What is Lupus?

Allergies - swollen eyes and face - close-upLupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which your body can’t tell the difference between viruses, germs and bacteria and your body’s own healthy tissue. This leads to your immune system creating antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue, leading to inflammation, pain and damage to body parts. Lupus is characterized by flares, where symptoms worsen, and remissions, when symptoms improve. Unlike HIV or AIDS, where the immune system is under-active, the immune system is overactive in lupus.

Between 1.5 and 2 million Americans live with lupus, and most are women between the age of 15-45. The most severe cases of lupus are found in Asians and African-Americans. The most common type of lupus is system lupus erythematosus, which attacks several body organs. Drug-induced lupus is caused by using one of over 400 legal prescription drugs. Other types of lupus include cutaneous lupus, which mainly attacks skin and forms a butterfly-shaped rash across the nose, lupus nephritis, which attacks the kidneys, and neonatal lupus, which occurs in babies born to mothers with lupus.

Symptoms of lupus include pain all over but focused in hands, fingers, wrists, andCollage representing man having pain at several part of body knees, skin rashes, mouth sores, fatigue, mood changes, swelling of hands and feet, nausea, vomiting, depression, anxiety, seizures, fevers, weight loss, chest pain, hair loss, ulcers, swollen lymph nodes, anemia and abnormal heart rate.

How is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) Disrupted in Lupus?

This is an area of medicine lacking in research. One day genetic studies will see if mutations in ECS genes are correlated with lupus. Because the immune system contains cannabinoid receptor type 2 (CB2), endocannabinoids directly influence the immune system.

How Does Cannabis Help Lupus?

Pain and inflammation are two major symptoms of lupus, and cannabis helps relieve both, without nasty side effects that prescription medications have. Cannabis increases

3d rendered illustration of a man blocking virusesthe levels of anti-inflammatory protein interleukin-10 and decreases the levels of pro-inflammatory protein interleukin-2. Cannabis has also been shown to suppress the immune system by activating myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs may help dampen the hyperactive immune system found in lupus.

Cannabis also helps treat symptoms of nausea and abdominal cramping that are often severe side effects of commonly prescribed drug for lupus, such as Plaquenil and corticosteroids.

How Can I Take Cannabis to Treat Lupus?

For patents who are not ready to quit taking their prescription medications yet, vaporizing cannabis is a great way to quickly ease pain, reduce inflammation and

Cannabis leaf in female hand isolated on white background. Medical marijuana.decrease the severity of side effects from prescription drugs given to lupus patients. Vaporizing cannabis is better than smoking cannabis in a joint, pipe, or bong because it doesn’t burn the cannabis. Smoking cannabis releases toxins similar to cigarettes, can cause lung irritation and often disintegrates cannabinoids with healing properties. Vaporizing cannabis heats the air around the cannabis, releasing a range of cannabinoids, each with unique health benefit.

Eating large doses of cannabis oil daily is essential if you want to make the switch from pills to cannabis only. Cannabis oil made from high-CBD strains work for some patients, but others do best with high THC & THCA extracts.. You can purchase cannabis oil in capsules to make it easier to swallow and remember dosing. If capsules are not available in your area, you can also purchase preloaded syringe of oil that you squirt into your mouth, or take cannabis tincture drops that you put under your tongue.

Pretty blond woman lying in bed looking very unhappyIf you have sleep issues, eating an edible (brownie, candy, etc.) at night can help. Cannabis topicals, in the form of creams or lotions you put on your skin, can help with joint pain and swelling during the day.

A new way to get cannabis into your body is via a transdermal patch, similar to the birth control patch or the nicotine patch. This discrete method provides extended release medication for up to ten hours and is perfect for people who feel uncomfortable with other methods such as smoking cannabis. Patches on the market currently come in CBD, THC, 1:1 CBD:THC, and THCA varieties.

Juicing raw cannabis may reduce pain and inflammation associated with lupus, without that high you get from heated cannabis. That’s because raw cannabis has THCA and CBDA, the non-psychoactive forms of THC and CBD. Juice strains of cannabis with high levels of CBD(A) for best results.

What Strains Are Best For Patients with Lupus?

Finding the right strain for you sometimes takes trial and error. For some patients, strains with high levels of CBD are optimal for lupus. These include Cannatonic, which has close to 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD, Charlotte’s WebHarlequin, and Sour Tsunami. For other patients, strains with high THC work.

Let’s Make This Easy

  1. Use cannabis cream on your achy joints during the day. Don’t worry, it won’t get you high.
  2. Vape cannabis whenever you need pain or other symptom relief. Be safe and don’t drive immediately after using your vaporizer if using a strain that has THC in it as well, you could get a chemical DUI in most states.
  3. Eat an edible at night to help you sleep and relieve pain and inflammation. If you eat it during the day you may not be able to drive or work.
  4. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where raw cannabis juice is available, drink it as often as you can afford to buy it. If not, try taking an extract with THC and THCA.


Lupus Foundation of America: What is Lupus?

Cannabinoid receptor activation leads to massive mobilization of myeloid-derived suppressor cells with potent immunosuppressive properties. Hegde VL, Nagarkatti M, Nagarkatti PS. European Journal of Immunology (2010).

About the Author – Michele Ross, PhD

Dr. Ross profile picMichele Noonan Ross has a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and a BA in Psychology from Boston College. She is the author of two books, including “Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency.”

As founder of the Endocannabinoid Deficiency Foundation, she promotes the use of cannabinoids as vitamins our body makes and needs. Her focus is providing patients, health professionals, and policy makers with medically correct information on the endocannabinoid system and cannabinoid therapy.

Dr. Ross broke boundaries as the first female scientist on reality television, starring on the hit CBS show “Big Brother.” She has leveraged her platform as a public figure to advocate for cannabis patients and change drug policy around the world.

Follow Dr. Ross on Twitter

  1. cynthia k. richardson

    I need ur help please … I live in a state that has not legalized med. cannabis yet …. doctors don’t know whats really wrong with me …. i’m in need of help badly … i’m living with hives … first appeared in march of 2015 … have joint pain .. trouble breathing labored ….chest pain it acts like a form of lupus ….they put me on a high dose antihistamines ….no info …I have had to do all the reach by my self … very little help from doctors … I know there hoping it will just go away but it’s not happening …will cannabis oil help cure me antihistamines only barely keep me comfortable and are hard on my body …I would rather be illegally alive than legally dead … I don’t know where to begin to get help on doses of cannabis oil are even know how to get it ….i’m willing to move just to have a cure … no cure for me living Missouri ….HELP!!!!!

    • UnitedPatientsGroup.com

      We are sorry to hear that you are struggling with health issues. I have attached your state CBD law guidlines here that includes important phone numbers for your health department and more.
      We hope this helps you to find what you are looking for!

    • holly

      Hi Kristie,
      I feel your pain. My state also hinders this powerful herbal miracle from being used and I also get painful swelling. I pray you’re able to find a way around the system! Wish I could send you a picture of of my blistered wrist right now so you’ll not think you’re alone. Stay strong, girlfriend!
      In this together,
      Holly in TN

      • holly

        I meant Cynthia, not Kristie. My apologies.

    • Jill

      Hi, I had a random bought of hives, no doctor could figure it out, I had to research myself, I had to remove things from my diet and wait it out, it took forever, i have lupus, so I was taking plaquinil, prednisone, mainly, and some other stuff for pain and severe anxiety and panic attacks… i got the hives, I thought it was allergy related because it came as soon as spring came, so I started taking an allergy pill… zyrtec i think… hives got worse, I started to take benadryl, and the hives just kept coming! …… long story short… 11 months of constant itching and lupus pains… I figured it out! I stopped taking the benadryl, hives lessened a bit… it was odd, but I was actually allergic to the antihithimes!!but I still had a lessened case of hives… drive myself insane figuring out what it could be…… after a while I figured it all out, I WAS ALLERGIC TO THE PLAQUINIL!! I stopped taking it, my hives went away! But then I realized I am not taking anything to help with the lupus, so I tried a different manufacturer and so far so good, no more hives!
      As far as cannabis and lupus… I CANNOT give you any info on that
      I know this is post is about a year old, but maybe it’ll help someone!

    • Maria

      Cynthia, I have SLE and it’s the only thing that ever helped me. I am in Arkansas and there’s no help for us.

  2. Kristie

    I live in a state where it is not legalized yet, (Pa) I am in need of as much information that is available to me, I am diagnosed with Lupus since 19, and cancer pain (I have finished chemo and radiation) but side effects are unbearable. I want to thank anyone who has advice and will be posting back!!!

    • T.gray

      I have Lupus I vaporize cannabis and it has helped me so much I’m still on two medications prescribed by my doctor but I’ve been able to get off all heavy narcotics Ms cotton OxyContin Morphine Norco methadone Vicodin Percocet Fentayl patch Diloted just to name a few I’ve have been prescribed and have taken all of them Over time I became not only a person with Lipus but also a person who was a drug addiction Suffered depression to the point I tried to committ suicide four times Me and my disease have put my family and friend through so much suffering
      I met a new guy and he was a weed smoker He is now my husband He told me to try vaporizing weed It took him ALOT of coviencing til on day I was so uncomfortable I finally tried it ( I was fearful I would just become addicted again) It isn’t a cure at least not in my case but it really helps and I’ve been able to stay out of the hospital Take no prescribed narcotics No more chemo
      My depression is so much better To the point I’ve been weening off my last two prescribed medications which are for depression
      I see you asked for help about a year ago I would like to know what you have learned in a year I hope you have found a strain or oil that is now helping you I know I’ve came so far in a year Was able to come off of 11 medications (have two more to go) It’s a slow process so you don’t shock your system But I can tell you I have a whole new life and I’m told how proud and strong I am from friends and family I was trying to kill myself a year ago and I don’t even remember that person She is gone out of my mind when once she haunted me

  3. Leah

    My husband has systemic lupus, four years now. I work in the medical field and know the dangers and additional problems prescriptq medications cause. He’s been in a flare up since July… Clearly his treatment ismrw working. Frustratded and sick of seeingt him so misarable, we are ready to explore canibis as treatment. We live in the Bay Area where access is available. Any suggestions on where we start, as far as canibis products for treatment?

    • UnitedPatientsGroup.com

      Good morning Leah,
      I’m sorry to hear that your husband has been struggling. Since you are in the bay area, it would be best to start with a consultation with our Nurse practitioner. This can be done via phone or Skype with as many people on the call as you would like. Each patients needs are different as age, weight, symptoms of the Lupus, and other medications and supplements play a large factor. Once you have a consultation, you will come away with the suggested formulation for your husband, dosing intructions and a referral to a product company who carries what you are looking for.
      This will be the most efficient way to move forward with cannabis treatment. I have attched the nurses scheduling system here for your convenience. Please feel free to call our offices if you have further questions. 415-524-8099.

    • Priscilla

      I am 30 year female that suffers from lupus nephritis. I also suffer from anxiety ,depression, chronic pain and chronic fatigue. I have question where do I post to ask, could u help me please!

      • Corinne Malanca

        You can simply call our offices if youhave questions. 415-524-8099.

  4. madelein

    what is the dosage for cannibus extract the sticky one in syringe. My mum having Lupus SLE and she in bad shape and very ill.

    We stay in SOUTH aFRICA


    • UnitedPatientsGroup.com

      Hello Madelein,
      EAch person is treated differently. Even if you have two people with the same condition, their medications may be different, their height/weight, age, and diet may be different. This is why it is very important to consult with a nurse in the cannabis sector. I have added the link to our nurses scheduling system here for your convenience.

      I hope this helps,


  5. Tennille

    My daughter is 20 and was diagnosed with this hideous disease Lupus, during the 2nd trimester of her pregnancy last June. We are in the crappy state of Texas where only carrying guns is legal but I do still have a CA drivers license so technically I’m a CA resident. She has discontinued methotrexate, plaqunil and predisone due to the side effects, but she is constantly having flare ups and can’t live her life. My question is can we do a skype consultation to get her what she needs? We are planning a trip back to CA in a few weeks but want to have everything lined up in advance. Please help! :(

    • UnitedPatientsGroup.com


      We do offer Skype consults with nurse practitioners. All you need to do is click the consultation tab on our home page to accces the scheduling system.
      Please call our offices if you need a walk through. I have added the link below for your convenience.
      Mary Ann

  6. Joanne

    I went in a raw vegan diet and all my lupus symptoms went away. I’m not a tree hugger or a vegan at all normally, just a suffering lupus patient desperate for answers. I was raw vegan for a year and my doctor took blood tests and declared my blood looking totally clear of lupus entirely. His words are “your blood looks like that of one who doesn’t even have lupus”. I of course declared it due to my raw diet but he poo-pooed the theory. Even my allergies went away.

    It’s hard to be raw vegan without other like minded people. Anyone want to chat I’m at joyfuljo at gmail. I’m all for ruling out the healthier options to seek out health before dumping drugs in my body. Anyway best wishes for recovery to you all.

    • Doreen

      I would like to know more about a raw vegan diet. Sounds difficult.

    • Javairia

      Hey i have lupus can you let me know of the diet j took?

  7. Rose

    In Texas legal elelespsy only, but I have a son with acute non diabetic Gastroparesis. ALL treatments have failed, including GI implant. He’s lost near 40 pounds in less than a year because he cannot eat. He was born diagnosed “Cyclic Vomiting” a form of brain malfunction. He also has Lupus. He’s 26 yrs old, disabled, . We tried cannabis cooked in a food, IT WORKED. There was no vomiting, and increased ability to eat more than once a day. ONE DOSE did this.
    Second day ONE Dose a marked improvement, so after 26 years of suffering it was a miracle. He had no altered state of mood ( not high)! ONLY a continued marked improvement, unfortunately I couldn’t afford more. The Vagus Nerve I begins in the Brain, one of the largest nerves. How can I get him LEGAL help, it’s a Damaged Cerebral nerve, a form of a seizure that has long reaching horrific effects, MED Marijuana could help avoid a feeding tube and a sense of as best a normal life. This was a last resort, his PCP doc said if he list 39 more pounds he would ” consider” Well my son is 6’4, he’s already lost too much weight, hair loss and now skin changes, Why if this is also a Neurological based condition can he not qualify for Medicinal Marijuana treatment ?? Isn’t 26 years suffering enough ?. Please help me find help… Mom

    • UnitedPatientsGroup.com

      You can get medical cannabis help and guidance from many if you come to California. Please call our offices if you have questions!

  8. Jackie

    I have Lupus. I live in Califonia. I was studying JUICING the plant. How can I have my own personal supply of raw cannabis? Can I buy it from a dispensary raw, or am I able to grow it at home?

  9. June Towne

    I would like to know more about Cannabis I have lupus have had it for ten years now the last two years have been hell for me I have been in flare up now for two months my face hands knees and my kidney has been effected none of the mess I take help I am in pain twenty four seven and can’t stand it anymore I am moving to California in a month I can’t sleep because ,the pain is so bad my hands feet neck is so stiff I have changed my whole life I owned my own daycare business which I had to turn over to my daughter the pain was to much to lift up the babies everyday is a struggle for me . It s like I don’t have a life anymore I am in pain twenty four seven what can I do please help ……. Thank you June Towne

    • Corinne Malanca


      Once you get to California, we are happy to help you! There are specific formultaitons that can help with the symptoms of Lupus. I am so sorry that you are suffering. Please call our office number when you arrive so that we can help you move forward with legal access.

  10. Jayne

    I have been diagnosed with lupus over a year ago I have been on Plaquenil since diagnosed and now my Dr wants to put me on methotrexate because the Plaquenil is no longer helping. My concern is the long term use of a drug that is is a chemotherapy with so many side affects. I want to try cannabis but what I want to know is because of the rapid cell dividing due to the flares of lupus that has been attaching my joints does the cannabis stop that from happening or does it just relieve the inflammation and pain. I really want to try something besides all the prescription drugs that cause so many side effects. Thank you in advance

    • Corinne Malanca

      Hello Jayne,
      Cannabis oils and tinctures can address the symptoms of Lupus but reversing the disease is a question for one of our nurse practitioners. Our general staff does not have a medical background so we are not equipped to answer medicla questions. If you intersted in a consultation, you hcan find our shcduling system here.
      I hope this helps,

  11. Grant


    I have an ulcer in my left eye and would like to know if Cannabis Oil would help in getting rid of it.


    • Corinne Malanca

      Hello Grant,
      This is a question for amedical professional. We have medical staf who consult via phone or Skype. If you would like to schedule an appointment plase feel free to call our offices at 415-524-8099 or click the scheduling system link here.

  12. christina

    I have SLE lupus along with other complications. My husband and I are looking for alternative treatments. What doctors are highly recommended in the Colorado area that treat lupus and use this type of treatment?

    • UPG Staff


      We are unaware of doctors in Colorado who treat Lupus. We have medical staff that consult over the phone or skype on this topic and much more. If you are interested, please click the consultation tab here. If you would like to call our offices to discuss further option our number is 415-524-8099.
      We hope this information helps!

    • Ellen

      There is no medical help in Colorado willing to do anything for lupus nephritis, other than drugs and more drugs, chemo, dialysis and kidney transplant. My 16 year old grandson has just started the chemo infusions after plaquineol only made him worse. His prognosis is horrifying. Go to California where you can get some real help. I thought Colorado was progressive but unless the pharmaceutical companies and the government can make money, it is still a backwards state in regard to CBD oil.

      Best of luck

  13. David J. Levine

    I’ve suffered from SLE for about three years now and I’ve been taking Plaquenil, Immuran and Prednisone for all this time. Besides the side effects from these serious medications, my symptoms are no longer under control and I’ve been on and out of the hospital about a dozen times. Epicardial Effusion requiring heart surgery to drain excess fluid had been the most serious issue so far. I have daily pain and I’ve now lost 35 pounds in 6 weeks due to vomiting and nausea.

    I live in New Jersey and I think medical marijuana is legal, however, I’m not sure of what conditions qualify.

    I have Medicaid insurance, as I’m considered disabled due to SLE. I cannot afford to go out of network or pay the rates that I’ve seen in links posted by the CA doctor in above posts.

    Can anyone suggest a way for me to obtain medical marijuana for symptoms of this horrible disease?

    Thank you,
    Email is: Trickpony at gmail dot com

  14. Emily

    My name iss Emily and I’m 29 years old. I was just recently diagnosed with lupus. About 2 years ago I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which now 2 years later we now.know the lyme brought this autoimmune disorder about in my body. I would like to inquire about cannabis as an option as I am on plaquanil and experience stomach pain and still suffering from the joint pain too. I.have tried marijuana for this during my struggle for the past years and seeing 8 specilists and it gives me extreme relief. I live in Connecticut where it is legal for medical purposes..anyway you can help me start this journey?

    • UPG Staff

      Hello Emily,
      Yes, our medical team offers one hour medical consults to assess your personal condition. They will discuss drug to drug interactions, your past and present condtion, offer you recommended formulation, dosing and potency that best suits your personal body/condition.
      You can find their scheduking system under the consutlation tab on our home page.
      Please feel free to call our offices if you have further questions. 415-524-8099.
      UPG Staff

  15. Andy

    Great article, I’m using CBD Balm now for 3 months and lupus gone!! I suggest you CBD!!

  16. Candie

    Hi, I was diagnosed with SLE / DLE in 2011
    And I have been battling this Disease as day’s go by, I have liver inflammation all the time, had 2 heart strokes,, Damage to my Gallbladder, My right hand side is getting abnormal twisting everyone notices it except my doctor’s, I have been on Metrotraxate 10 pills weekly,, Plaquenill, Methreprazone ,plus many more and I suffer more and more, with pain’s I smoked marijuana 5x and I felt less pain and slept well, I told my Lupus doctor to prescribe me medical marijuana and she said she can’t do it,, I responded your the Director to 4 hospital in the Lupus department and you ain’t allowed to prescribe what your patience need. I really need help in finding how can I go about getting Medical Marijuana in Bronx New York.
    I just found out I also have the possibility of might have Cuada Equino Syndrome which is worst hearing I can stay paralyzed from waist down. It seems my doctors worried more about getting paid than the patience cause for years I have been complaining of my body changes especially with Lincoln Hosputal telling Me on Saturday that I have Scoliosis in top of it all. I’m in need of further information to were I can go to for help in NY. New York

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