Cannabis Helps Sjogren’s Syndrome
- Sjogren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation of the mucous membranes resulting in symptoms such as dry mouth and eyes and chronic pain.
- Compounds found in medical marijuana called phytocannabinoids have been shown to relieve symptoms in some Sjogren’s Syndrome patients.
- Phytocannabinoids can be used as a supplement to the body’s own naturally-produced endocannabinoids to reduce inflammation caused by an autoimmune response.
- A wide array of medical marijuana strains and cannabis-infused products suitable for the treatment of Sjogren’s Syndrome are available at medical marijuana dispensaries nationwide.
Can medical marijuana and other cannabis-infused medicines help relieve the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome? Some medical marijuana doctors say yes. Moreover, several U.S. states now offer medical marijuana cards to Sjogren’s patients.
What is this mysterious condition, and how does medical marijuana help treat Sjogren’s Syndrome? Let’s dive right in.
What is Sjogren's Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes chronically inflamed mucous membranes. This chronic inflammation eventually leads to dryness, most commonly in the eyes and mouth. Other symptoms may include extreme fatigue, dry cough, rashes, vaginal dryness, swollen salivary glands, scleroderma, and chronic pain. Sjogren’s syndrome usually manifests in females over the age of forty.
Sjogren’s syndrome falls under the rheumatic disease category, and the cause is unknown. Genetics and viral issues are believed to be potential underlying causes.
How does medical marijuana help Sjogren's Syndrome patients?
As is often the case with autoimmune diseases, systemic inflammation is at the root of Sjogren’s syndrome. When utilized properly, cannabis is known to decrease the autoimmune inflammation associated with Sjogren’s with minimal side effects. The reduction of inflammation of the affected mucous membranes, in turn, alleviates symptoms such as dryness and musculoskeletal pain.
Additionally, individuals suffering from chronic pain and inflammation often experience bouts of depression, anxiety, and sleeplessness. The use of medical marijuana is known to have profound effects on moods.
Additionally, some studies have shown that compounds in medical marijuana may actually prevent the development of Sjogren’s syndrome by protecting healthy cells.
Not surprisingly, the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation is highly in favor of cannabis therapy. In fact, they agree that the herb has shown great promise, especially in the reduction of musculoskeletal pain caused by Sjogren’s disease.
How does medical marijuana help treat Sjogren's Syndrome?
The resinous flower clusters of female cannabis plants produce a set of compounds known as phytocannabinoids. These are highly similar to compounds produced naturally by our own bodies called endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are produced by the brain in response to various physical states. They interact with receptors on the surface of cells throughout the human body known as endocannabinoid receptors. This system of signaling chemicals and receptors is referred to as the human endocannabinoid system or ECS.
The function of the ECS is to regulate a wide array of bodily functions including inflammatory response, immune response, moods, and sleep cycles among others. Like endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids found in medical marijuana stimulate the body’s innate endocannabinoid receptors.
There is some evidence that autoimmune conditions are at least in part the result of endocannabinoid deficiencies. Several recent preclinical trials have indicated that the administration of cannabis can attenuate the autoimmune inflammatory response in some patients.
Moreover, numerous studies have shown that medical marijuana can help balance neurotransmitters in the brain that are responsible for mood swings and sleep disorders.
Is medical marijuana safe for the treatment of Sjogren's Syndrome?
Many of the traditional medicines used for the treatment of Sjogren’s syndrome are effective for short-term relief of symptoms. However, prescription painkillers can be highly addictive and can cause liver and kidney issues if taken for a lengthy period.
Steroids are also sometimes employed for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. Although they are efficient in alleviating pain and inflammation, steroids can have detrimental effects on the body over time.
Cannabis therapy is known to reduce the symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome without the specter of chemical addiction or harsh side effects.
That being said, cannabinoids affect each patient differently. This is because each patient’s ECS is unique. Some patients might find that smoking marijuana and vaping cannabis oils can increase symptoms such as dry mouth and eyes. Additionally, if THC is not used properly, excessive doses may cause heightened anxiety in some patients.
How is medical marijuana used to treat Sjogren's Syndrome?
Sjogren’s Syndrome patients have a variety of options when it comes to medical marijuana and cannabis-based medicines. A patient’s choice of which method to employ depends on many factors such as the severity of the condition, the symptoms being treated, the patient’s lifestyle, etc.
Some patients seek immediate onset of effects. Smoking dried marijuana flower, vaping cannabis-infused oil, and dabbing cannabis concentrates provides potent and almost immediate effects. Cannabis inhalers also offer a fast onset time.
Oral delivery methods such as cannabis-infused oils, capsules, tablets, and edibles (candies and baked goods) offer a much slower onset and lower potency. However, oral applications offer more accurate dosing and provide more consistent effects over time. Sublingual tinctures and cannabinoid patches can provide similar effects to oral treatments. However, their onset time is faster as the cannabinoids are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the lining of the mouth or through the skin.
All of these products come in a wide variety of potencies and formulations. Some are high in THC (the intoxicating cannabinoid found in marijuana) and low in CBD (non-intoxicating) and vice versa. Others offer a balance of the two cannabinoids.
Smokable medical marijuana also comes in a wide array of potencies and cannabinoid ratios. Which strains and which formulas are the most beneficial can differ from patient to patient. Some experimentation might be required to determine the ideal balance of cannabinoids.
Any products containing more than trace amounts of THC must be purchased at state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries. However, CBD-rich products produced from hemp are available nationwide. Anyone can buy CBD oil online and have it delivered to their home without the need for a medical marijuana card. This also includes products containing less common cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN, and CBC, and even smokable hemp flower.
Sjogren’s Syndrome is a serious medical condition, and patients should not attempt to self-medicate. Patients are strongly advised to consult with a knowledgeable and qualified medical marijuana doctor before beginning any cannabis-based therapy.
The Best Marijuana Strains for Sjogren’s Syndrome
How To Get Medical Marijuana for Sjogren’s Syndrome
If you are a resident of a legal state and want medical marijuana to help treat Sjogren’s Syndrome or other medical conditions, you will first need to consult with a certified doctor in order to get your med card.
To get started, simply fill out the MMJ patient registration form, press submit and a physician or clinic representative will contact you as available.
Sign Up for Medical Cannabis Today!
For potential patients, if you’re ready, we make it easy to connect with a medical marijuana doctor nearby or online. If you are interested in getting certified, please fill out the MMJ patient registration form below and press submit to get started. See if you qualify today!
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Sources For reading Up:
- Ask the Expert: CBD Oil and Sjögren’s
- Cannabinoids as novel anti-inflammatory drugs
- CBD for inflammation: What we know so far
- Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol
- Cannabidiol as an emergent therapeutic strategy for lessening the impact of inflammation on oxidative stress
- Cannabinoids in clinical practice