Caused by the body’s immune system attacking and damaging its own healthy cells, autoimmune diseases are notoriously difficult to treat.
As a result, some people suffering from autoimmune conditions turn to alternative options such as CBD oil after finding insufficient relief with standard medications.
There are well over 80 different autoimmune disorders, with common examples being coeliac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Around 5% of Australians have an autoimmune disease and researchers estimate that their economic impact is $30 billion: two times higher than cancer.
Medical studies suggest that CBD may relieve both the symptoms and underlying causes of autoimmune conditions. Better yet, it can do so without causing the significant side effects of conventional therapies. Here’s what the research says.
Standard Treatment for Autoimmunity
Standard therapy for autoimmune disorders is designed to suppress the immune system to stop it from attacking the body.
However, the problem with this approach is that it’s indiscriminate: you’re not just subduing elements of the immune system that are causing the problem, but also the ones that protect you from infection and have other benefits.
This is why these immunosuppressive drugs are not always effective and can cause serious side effects.
How CBD Can Help With Autoimmune Disorders
In contrast, CBD can bring the immune system back into balance rather than suppress it outright. This natural approach helps return the immune system to a healthy state, producing fewer side effects in the process.
More specifically, CBD and other cannabinoids can address autoimmune conditions at their source through two main mechanisms:
- Reducing inflammation, which plays a major role in autoimmune disorders
- Modulating the immune system (normalize its function, e.g. suppress elements that are overactive, and stimulate those that are too weak)
CBD achieves most of these effects by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. Unsurprisingly, the purpose of this system is to maintain an internal state of balance by regulating key processes, including digestion, pain, sleep, brain health, and immune function.
A growing body of research shows that CBD can not only relieve the symptoms of autoimmune disorders but even treat their underlying cause. We’ve compiled key findings for some of the most notable autoimmune conditions below.
Type 1 Diabetes
Numerous animal studies show that CBD can help with type 1 diabetes. In one 2006 study, diabetic mice treated with CBD had a 30% rate of diabetes compared to 86% for their untreated counterparts.
A follow up 2008 study reported similar findings, leading the researchers to conclude that “CBD, known to be safe in man, can possibly be used as a therapeutic agent for treatment of type 1 diabetes.” Additionally, multiple studies have shown that CBD may counteract complications of diabetes, such as retinopathy.
Furthermore, researchers believe that CBD “may constitute an excellent candidate for the treatment of MS [multiple sclerosis]…” This is best demonstrated by studies of Sativex, a pharmaceutical drug combining a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD.
One 2005 paper which reviewed the results of five high-quality clinical trials found that Sativex improved neuropathic pain, spasticity, muscle spasms and sleep disturbances associated with MS. Meanwhile, a 2018 Italian study found that Sativex reduced pain caused by MS.
There’s also evidence that pure CBD is just as beneficial: one 2013 study demonstrated that CBD reduced MS-related inflammation, while a 2017 study found that it counteracted the development of MS in mice.
The use of CBD for treating skin disorders such as psoriasis is an emerging area of research. Just recently, a 2019 study tested the effects of a CBD-infused ointment on people with psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and scarring from these conditions. The researchers reported significant improvements in psoriasis severity, skin symptoms, elasticity, and other measures of skin health.
There’s also evidence that CBD can relieve rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common autoimmune conditions in the world.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Emerging studies show that CBD can improve inflammatory bowel disease and even result in its remission.
Coeliac disease is one of the least researched conditions for cannabis-based medicines. Nonetheless, studies suggest that CBD can help with the symptoms of this digestive condition, such as chronic pain and nausea.
CBD: A Natural Alternative for Autoimmune Conditions
As we can see, there’s plenty of evidence — with new studies emerging every month — that CBD can be useful for autoimmune disorders.
The fact that CBD has been found to help with so many different kinds of autoimmune conditions underscores the fact that it works to fix the underlying cause: an immune system that’s out of balance.
Australians interested in trying out CBD products for autoimmune issues should opt for full-spectrum formulas containing the full range of beneficial hemp cannabinoids and terpenes. CBD oils will generally be the best option, although you can also use creams for psoriasis and other skin-related disorders.
Good Alternatives is one solid option for buying CBD hemp oil and related products in Australia.