus diagnosis ….CBD oil is an effective part of my healing protocol”. Read more…
“Excellent against any kind of pain.” Read more…
- poor motor control
- nerve pain
- memory loss
I never dreamed anything would work this well. Read more…
“They have seemed to help both of us in several ways of which muscle spasms and nerve pain being the worse.” Read more…
“I have noticed improvement immediately. All my symptoms, although not gone, are much easier and I generally feel much better.” Read more…
“It has had a tremendous effect on the aches, pains, and spasms from the M.S. I can’t say enough good things about it.” Read more…
“One dose of cannabis had provided relief that 40,000 pills over 10 years could not.” Read more…
Type 1 Diabetes (i.e. Diabetes Mellitus) is an autoimmune condition whereby the immune system errantly attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Our bodies use insulin to convert the sugars we consume into energy to fuel our bodies. Common symptoms include:
- excessive urination
- feeling thirsty
- blurry vision
- weight loss
- poor wound healing
“Overall, I feel a million times better….I feel strong and I’m getting my energy back.” Read more…
“My mother suffers from diabetic muscle leg damage and chronic fatigue. She no longer has the pain and she is no longer as tired as she used to be. It’s totally a miracle!” Read more…
“One week of using the CBD product, and I feel like an 18 year old again! I’m a 61 year old woman.” Read more…
The thyroid is a little gland in the neck, a bit like a thermostat, that has the very big jobs of regulating growth, body temperature, our energy levels, and our metabolism. Hashimoto’s (hypothyroidism) and Grave’s (hyperthyroidism) are both autoimmune thyroid disorders. Symptoms depend on whether the thyroid is underactive (Hashimoto’s) or overactive (Grave’s). Symptoms can be vague, but those common to both include:
- thinning hair
- muscle aches
- irregular menstrual cycle
“I feel more active after 2,5 months of use” Read more…
“They have been life-savers for me, and I’m not exaggerating. I have had acute insomnia (from thyroid problems.” Read more…
Coeliac (also Celiac) Disease is a genetic autoimmune condition. When a person eats foods containing (or contaminated with) a protein called gluten (found in wheat, barley, and rye) the immune system attacks the small intestine causing inflammation which leads to malabsorption. One in 70 Australians are affected. Gluten must be excluded from the person’s diet. Oats may also cause problems for some coeliacs. Disease symptoms can be vague for some, and many people are asymptomatic. Classic symptoms include:
- loose, watery stools
- weight loss
“After only 6 months of using cannabis, my disease was essentially non-existent”. Read more…
“CBD has healed me of almost all of my digestion issues from Celiac Disease.” Read more…
Caused by an often unknown autoimmune response, and confusingly similar to other autoimmune conditions with similar symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis is a condition which affects the joints. Often extremely painful and debilitating, symptoms include:
- swollen & painful joints
- heart & lung inflammation
“CBD has made a huge impact on her rheumatoid arthritis”. Read more…
“My husbands arthritis doesn’t bother him anymore and he can move his fingers much easier.” Read more…
“Experienced almost immediate results. I have been off all prescription RA drugs for 8 months. I have never felt better!” Read more…
“After he takes the oil, his pain begins to subside, and within 1 ½ hrs completely dissipates.” Read more…
“Really helps with my anxiety and arthritis, utterly brilliant.” Read more…
“They are giving me enormous relief from the pain of idiopathic arthritis.” Read more…
“My 11 year old has serious Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and Fibromyalgia. CBD has been her life saver and has given my sweet girl her life back.” Read more…
“After a week I noticed I was just about pain free without taking otcs or scripts that compromise my liver and kidneys. I can climb stairs again!” Read more…
“The CBD oil helps keep everything normal, and makes the flare ups shorter.” Read more…
“I was taking NSAIDs three times a day and now I have been able to give them up completely.” Read more…
Even man’s best friend can benefit: CBD oil for Arthritic Dogs
“The results of using this product are amazing…I added the CBD to her regimen and within a week she was free of symptoms, agile and active again. “Read more…
“Helped a lot to ease her arthritic pains. The only problem is, that she forgets to be careful about her jumping” Read more…
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which affects the skin first and foremost, and is frustratingly difficult to treat. One third of psoriasis sufferers will go on to develop psoriatic arthritis which has its own set of symptoms and complications. Symptoms of psoriasis include:
- raised and scaly patches of skin (ranging from isolated patches to extensive coverage over the body)
- inflamed skin
Don’t know what I’d do without my miracle in a bottle.” Read more…
“My aunty’s psoriasis has begun clearing up” Read more…
“The difference after THE FIRST APPLICATION was amazing…I simply could not be more thrilled” Read more…
“My psoriasis has all but gone” Read more…
There is some conjecture as to whether asthma is an autoimmune disease. This 2008 research supports the finding that asthma is likely an autoimmune disease. Either way, it’s an inflammatory disease of the lungs which can be mildly inconvenient or life threatening and is characterised by the following symptoms:
- shortness of breath
- tightness in the chest
“We can’t quite believe how well it’s worked, she no longer needs her inhaler .” Read more
“It works wonders for my respiratory system, and I’ve gone 3 years without other meds.” Read more…
Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder
If one autoimmune disease isn’t bad enough, MCTD is an ‘overlap’ condition, whereby a person has symptoms indicative of multiple autoimmune diseases all rolled into one, including lupus. rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and myositis. Symptoms are therefore those of each of those conditions, including:
- joint pain & swelling
- general malaise
- inflamed muscles
- thickening of pads on the fingers
- reduced blood flow to the fingers
“This is the most hopeful I have felt in years.” Read more…
Guillain–Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disease of the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Muscle weakness is the hallmark of this very severe and misdiagnosed condition, in addition to nerve pain and respiratory failure.
“The results were truly miraculous.” Read more…
Myasthenia Gravis impairs muscle function and is an autoimmune disease of the nervous system. Common symptoms include a droopy mouth, droopy eyelids, unsteady gait, difficulty swallowing, and double vision.
“It completely changed my life! I am able to maintain a good quality of life without taking any harmful steroid medications”. Read more…
What is an autoimmune condition
There are many different types of autoimmune diseases, but what they all have in common is that they are disorders in which the body attacks itself by way of an inappropriate immune response. Think of it as friendly fire, but sadly there is nothing friendly about it. This attack results in inflammation and damage to healthy parts of the body, with often disastrous and disabling consequences for the person’s health and wellbeing.
List of autoimmune conditions
This list identifies over 120 autoimmune conditions. (Source: Wikipedia)
How common are autoimmune diseases?
According to this report from ASCIA, autoimmune diseases affect about 5% of the Australia population (or about 1.2 million people), and they are more common than cancer or heart disease. Inflammatory allergic diseases affect a massive 20% of Australians (or nearly 5 million people), and they are on the rise. ASCIA believes that the treatment of these chronic conditions should be prioritised, and yet acknowledges that there are not enough trained specialists to treat the growing number of people affected by these conditions. Far more women than men are diagnosed with autoimmune conditions.
Symptoms and signs of autoimmune conditions
No-one really knows why the body mistakenly attacks healthy organs and tissues when it should be off fighting viruses and infections. Given there are dozens of autoimmune diseases that affect many different systems and organs in the body, it is difficult to give a definitive list of symptoms. However, what is common to almost all of these often insidious autoimmune and allergic diseases is chronic inflammation.
How do you treat autoimmune diseases?
If you can get in to see a specialist in the first place, conventional treatment options are pretty grim. Common pharmaceutical treatments include hormone replacement medicines (e.g. insulin, thyroxine), NSAIDS (e.g. ibuprofen), corticosteroids (e.g. prednisone), immunosuppressants (e.g. Tysabri, cyclosporine), TNF inhibitors (e.g. Remicade), and blood-plasma transfusions. The side effects and risks of some of these treatments is not for the faint hearted.
Is CBD oil a good alternative to taking pharmaceutical medications for autoimmune diseases?
Faced with a cocktail of aggressive medications and treatments, this is a seriously important question to ask. If you have found yourself reading this article, chances are you’ve already tried the traditional treatments made available to you with limited success. We have presented numerous links to studies and research claiming the powerful anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol (CBD). We have even included research commissioned by a multinational pharmaceutical company, as well as acknowledgment by the United States Government—via the US-Government owned patent secured in 2003—of CBD’s considerable effects as both prevention and treatment.
“If we had to start from scratch and design a medicine to help lead us out of the opioid epidemic, it would likely look very much like cannabis.”
We always suggest working together with your doctor when you are considering an alternative option to your existing medications. You should never just quit taking them as there may be negative side effects. A good practitioner can guide you through the transition process and help you reduce your medication as you switch to a more natural remedy.
“One of the great benefits of this mimetic medicine is that cannabinoids are essentially natural to our biology and do no harm to our tissues and systems.”
What type of CBD Oil is best for Autoimmune Diseases?
Many people are getting good results with using CBD for Autoimmune diseases, this is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil.
We would suggest our full strength Entourage CBD + CBDA Oil. This is a whole plant extract that contains over 400 active molecules
The dosing method is to titrate (increase slowly over time) up from a couple of drops per day to maybe around 4-6 drops per day, if need be, over a period of around 3 weeks. You will find the level that provides the most relief. This level becomes your maintenance dose.
It can take up to 3 weeks or longer to take effect. This is for 2 reasons; one is that as we start low and slow, it can take time for the cannabinoids to come to a level in the blood where they become effective, and secondly, the Endo-cannabinoid System (ECS) is not like the body’s endo-opioid system which responds instantly to opiate treatment, CBD is a holistic medicine that works with the building blocks of the body, and this can take some time to reset/rebalance/repair.
Do you suffer too?
If you are thinking about using CBD oil to help manage the symptoms of your inflammatory autoimmune condition, you should consider the limited risks and the potential gains in quality of life you may achieve.
If you suffer from an autoimmune disease not covered here, and you have used CBD oil successfully, please tell us about it in the comments to help guide and give hope to other sufferers.