Cannabinoids and Lupus

Cannabinoids and Lupus

I love sharing any topic that cannabinoids like CBD and THC can offer relief for, especially when it involves a condition where there is no current medical intervention that is successful for improving or halting the disease process. Lupus is a prime example of just that. But first, what is lupus?


Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that targets healthy tissues and has negative effects on multiple organ systems, including the kidneys, central nervous system, and the brain, putting patients in pain and decreasing their quality of life(1). Lupus affects over 240,000 people a year, but the problem is that doctors do not know the cause of lupus and there is no cure (2). Since there is no cure, medical professionals’ goal is to reduce end organ damage and slow the body’s attack on itself, which means there is plenty of room for improving how we address this autoimmune disease (2). We need more treatment options and new drug development to improve how we face autoimmune conditions, but nature seems to already have the answer.


The hope with cannabinoid medicine is to improve how we face certain diseases so we can improve patients’ quality of life. What a better receptor system to take advantage of then the endocannabinoid system (ECS) by utilizing various cannabinoids like CBD and THC. The ECS is the actual system that modulates our immune response and for the first time, we have a tool that we can directly control our immune system (3). This is a huge win for the people! We just don’t know it yet because our medical system hasn’t acknowledged it yet. We are ahead of our time here!


This immune system control that cannabinoids offer when acting on our ECS is relevant for several autoimmune diseases including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE; most common type of lupus), multiple sclerosis (MS), diabetes mellitus type 1, and rheumatoid arthritis (3).


According to Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, a peer-reviewed scientific journal, they stated that cannabinoids can downregulate inflammatory responses mediated by immune cells through Th1 and Th17 proinflammatory cells, cytokines, interleukin 1, 12, 17, interferon, and tumor necrosis factor alpha (3). In other words, cannabinoids can lower the immune response by down regulating inflammation, thus downregulating the body’s attack on itself. We can bring the immune system (which is overactive in autoimmune diseases) back down to a normal baseline or homeostasis (also what the ECS controls).


The truth is that cannabinoids can control our immune system like this because they interact with CB2 receptors which are predominantly found in our immune system (spleen, liver, heart, kidneys bones, blood vessels, gut, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs), giving us control over our immune response, offering downregulation for autoimmune conditions (2).


What I love most about these natural plant compounds is that they have a great safety profile and as we see with lupus, it can help improve how we face certain conditions at a cellular level, including pain and inflammation (2). One thing to note is that this receptor system is so complex, which means our full understanding is limited. More studies need to take place so we can get a better understanding of the direct mechanisms that are taking place. But there is no denying the outcome, even when our understanding is limited. Cheers to improving our quality of life using a natural plant.


One amazing plant with seemingly endless benefits. Now that's what I call medicine!



Brandon Farless


*This information is for educational purposes only and we are simply sharing information pertaining to these studies. No medical advice or claims are being made on my behalf. 




  1. Maidhof, W., & Hilas, O. (2012). Lupus: an overview of the disease and management options. P & T : a peer-reviewed journal for formulary management, 37(4), 240–249.


  1.  Chen, J. (2019, September 23). Can cannabinoids help lupus and other diseases?. Yale Medicine. 


  1. Rodríguez Mesa, X. M., Moreno Vergara, A. F., Contreras Bolaños, L. A., Guevara Moriones, N., Mejía Piñeros, A. L., & Santander González, S. P. (2021). Therapeutic Prospects of Cannabinoids in the Immunomodulation of Prevalent Autoimmune Diseases. Cannabis and cannabinoid research, 6(3), 196–210.

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