What UK medical cannabis strain is good for lupus? | CAC
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What UK medical cannabis strain is good for lupus?

Medical cannabis for Lupus

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Lupus is a devastating disease which can leave people unable to perform even the simplest of tasks due to chronic pain and fatigue. The body’s immune system malfunctions, wrongly identifying its own tissues as foreign and attacking them. People with a lupus diagnosis experience inflammation, joint and muscle aches, pain, and severe fatigue. It can also cause irreversible damage to the kidneys, liver, heart, brain, and lungs.

Key Takeaways

  • Consult a Specialist – Always consult with a medical cannabis specialist to tailor the treatment plan to your specific needs and medical history.
  • Symptom Severity Matters – Different strains should be selected based on the severity of your lupus symptoms for optimal relief.
  • Start Low and Go Slow – Begin with a low dosage and increase it gradually under the supervision of a healthcare professional to find the most effective dose.
  • Monitor Your Effects – Keep a symptom journal to track how different strains and dosages affect your symptoms, aiding in fine-tuning your treatment.
  • Combine with Other Treatments – Use medical cannabis as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes other medications and therapies recommended by your doctor.

Treatment usually involves anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen, hydroxychloroquine for fatigue, skin and joint issues and steroid tablets, creams and injections for rashes and kidney inflammation. Immunosuppressant drugs may also be prescribed. 

While effective in managing the symptoms, many treatments carry with them unwanted side effects such as weight gain, thinning bones, and increased risk of diabetes, bruising and infection. The risk of side effects increases with prolonged use or higher doses, so the hunt is on for safer alternatives.

Medical cannabis has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, downregulate immune response and act as a pain reliever – two of the most common Lupus symptoms. Specifically, it lowers levels of interleukin-2 and raises interleukin-19, an anti-inflammatory protein, which is why researchers believe it may be beneficial to Lupus patients.

Medical cannabis for Lupus

Understanding cannabis strains

There are three recognised ‘subtypes’ of cannabis, although genetically, they are all the same species. They are referred to as Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Sativa, and hybrid strains which combine both.

  • Sativa – The leaves are narrower, plants grow taller than other strains, and users report it offers a ‘head high’, which can increase focus, energy levels, and creativity. Sativa strains are often used during the day to manage conditions like chronic fatigue, depression, and anxiety.
  • Indica Indica strains are short, bushy plants with wider leaves. They are associated with a ‘body high’, and many users report feeling more relaxed, sleepy, and sedated. Indica strains can be useful for managing pain, insomnia, muscle spasms, and anxiety.
  • Hybrid – Hybrid strains carry genetic material from both subspecies. The range of effects you may experience depends on which strains have been crossed.

Both the scientific community and medical cannabis producers have cautioned against using subspecies nomenclature to classify strains and instead work on the concentrations of the main cannabinoid compounds to create three classifications: High THC, a combination of THC/CBD and high CBD.

The concentration of terpenes is also increasingly being considered a marker for different strains. Terpenes are responsible for giving strains their smell but are also thought to influence the effects that specific strains produce.

Factors to consider in choosing a cannabis strain for lupus 

Different strains of medical cannabis will have varying effects on lupus symptoms. Choosing the right strain for your health needs is best done in consultation with a specialist who is registered to prescribed UK medical cannabis, and one who has experience doing so for your specific condition.

Considerations include:

  • Symptom severity – Some strains may be more effective in treating mild symptoms, while others may be better for more severe symptoms.
  • Medical history – It is essential to discuss your medical history and any medications you are currently taking with your doctor before starting a new treatment plan involving medical cannabis.
  • Potential side effects – While medical cannabis may offer relief from lupus symptoms, and the side effects are generally very mild, it is essential to consider the potential side effects of each strain before choosing one.
  • Individual preferences – There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to medical cannabis. Each patient may have different preferences and responses to various strains, so finding the one that works best for you is crucial.

Self-medicating with cannabis (or any other medication) without proper medical guidance can be dangerous, especially for those with underlying health conditions like lupus. Always reach out to a medical cannabis clinic before incorporating it into your treatment plan.

Four UK medical cannabis strains for lupus symptoms

Acapulco Gold is said to have uplifting, motivating and energising properties with users also reporting it can help with chronic fatigue, stress, depression and anxiety.

Purple Kush is believed to induce long-lasting euphoria and is useful for the treatment of chronic pain, muscle spasms and insomnia.

LA Confidential contains high levels of THC and tackles inflammation, pain and stress. Its buds have a frosty appearance with little purple leaves, and it is said to have an extremely calming effect on the mind and body.

Blue Dream is a hybrid strain which is believed to induce full body relaxation and is often used to treat chronic pain. It has high levels of THC (around 30%) but also contains CBD.

With that said, there are many strains available to UK medical cannabis patients, and your prescribing specialist will help you find the best option for your needs.

Tips and recommendations for taking medical cannabis for lupus

Whenever you opt for a new treatment, it’s important you speak to your doctor first or a medical cannabis specialist who can advise on the correct dosage. It’s also important to think about what outcome you want to achieve. Are you looking for something that specifically reduces inflammation or acts as pain relief? Is the stress and anxiety caused by your condition getting in the way of everyday life? Below are some general tips and recommendations for taking medical cannabis specifically for lupus symptoms:

  • Start low and go slow – Start with a low dosage and gradually increase it as you monitor your symptoms. This will help you find the most effective dose for your specific needs while minimising the risk of side effects.
  • Keep a symptom journal – Tracking your symptoms and how they are affected by different strains and dosages can help you and your doctor fine-tune your treatment plan.
  • Be consistent – Consistency is key when it comes to medical cannabis. Stick to a regular dosing schedule to ensure the medication stays at therapeutic levels in your body.
  • Combine with other treatments – Medical cannabis should not be used as the sole treatment for lupus but rather in combination with other medications and therapies recommended by your doctor.

Medical cannabis for Lupus

Final thoughts

Lupus is a tough condition to live with, and finding a treatment plan that works for you can be challenging. Medical cannabis is an increasingly popular option for managing lupus symptoms, but it’s essential to seek guidance from a medical professional before incorporating it into your treatment plan.

Considerations such as strain selection, dosage, and potential side effects should all be discussed with your doctor or specialist to ensure the best possible outcome. With proper guidance and monitoring, medical cannabis may offer relief for those living with lupus.

If you have any recommendations based on your experience, please leave a medical cannabis review for the clinic you are signed up with. Your words and knowledge are indispensable for those considering medical cannabis as a treatment option.