The Role of Cannabis in Treating Autoimmune Diseases

Autoimmune diseases can attack many organs and systems of the body, causing pain, inflammation, and spasms. These symptoms can come and go over time and are often unique to the disease.

Cannabis can be beneficial in treating autoimmune disease by reducing inflammation, pain and spasms. This may help patients reduce their use of opioids, steroids and other pharmaceuticals.


Autoimmune diseases are often the result of an immune system that attacks healthy cells. This can lead to a lot of symptoms, from pain to fatigue to joint and muscle spasms. Thankfully, research is showing that cannabis has the potential to be an effective autoimmune disease treatment.

The body has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) made up of messengers, cannabinoid receptors, and enzymes that regulate many functions. These include the central nervous system, the lungs, the skin, the kidneys, the heart, and the digestive tract. Cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, interact with these receptors and trigger a variety of responses in the brain and throughout the body.

CB1 receptors are present in the brain, and they play a key role in memory and learning, as well as controlling emotions, regulating sleep cycles, and reducing appetite. They’re also involved in maintaining the structure of nerve cells and preventing cellular damage from toxins and disease.

Meanwhile, the CB2 receptors are present on immune cells that circulate throughout the body and brain. They also control the activity of immune cells and are known to help prevent inflammation.

Using cannabinoids to treat autoimmune disorders has the potential to be a long-term treatment option because they can reduce inflammation and suppress the immune system’s abnormal responses. They also have the potential to decrease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, and Huntington’s disease.

The effects of cannabinoids on the immune system and autoimmune disease are linked to epigenetic changes, which alter gene expression without changing the DNA sequence. These alterations occur through methylation, acetylation, and histone modification.

These alterations can affect the function of genes that regulate immune cell differentiation and function. They also influence the production of immune-suppressive cytokines, such as interleukin-2 and IL-10.

In addition, a study has shown that cannabinoids may regulate microRNAs, which are responsible for a range of biological functions. For example, tetrahydrocannabinol can increase the number of miRNAs that target the inflammatory cytokine IL-10 and reduce miRNAs that target the immune-suppressive cytokines IL-2 and IL-13.

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In a clinical trial, scientists are looking at a synthetically created cannabinoid called Lenabasum to see if it helps relieve pain and inflammation in patients with lupus. They plan to recruit 100 participants and monitor their levels of pain and inflammation for three months.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are produced by resin glands in the trichomes of cannabis flowers. Like essential oils, they create the distinctive aroma of a plant and can also provide therapeutic benefits.

Several studies have shown that terpenes can alter the effects of cannabinoids, enhancing their effectiveness or dampening some negative side effects. They also interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to stimulate specific receptors.

The most common terpenes found in cannabis are pinene, limonene and myrcene. Myrcene has anti-inflammatory and sedating properties that can help relieve pain, while limonene can increase your energy levels and may even have anti-cancer properties.

Other terpenes include humulene and linalool, which have been shown to reduce pain and inflammation. Researchers believe these terpenes mimic cannabinoids in their pain-relieving activities, which could indicate the so-called entourage effect (more on that below).

Many of these terpenes are derived from natural plant chemicals, and they’re responsible for the floral aromas of cannabis plants. They can also be used as aromatherapy if they’re distilled into essential oils.

In recent years, a growing number of preclinical studies have discovered that terpenes enhance many of the medicinal effects of cannabis. They can boost the effects of THC and CBD, and they may have antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antitumorigenic, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties.

However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about terpenes. Fortunately, scientists are working to learn more about them.

Currently, there are over 200 different terpenes in cannabis. These can come from a range of sources, including trichomes, flowering buds and leaves.

These volatile compounds are synthesized by a series of enzymes called terpene synthases. Some of these synthases produce multiple terpenes from the same basic structure, while others create pathways for the creation of new terpenes entirely.

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While research is ongoing, a growing number of studies have shown that terpenes help treat autoimmune diseases by promoting the body’s natural immune responses. This includes an anti-inflammatory response and the development of antibodies that help attack infections.

Other terpenes are also thought to have anti-cancer properties, which can help reduce tumor growth and shrink existing ones. Some of these compounds are found in the resin glands of cannabis flowers, while others are synthesized from other plant sources.


Phytochemicals are the natural chemicals found in plants that have health benefits when consumed as part of a healthy diet. These phytochemicals are known as natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, and they help protect against chronic disease. They’re also associated with a reduced risk for certain cancers and heart disease.

Several phytochemicals, such as isoflavones and glucosinolates, can prevent tumor growth by inhibiting the production of cancer-related hormones. Other phytochemicals, such as ellagic acid and resveratrol, are antioxidants that fight inflammation. These phytochemicals are commonly found in foods such as green tea, grapes, wine, berries, apples and whole grains.

There are many different types of phytochemicals, and they all have different functions in the body. They can help keep your immune system healthy, increase your energy level and boost your mood.

Cannabis contains many of these compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. These molecules act as natural anti-inflammatory agents, and they can reduce the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

However, despite their powerful antioxidant effects, some phytochemicals can be harmful when taken in high amounts. They can affect your thyroid gland, interact with prescription medications and cause liver toxicity.

Fortunately, there are ways to get the most of these beneficial phytochemicals without harming your health. Eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes is the best way to get them in your diet.

In addition to phytochemicals, cannabis contains a number of secondary metabolites that have potential medicinal properties. These include terpenoids, triterpenoids, and sterols. These metabolites are known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, neuroprotective, angiogenic and estrogenic activities.

These metabolites are also able to promote the excretion of some xenobiotics by activating or inducing a class of enzymes called cytochrome P450 (CYP450). This means that certain phytochemicals can help your body to process drugs and other substances more efficiently, which could be important for helping you maintain good health.

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Interestingly, some of the phytochemicals in Cannabis seem to work better when combined with other plant molecules. This is referred to as an “entourage effect.”

Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is an important part of the human body. It is a complex retrograde neurotransmitter system that has many functions in the brain and endocrine glands, as well as the immune system. This endocannabinoid system is regulated by a number of cannabinoid receptors, as well as various metabolic enzymes and membrane transporters.

Cannabis has long been known for its ability to treat pain, anxiety and nausea, but it may also be a powerful tool for treating autoimmune diseases. The compound THC, for example, can suppress inflammation.

Researchers from the University of South Carolina say that this cannabinoid also influences a group of microRNAs, which are small molecules that regulate gene expression in the body. This is an exciting find because it can help the team explore how THC affects a range of autoimmune conditions.

The authors of the study found that THC increases the level of a particular miRNA – miRNA-690 – which targets an important protein called C/EBPa, which suppresses inflammation. When the miRNA is blocked, the effect of THC is reversed.

THC and other cannabinoids are also able to affect a group of cells in the body that produce inflammatory chemicals, known as cytokines. This can lead to decreased levels of inflammatory proteins, such as interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha.

While THC and other cannabinoids can suppress inflammation in the body, they can also trigger apoptosis, or death, of the affected cells. Apoptosis is a process that can destroy damaged cells, which is important in fighting infections and cancer.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, cannabis can also help to alleviate symptoms of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The compounds are able to reduce spasticity and other pain associated with these disorders, as well as stimulate appetite and help to reduce nausea and vomiting. This makes cannabis a great treatment for people suffering from these conditions.

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