Are you looking for hemp-derived CBD products that may help with autoimmune diseases? Here are some of the best CBD oils to improve your quality of life. Can CBD Help With Autoimmune Diseases? Data from several studies demonstrate that CBD has properties that may be useful in treating autoimmune diseases. Yale Medicine doctor investigates whether a synthetically created molecule that mimics properties and effects of CBD could treat diseases.
Compare the best CBD Oil for Autoimmune Diseases in 2022
Each bottle of the 750mg CBD oil tincture contains 25mg of CBD per dropper full. The oil is peppermint flavor to mask any unpleasant tastes related to CBD.
2. NuLeaf Naturals 900mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
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No other flavors
Approximately 300 drops total
Natural remedy for various illnesses. NuLeaf Naturals’ CBD oil is a whole-plant extract containing a full spectrum of naturally occurring synergistic cannabinoids and terpenes.
3. Spruce 2400mg Lab Grade CBD Oil
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No artificial flavoring or colors
No THC-free option
Made from 100% organic and natural ingredients
The largest bottle of CBD oil that Spruce offers contains 2,400mg of CBD. This is full-spectrum CBD oil, which is the maximum possible potency. Each high potency dropper full contains 80mg of CBD. There are no flavorings in it, which allows for the most CBD to fit in the 30ml bottle.
4. Avida Full Spectrum CBD Oil Tincture 500mg
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Light Spearmint flavor
No other flavor
Non-THC, Non-detected in drug test
Avida Extracts Full Spectrum CBD oil is the latest iteration of the brand’s advanced Avida CORE Spectrum technology. They use a proprietary full spectrum blend, resulting in the highest naturally occurring Phyto-cannabinoids and Terpenes with THC (<0.3) to support your health.
5. cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture Natural 1500mg
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Various delicious flavors to choose from
cbdMD uses MCT as its carrier oil so individuals who are allergic with coconuts should consider other brand options
Has vegan, organic, and gluten-free ingredients
Free shipping for this particular product within USA
World-class customer service team
cbdMD’s CBD oil tinctures are made using only CBD sourced from medical hemp and MCT oil as a carrier oil. Tinctures are offered in orange, mint, natural, and berry flavors. Safe for daily use, the oil tinctures are packaged with a built-in rubber dropper to adjust CBD dosage easily. The packaging is made to be easy to transport and discreet to use.
6. CBDistillery THC Free CBD Oil Tinctures
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60-Day Satisfaction Guarantee
Dropper is a bit shaky
Oil extracted from aerial plant parts of US grown industrial hemp
Sourced from non-GMO industrial hemp grown in the USA through natural farming practices
CBDistillery’s Isolate CBD Oil Tinctures harness the power of pure CBD. CBD Isolate Oil Tinctures include 0.0% THC. When you use CBDistillery CBD Isolate Oil Tinctures, you can be assured you’re using the highest quality CBD on the market.
7. NuLeaf Naturals 300mg Full Spectrum Hemp CBD Oil
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No other flavors
A bit pricey compared to competitors
Approximately 100 drops total
This is one of several concentrations from NuLeaf Naturals. As the lowest concentration, it is the company’s best option for those new to CBD oil. The product is lab-tested and fully organic. It is full-spectrum, so it contains THC in small quantities.
8. cbdMD CBD Oil Tincture Natural 750mg
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Vegan and Gluten free
Does not ship internationally
Has a third-party lab test
Wide variety of CBD strengths and sizes
A 750mg bottle of cbdMD’s Broad Spectrum Oil Tincture does not contain THC. It also has a fairly wide flavor range which is perfect for those who prefer other taste. Vegan consumers are considered since cbdMD offers Vegan products. Aside from all of that, another reason why people love cbdMD is because it’s free from harmful chemicals.
9. Hemp Bombs 750mg CBD Oil
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Wide variety of flavors
Incomplete information about the product
Lab test results are complete
Does not ship to all international countries
30-day money-back guarantee
Hemp Bombs offer CBD Oil Tinctures that come in a 30ml bottle containing 750mg of CBD. They provide a wide range of flavors perfect for those that have a knack for sweets. Consumers can safely intake this because it’s free of chemicals and pesticides. Hemp Bombs also offer a 20% off on products upon subscription.
How We Rank
How CBD Helps With Autoimmune Diseases
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a plant-derived cannabinoid . CBD has a structural similarity to tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), the primary psychotropic substance in cannabis . THC is responsible for the euphoric high people experience after using marijuana (1) .
Meanwhile, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive and bicyclic, comprising two fused rings in the molecule structure. CBD contains an aromatic ring and terpene , a fragrant compound found in plants (2) .
Moreover, CBD produces biological effects in the central nervous system (CNS). Although the chemical is active in the CNS, it does not create a euphoric effect, unlike THC (3) .
Based on a 2020 review published in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, CBD contains anti-inflammatory properties . It is also immune suppressive ( 4) .
A person’s immunity is maintained through numerous cell types, such as myeloid cells, acting together to protect against foreign substances (5) .
Myeloid cells or blood cells comprise the innate immune system , which destroys pathogens or organisms that cause various diseases (6) .
The human immune system is made up of two parts: innate and adaptive (7) .
The purpose of the innate response is to prevent the spread of pathogens throughout your body. It is your body’s first line of defense against germs, whereas the adaptive response explicitly targets the germs that cause the infection (8) .
In an event where there is an insufficient innate reaction, some innate cells can activate the adaptive immune response, composed of T and B cells (9) .
T cells are white blood cells that stimulate B cells. Meanwhile, B cells fight viruses and bacteria by producing antibodies that neutralize pathogens (10) .
According to the researchers, the effect of cannabidiol on immune response can involve innate or adaptive responses. Research authors Nichols and Kaplan suggested CBD may cure autoimmune diseases by directly suppressing various resistant cell types (11) .
Autoimmune diseases occur when your body fails to differentiate your cells from foreign cells. Thus, your immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy tissues (12) .
The endocannabinoid system ( ECS ) plays a vital part in the central nervous system development and the response to endogenous and environmental insults (13) .
The ECS is composed of cannabinoid receptors , namely, CB1 and CB2. Both receptors are found throughout the CNS , in the immune system, and other body organs (14 ) .
The ECS has its chemical messengers called endocannabinoids that interact with CB1 and CB2 receptors (15) .
CB1 receptors have a significant role in motor regulation, memory processing, appetite, mood, sleep, and pain sensation. Meanwhile, CB2 receptors , when activated, stimulate a response that fights inflammation (16) .
CBD indirectly interacts with your ECS , signaling it to produce more of its natural cannabinoids . In addition, it inhibits the enzyme that breaks it down.
This reaction results in more endocannabinoids circulating in your body for a longer duration (17) . Your body uses these endocannabinoids efficiently and returns to homeostasis ( 18 ) .
Homeostasis is your body’s capacity to maintain the stability of different variables, such as water level, acidity, and temperature, in the event of constant environmental disturbance (19) .
Although the existing research on CBD for autoimmune diseases is promising, longitudinal clinical studies are needed to determine CBD’s effectiveness in dealing with autoimmune conditions .
Benefits of Using CBD for Autoimmune Diseases
CBD’s neuroprotective and immunosuppressive mechanisms make it an ideal therapeutic candidate for multiple sclerosis (MS) (20) .
MS is a neurodegenerative autoimmune condition of the central nervous system in which the body’s immune system attacks its tissues (21) .
Multiple sclerosis affects 2.5 million people globally. Usually, the age of onset is 30 years old, and symptoms differ for each individual with the condition , depending on the lesion locations within the CNS (22) .
Animal models of MS often used in a laboratory environment to study multiple sclerosis are Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) and the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis model (23 ) .
Research from the British Journal of Pharmacology successfully demonstrated that a 5mg/kg i.p. ( intraperitoneal injection) of CBD administered at the onset of the disease may help the activation of microglia, the resident immune cells of the CNS (24) .
Intraperitoneal injection is the injection of a substance into the body cavity.
Results also showed that CBD administration may attenuate the T cell infiltration into the CNS using the EAE (25 ) .
On the other hand, cannabidiol showed similar effects in the TMEV model in a study from the journal of Neurobiology of Disease (26) .
The researchers demonstrated that 5mg/kg i.p. of CBD administered for the first ten days following the start of the disease may reduce neuroinflammation and clinical condition. They also hypothesized that CBD may help decrease immune cell trafficking signals in the CNS and microglial activation (27 ) .
Despite the promising results of these studies, it is still unclear if the successful outcome with CBD in the animal models of MS can also be observed in MS patients and those with an autoimmune disease .
CBD at 20mg/kg was also administered to patients with Crohn’s disease , an inflammatory bowel disease. The researchers stated that, while CBD was safe to use, the compound did not improve or worsen the condition (28) .
C annabidiol may reduce intestinal inflammation in other models of human inflammatory bowel disease (29) .
However, further investigation is warranted to determine CBD’s effect on autoimmune diseases .
How Long After Taking CBD Will It Start to Help With an Autoimmune Disease?
Inhaling cannabidiol using vape pens is the fastest method of ingestion to benefit from the effects of CBD (30) . However, vaping may be detrimental to the lungs (31) .
On the other hand, the second quickest way to absorb CBD is through sublingual administration. Taking the compound under the tongue ensures its prompt delivery into the system ( 32 ) .
Research from the Journal of Young Pharmacists stated that fast-dissolving oral films are a popular choice among people taking medical substances .
These films are easy to administer. More importantly, the sudden onset of drug action is possible since they are taken through the sublingual route ( 33) .
B etter compliance from individuals with the condition is also expected when the sublingual method is used.
Taking a sublingual tablet does not require swallowing since it works much faster when absorbed through the lining of the mouth. This method may benefit those people with dysphagia or individuals with swallowing difficulties (34) .
You may use droppers to dispense CBD oil or tinctures straight into your mouth. It commonly takes about 15 to 30 minutes for the compound to take effect (35 ) .
Meanwhile, CBD edibles, such as gummies and capsules, may take longer to work, with some individuals feeling their effects 30 minutes or more after intake (36) .
You may also consider topical CBD products like CBD creams and lotions for your skin.
However, with topicals, you only target specific areas of the body or system. CBD may not take effect quickly because the compound does not reach the bloodstream.
Still, these characteristics make them safer, considering the lack of information on cannabidiol ’s long-term safety (37 ) .
After CBD Starts to Help, How Long Will It Last?
Ingestion methods have varying rates of bioavailability, or the extent a substance or a drug becomes available to its biological destination. In other words, bioavailability is a measure of the rate and fraction of a drug’s initial dose (38) .
A study published in Frontiers Pharmacology reviewed the discrepancy in the pharmacokinetics of cannabidiol . It also examined the lack of data regarding CBD despite its widespread use in humans ( 39) .
A systematic search was done to retrieve all articles about pharmacokinetic data of CBD in humans. Out of the 792 retrieved articles, 24 included pharmacokinetic parameters in humans ( 40 ) .
Pharmacokinetics involves the time course of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (41) .
Results showed that the half-life of CBD is between 1.4 and 10.9 hours after oromucosal spray, two to five days after chronic oral administration, 24 hours after intravenous medications, and 31 hours after smoking ( 42) .
Half-life refers to the time it takes for a drug in the system to be reduced by 50%. After one half-life, a compound’s concentration in the body becomes half of the starting dose.
Results showed that CBD bioavailability after smoking is 31%. However, no other studies have attempted to report the absolute bioavailability of CBD following different routes in humans, despite intravenous formulations being available (43) .
The analysis of properties, such as bioavailability and half-life is critical to future therapeutic success. Robust data from various formulations are required.
Risks and Side Effects of CBD for Autoimmune Diseases
Although studies showed that cannabidiol is relatively safe to consume (44) , there is no evidence linking CBD to specific autoimmune disease medication.
Thus, further studies are needed to determine CBD’s effectiveness on the entire body over long-term consumption.
Below are common side effects of CBD ( 45) :
- Changes in alertness, such as drowsiness or sleepiness
- Gastrointestinal distress, such as decreased appetite and diarrhea
- Changes in mood, such as irritability and agitation
How to Take CBD for Autoimmune Diseases
For autoimmune disorders , you may take CBD oil in consumable forms, such as brownies, gummies , and soft gel capsules.
For a controlled CBD intake, you may choose sublingual administration instead. In this method, you may use a calibrated dropper usually included in CBD tincture products.
Begin by applying a few oil drops under your tongue and leave the oil for a few seconds before swallowing for better absorption.
Some CBD brands also sell CBD topical products. CBD topicals may be in the form of cream, lotion, or transdermal patches.
Research published in the British Journal of Pharmacology showed that transdermal delivery is utilized to produce clinical effects, such as anti-inflammatory activity and local anesthesia, deep within or beneath the skin (46) .
Transdermal drug delivery offers compelling opportunities to address the low bioavailability of several oral drugs and the inconvenience and pain of injections (47) .
A transdermal system is non-invasive, allowing users to self-administer. In addition, transdermal patches may also improve an individual’s compliance.
Since the method is generally inexpensive (48) , it may also be beneficial for those with a limited budget.
Administering topical CBD may be useful for autoimmune conditions that affect the skin. According to a 2021 study , atopic dermatitis (eczema), a chronic skin disorder, is associated with one or more autoimmune diseases (49) .
In addition, a 2018 study showed that CBD exhibited anti-inflammatory properties in an experimental allergic contact dermatitis mode l (50) . Therefore, topical administration of cannabidiol may benefit those with eczema.
Another method of CBD ingestion is vaping . However, note that CBD vapes may worsen lung disorders (51) . When using CBD for the first time, make sure to consult with a licensed physician with a background in cannabidiol use.
It is crucial to select high-quality CBD products to ensure overall wellness and optimal effectiveness. However, with many brands promising the best CBD products to their customers, you may find it challenging to decide which product to choose.
When choosing the best CBD oil for autoimmune disease , here are some things you need to consider:
- Read the ingredient list of the CBD product carefully. If possible, choose organic types or non-genetically modified (non-GMO) ingredients.
- Support CBD brands that are transparent about their farming practices. Visit their website and check if it includes information about CBD extraction and testing methods.
- Ensure that your CBD products come with certificates of analysis (COAs) and lab test results from third-party laboratories.
A third-party lab test is essential to determine the presence of harmful contaminants, such as residual solvents and pesticides . CBD products must be tested to ascertain their consistency and potency.
CBD Dosage for Autoimmune Disease
There have been no approved U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) guidelines for CBD dosing specifically for autoimmune diseases .
However, cannabidiol dosage in most clinical studies ranges from 100mg to 800mg ( 52) . If you cannot tolerate 100mg, you may start with a lower amount unless your healthcare provider recommends a specific dosage .
It is highly recommended to speak with a physician experienced in cannabis use before trying CBD oil for autoimmune disease .
Legality of CBD
About 36 states in the United States have legalized medical marijuana. The remaining 14 states have ratified laws permitting the use of CBD extract (53) .
You may travel with CBD but only between states with similar regulations for cannabidiol use.
The U.S. Congress approved the 2018 Farm Bill, legalizing industrial hemp and products obtained from the hemp plant (54) .
According to the FDA, the redefinition of hemp made it distinct from cannabis plants under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) ( 55) .
The CSA issues the legal basis for the U.S. government’s “war on drugs,” a consolidated law on manufacturing and distributing drugs of all kinds (56) .
The Controlled Substance Act or the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 created a drug schedule to classify substances into five categories based on the medical use and potential for drug dependence (57) .
Although numerous states have legalized recreational and medical marijuana , marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug (58) .
However, since hemp is now distinct from marijuana, the change may streamline the process for researchers to study cannabis derivatives that have no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight ( 59 ) .
Cannabis derivatives, including cannabinoids , such as CBD, may advance the development of new drugs from those substances (60) .
How can CBD help with autoimmune diseases?
A study in 2020 showed that CBD’s anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties may help with human autoimmunity (61) .
The researchers suggested that the compound may help with autoimmune diseases by directly suppressing different immune cell types (62) .
What evidence or research exists to say that CBD helps with autoimmune diseases?
CBD’s neuroprotective and immunosuppressive properties make it an ideal therapeutic candidate for multiple sclerosis , an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (63) .
Is there evidence that CBD can make autoimmune diseases worse?
There is no direct link between CBD and worsening autoimmune diseases . However, using cannabidiol may induce side effects , such as drowsiness, diarrhea, and irritability ( 64) .
Will CBD interact with any current medication I may be taking for autoimmune diseases?
There is no evidence of cannabidiol interacting with a particular autoimmune disease medication. However, there are risks of CBD interacting with other medicines, leading to possible adverse side effects (65) .
Are there other treatments I should consider alongside CBD to help with autoimmune diseases?
You may use CBD topicals, like creams and lotions, alongside massage therapy to relieve chronic pain triggered by autoimmune diseases .
In 2017, a review in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice noted the benefits of massage on pain when used for autoimmune diseases , such as (66) :
- Knee osteoarthritis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Joint pain
- Multiple sclerosis
However, there is a lack of research and clinical trials on massage therapy and autoimmune conditions .
Meanwhile, a study showed that cannabinoids , such as CBD, may be used to manage difficult to treat pain (67) . CBD may help bring about pain relief or alleviate chronic inflammation .
Still, it is best to consult your healthcare provider to avoid a potential reaction, especially if you plan to take CBD or hemp oil with any anti-inflammatory drugs and supplements.
Can I fail a drug test if I use CBD for autoimmune diseases?
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive and non-intoxicating drug. However, high doses and frequent intake of CBD may result in a positive drug test.
What is the dosage for autoimmune diseases?
There are no official dosage guidelines for CBD. CBD as a medication has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The general rule is to go slow and start low. You may begin with a low CBD potency, gradually increasing the dosage until you get the desired effects.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that dosages in most clinical research studies usually range between 100 and 800mg of CBD daily (68) .
How much CBD should I take?
If you are a first-time user and think you cannot tolerate the standard CBD dosage, you may opt for a microdose.
The recommended microdose for cannabidiol is 500mg CBD oil . Note that one drop of 500mg CBD oil contains approximately 2mg of CBD (69) .
How do I choose the best CBD oil for autoimmune diseases?
You may choose CBD isolate , broad-spectrum , or full-spectrum CBD oil. Full-spectrum CBD oil contains all the natural elements of Cannabis sativa plants. Meanwhile, CBD isolate is the pure form of cannabidiol (70) .
Make sure to consult with a physician expert in cannabis use before trying any CBD product.
Also, check a brand’s website and see if there is any product disclaimer . CBD brands need to be transparent with their consumers.
A third-party lab tests all products to determine whether they contain any heavy metals or residual solvents.
CBD Oil for Autoimmune Diseases – August 2022
Why People Are Turning to CBD for Autoimmune Diseases
Cannabidiol , commonly known as CBD , may be useful in treating autoimmune diseases due to its reported ability to alter immune functions .
CBD is a chemical compound extracted from cannabis plants. It is commonly available in the form of oil.
A 2020 review published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research analyzed several studies involving CBD and its effects on autoimmune disease models (4) . The data overwhelmingly demonstrated CBD as an immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agent.
Results revealed that cannabidiol ‘s mechanism of action involved the direct suppression of various immune cell types (T cells ) (5) . This ability could mean that CBD might be able to help treat a range of autoimmune diseases .
In another study, researchers reported that cannabidiol attenuated an experimental autoimmune model of multiple sclerosis in mice (6) . Treatment with CBD resulted in a significant reduction of paralysis in cells that cause inflammation.
The authors mentioned that CBD ‘s mitigation of experimental autoimmune models is due to its ability to target multiple anti-inflammatory pathways. They concluded that cannabidiol may be an excellent candidate in treating multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases (7) .
A study published in the journal Molecular Medicine also suggested that CBD might help treat autoimmune disorders (8) .
However, there is a lack of clinical studies on humans to prove that CBD can treat autoimmune diseases . Most of the assumptions on cannabidiol ‘s potential against autoimmune disorders are based on animal studies.
More in-depth trials are necessary, particularly on human subjects, to determine CBD ‘s efficacy in these conditions.
How CBD Oil Works to Help with Autoimmune Diseases
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is present in mammals, and it is responsible for regulating various functions, such as the nervous system .
Understanding how CBD impacts the ECS is necessary to learn how it works to help with autoimmune diseases .
The ECS does its modulation through structures known as cannabinoid receptors , primarily the CB1 and CB2 receptors .
CBD has a low affinity to both CB1 and CB2 receptors . In a review of CBD ‘s effects on the immune system , the compound was shown to suppress inflammatory responses via the CB2 receptor (9) .
However, CBD ‘s anti-inflammatory properties were also attributed to the CB1 receptor in some models of inflammation.
The effects of CBD on immune function may also be mediated by how it interacts with non-ECS receptors.
In one study, the vanilloid receptor (TRPV1) was found to be activated by cannabidiol (10) . Activation of the TRPV1 receptor has been associated with pain and inflammation (11) .
The Pros and Cons of CBD Oil for Autoimmune Diseases
- Cannabidiol might be useful in treating autoimmune diseases because of its purported ability to alter immune function .
- A review of CBD and various autoimmune disease models revealed that the compound is an immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory agent (12) . Cannabidiol was found to suppress multiple immune cell types, suggesting that it may treat a range of autoimmune disorders .
- CBD is not similar to tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ). THC is a psychoactive compound that causes mind-altering effects when consumed.
- Selling, transporting, and possessing hemp-derived CBD is now allowed with a permit according to the United States 2018 Farm Bill (13) . Cannabidiol obtained from hemp is legal in most states and can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription. Always check your local and state laws before doing any of the above.
- Government agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recognize the potential of cannabidiol (14) .
- Many of the studies on cannabidiol were performed on animal subjects. Clinical trials on human subjects are lacking, making it difficult to determine if the compound can effectively treat various conditions.
- When using CBD , there is a risk that the compound may interact with other medications and result in adverse side effects (15) .
- There is a lack of regulation in the cannabidiol industry. This predicament has led some CBD brands to deliberately mislabel their products, especially those sold online (16) .
- Epidiolex, a medication for two rare forms of epilepsy, is the only cannabidiol product approved by the FDA. No other marketing applications for CBD have been recognized by the agency (17) .
How CBD Oil Compares to Alternative Treatment for Autoimmune Diseases
Turmeric, ginger, and rosemary are anti-inflammatory herbal remedies that could potentially benefit patients with autoimmune diseases (18) .
A 2019 study on curcumin, a chemical compound from turmeric, revealed that supplementation with the substance could be a possible therapeutic agent for various autoimmune diseases (19) .
Researchers learned that ginger might improve the well-being of people with rheumatoid arthritis due to its potential therapeutic roles in symptom amelioration (20) . Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune problem that affects the joints.
In an open-label trial, rosemary extract was found to noticeably reduce inflammation in patients with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis , and fibromyalgia (21) .
Similarly, cannabidiol also has properties that could help people with autoimmune diseases .
It was revealed that CBD ‘s mechanism of action involved the direct suppression of various immune cell types (22) . Thus, the compound may be useful in treating a range of autoimmune conditions .
How to Choose the Right CBD for Autoimmune Diseases
When selecting CBD for autoimmune diseases , it is vital to know the different types available today. CBD comes in three forms: full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate.
Full-spectrum CBD oil offers all of the phytocannabinoids present in Cannabis sativa plants. It contains terpenes, flavonoids, and THC .
Top-quality full-spectrum CBD products have high CBD content, with only small amounts of the other compounds. Individuals who want to try the whole CBD experience can buy full-spectrum CBD .
Broad-spectrum is the next type of cannabidiol that also contains all of the compounds of cannabis except for tetrahydrocannabinol. Some people prefer broad-spectrum because of the lack of THC .
The last form of CBD is known as isolates. These are products that are made purely of cannabidiol and are often available as crystals.
Due to the purity of CBD isolates, they do not have a distinct taste or smell.
The full-spectrum CBD variant could be the most potent form of CBD oil for autoimmune diseases . It is known for the “entourage effect,” the synergism of its components.
This effect is believed to cause cannabinoid compounds to work more efficiently when taken together (23) .
Whichever variant of CBD one chooses, users should always buy the best-quality cannabidiol products available.
Below are some tips to help people select the best CBD products for autoimmune diseases :
- Get a certificate of analysis (COA) or the laboratory report of the desired item. The COA is a document that highlights the tests the CBD product has undergone and determines if it has the same contents listed on its label.
- Be aware of the laws concerning the purchase and consumption of CBD in various areas. Although hemp-derived cannabidiol is currently allowed, the legalities surrounding CBD may change at any time.
- Purchase only CBD that has been obtained from industrial hemp. Hemp plants are naturally rich in cannabidiol and are the best sources for the compound.
- Research about specific CBD brands and products before buying. Ensure that a physical dispensary has the proper authorization to sell cannabidiol .
- Consult a doctor before administering any CBD product. Someone with prior knowledge of medical marijuana is recommended.
CBD Dosage for Autoimmune Diseases
There are no approved FDA guidelines on CBD dosing, especially for autoimmune diseases .
However, it may benefit people to look at doses from past clinical studies to know the dose range that may be suitable for their needs.
One study revealed that high doses of CBD , around 300mg to 600mg, were able to induce the desired clinical outcome. It was also found that 10mg to 400mg of cannabidiol per day did not create toxic effects on patients (24) .
How to Take CBD Oil for Autoimmune Diseases
A quick way of ingesting cannabidiol is through CBD tinctures. These products are taken sublingually, a method that has shown to be effective when the immediate onset of action is needed (25) .
Cannabidiol tinctures also have droppers that allow for accurate and convenient dosing.
Inhaling CBD by way of vape devices is another quick way of taking the compound. However, not everyone is compatible with vaping.
Another direct way of consuming cannabidiol is by taking edibles or capsules. CBD edibles are often available as gummies or cookies and can be enjoyed like any other snack.
Several companies even sell coffees and teas infused with cannabidiol .
Besides tinctures and edibles, some brands also sell CBD topicals. The topical administration of cannabidiol may be useful, especially for autoimmune conditions that affect the skin (26) , like eczema .
The most common CBD topicals available are creams, lotions, salves, and balms.
Before purchasing or using any CBD product, it is best to consult a doctor to avoid complications.
What Are Autoimmune Diseases ?
An autoimmune disease happens when the body’s defense system is unable to tell the difference between its own cells and that of foreign invaders. When this happens, it mistakenly starts to attack healthy tissues .
Doctors do not fully understand what causes autoimmune diseases . Some experts believe that disorders resulting in autoimmunity may be due to the genes or environment of an individual.
More than eighty types of autoimmune diseases have been discovered, with each one affecting various parts of the body (27) .
Several examples of autoimmune diseases are:
- Thyroid diseases, such as Hashimoto ‘s thyroiditis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Huntington ‘s disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Crohn’s disease
- Neuromyelitis optica (eye and spinal cord disease)
- Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), the final stage of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Although there are many types of autoimmune diseases , many of them share the same symptoms, such as:
- Skin problems
- Joint pain, swelling, or stiffness ( spasticity )
- Recurring fever
- Swollen glands
- Pain in the abdomen
- Digestive issues
How Are Autoimmune Diseases Treated?
The traditional therapies for autoimmune diseases have relied on immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory drugs intended to dampen immune responses . For many patients, these medications are highly effective and remain the current standard of treatment (28) .
However, long-term solutions requiring high doses are often needed to maintain disease control. These scenarios can leave a patient susceptible to infections and malignancy.
Scientists have started developing more specific strategies that lower the risk of systemic immune suppression while improving tolerability. They have identified four goals for an optimal approach on autoimmunity :
- Can target pathogenic cells specifically while leaving the immune system intact
- Can re-establish a stable immune tolerance over time
- Is low in toxicity and minimal side effects
- Is cost-effective overall compared to alternative treatments
The new wave of therapies for autoimmune disease aims to accomplish these goals. The novel approaches either focus on inhibiting pathogenic cell activation or modulating pathways that suppress these cells.
Risk Factors for Autoimmune Diseases
Although the exact causes of autoimmune conditions are unknown, experts have identified several risk factors that may increase the chances of developing these disorders (29) .
- Genetics – Certain conditions, such as multiple sclerosis and lupus, have been observed to run in families.
- Weight – Obesity and being overweight increases the risk that a person develops rheumatoid arthritis .
- Medications – Some antibiotics or blood pressure drugs are believed to trigger drug-induced lupus, which is a more benign form of the condition.
Autoimmune diseases happen when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its healthy cells .
The causes of these disorders are not known. Meanwhile, current treatments have proven to be risky for patients.
Overwhelming data on cannabidiol revealed that the compound could alter immune function . This ability makes it a potential candidate in treating various autoimmune diseases .
Several studies have shown that CBD has immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties, mediated by its interaction with various receptors in the body. Pathways that are associated with pain and inflammation have been implicated.
However, more in-depth trials are needed to prove that cannabidiol can effectively treat autoimmune disorders .
Talk to a physician before buying or using any product that contains cannabidiol . A doctor who is knowledgeable about medical cannabis is highly recommended.
Can Cannabinoids Help Lupus and Other Diseases?
A lupus diagnosis can be devastating. The disease causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and can affect internal organs—including the brain, heart, and lungs—which can start to deteriorate. Lupus flare-ups can leave patients so fatigued and in pain that they’re unable to do the simplest of things, such as walk, cook, or read. Many can’t go outdoors without layers of sunscreen, because the disease can make them extremely susceptible to sunburn.
Lupus affects approximately 240,000 people in the United States, and yet at present doctors neither know the exact cause nor have a cure. Instead, current treatments focus on improving quality of life by controlling symptoms and minimizing flare-ups to reduce risk of organ damage.
“The landscape for treatment of lupus is a bit bleak,” says Fotios Koumpouras, MD, a rheumatologist and director of the Lupus Program at Yale Medicine. “A multitude of drugs have failed in the last 10 to 15 years. Most of the drugs we use are being repurposed from other conditions and are not unique to lupus. Many of them can’t be used during pregnancy, which is a problem because lupus mostly affects young women. All of these issues create the impetus to find new and more effective therapies.”
This is why he’s exploring a candidate for a new lupus treatment option: a molecule with a cannabinoid template structure that binds to cannabinoid receptors, the same receptors involved in the chemicals found in the marijuana plant.
What is CBD?
CBD is a form of cannabinoid called “cannabidiol.” Cannabinoids are a type of chemical that binds to CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are mostly located in the nervous system, connective tissues, gonads, glands, and organs; CB2 receptors are primarily found in the immune system, along with the spleen, liver, heart, kidneys, bones, blood vessels, lymph cells, endocrine glands, and reproductive organs. (Collectively this is called the endocannabinoid system.)
What these cannabinoids do when they bind to the receptors depends on which receptor is activated, and thus can produce effects ranging from the firing of neurotransmitters (the chemical messengers sent from the brain to the rest of the body) that alter mood, to reducing inflammation and promoting digestion.
So, our bodies have their own endocannabinoid system, but cannabinoids can also be found in nature, most abundantly in the marijuana plant. The two most well-known types of cannabinoids in the marijuana plant are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol). THC binds to both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but the CB1 receptor seems to be responsible for many of the well-known psychoactive effects of marijuana, such as euphoria, increased heart rate, slower reaction times, and red eyes. CB2 receptor binding results in the production of a series of proteins that reduce inflammation. (These proteins are called “resolvins” because they appear to resolve inflammation.) The pharmacology of CBD at cannabinoid receptors is complex and highly variable, but CBD has been shown to activate the endocannabinoid system.
Fotios Koumpouras, MD, is researching a synthetically created cannabinoid molecule that binds preferentially to CB2 receptors (called Lenabasum) to see if it can help ease pain and inflammation in patients with lupus.
Dr. Koumpouras learned from a colleague of ajulemic acid, a side-chain analog of Δ8-THC-11-oic acid, which was designed as a potent therapeutic agent free of the psychotropic adverse effects typical of most cannabinoids. This molecule may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), the most common type of lupus. “Reducing inflammation is crucial for patients with lupus because it is what causes the buildup of scar tissue in vital organs that can eventually lead to their deterioration and malfunction,” he says. This cannabinoid molecule was already in study for other diseases, including systemic sclerosis and dermatomyositis.
In 2018, Dr. Koumpouras joined a multi-site randomized clinical trial that aims to recruit 100 participants to examine whether a drug using a synthetically created cannabinoid molecule that binds preferentially to CB2 receptors (called Lenabasum) can help ease pain and inflammation in patients with lupus. Participants will receive Lenabasum or a placebo for almost three months and will continue to be monitored for pain and inflammation levels, as well as lupus disease activity. The study is ongoing, but Dr. Koumpouras anticipates that it will wrap up by early next year.
From “miracle drug” to medicine?
Dr. Koumpouras’ excitement over the new drug comes at a time when products containing CBD have flooded supermarkets, labeled with claims that they treat everything from back pain to insomnia. Although CBD is not yet approved by the FDA, the hype around it stems from the popularity of the marijuana plant it is derived from.
But whether CBD actually provides those benefits in a significant way remains to be seen. Only a few studies—small ones—have definitively proven the effectiveness of medicines that involve the endocannabinoid system. To date, the only FDA-approved medication containing CBD is Epidiolex, a medication used to treat two rare forms of severe epilepsy—Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, both which begin mostly in infancy and early childhood. In a group of three clinical trials, Epidiolex seemed to reduce the number of seizures significantly. And yet, Vinita Knight, MD, a Yale Medicine pediatric neurologist, says her patients who take Epidiolex have had mixed results. Some have had reductions in seizures and others haven’t shown much improvement. “We’re not seeing as much success as what’s been reported on Facebook and Twitter,” she says, but adds that so far it has only been prescribed for children with the most debilitating and difficult-to-treat seizures. In addition, some researchers believe that CBD works most effectively in combination with other cannabinoids and compounds found in the marijuana plant, in what is known as the “entourage effect.” Thus, it would be less effective as an isolated chemical in pill form, but that, too, remains unproven.
But these questions are why Dr. Koumpouras is focusing on a compound that, until recently, few have studied.
His research is one of many new studies at Yale and elsewhere looking at the endocannabinoid system and molecules related to CBD action for use in treating everything from Crohn’s disease to psoriatic arthritis, and he hopes that this new data will be used to help paint a more complete picture about the chemical for future treatment options.
“The more data the better,” he says. “The more we’re able to make informed decisions.”