We take a look at whether CBD oil can help Sjogren's syndrome. Here's all you need to know about using cannabidiol with this condition. Cannabis CBD eye drops There are at least 113 different cannabinoids that have been isolated from the cannabis plant. The most notable, are THC and CBD. THC exerts its effects by binding to
CBD Oil for Sjogren’s Syndrome [Is It Effective?]
Nowadays, many people see CBD as a miracle cure. It has become a popular remedy for pain, anxiety, seizure disorders, and more.
A quick online search suggests that CBD could even help chronic conditions like Sjogren’s syndrome. However, digging a little deeper reveals that there is little evidence to support many of these claims.
So, what is the truth about CBD oil for Sjogren’s syndrome? Is it really effective, or are companies just cashing in on the latest healthcare craze?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome affects somewhere between 0.1 and 4% of the population. It is a disorder that affects the glands that produce saliva and tears. The main symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome are dry mouth and eyes, although it can cause other problems too.
The condition tends to develop between the ages of 40 and 60. It affects around ten times more women than men.
Sjogren’s Syndrome Symptoms
There is a wide variety of Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms, and they can range from mild to severe.
As a result of dry eyes, Sjogren’s syndrome can cause:
- Burning, itching, or stinging
- A gritty sensation in the eyes
- Red or swollen eyelids
- Sticky eyes on waking in the morning
- Blurred vision
- Sensitivity to light
Dry mouth can cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Altered sense of taste
- Increased risk of dental problems
Furthermore, some (but not all) people with Sjogren’s syndrome also experience:
- Dry, itchy skin
- Vaginal dryness
- Muscle or joint pain
- Swollen salivary glands
- Skin rashes (especially after sun exposure)
What Causes Sjogren’s Syndrome?
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disorder, meaning the immune system becomes overactive and attacks healthy tissue. In the case of Sjogren’s syndrome, it damages the moisture-producing glands of the body.
People with Sjogren’s syndrome often suffer from other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
People with Sjogren’s syndrome often suffer from other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Nobody is sure precisely what causes these conditions. However, most scientists agree that genetics, hormones, and environmental factors are at play.
Traditional Sjogren’s Syndrome Treatments (Not CBD)
There is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome. However, there are treatments to help manage its symptoms, including:
- Artificial tears
- Saliva substitutes
- Emollient creams (to moisturize the skin)
- Vaginal lubricants
- Anti-inflammatory medication (for pain)
People can also minimize symptoms by making some lifestyle adjustments. They include:
- Avoiding dry, smoky or windy environments
- Wearing sunglasses
- Reducing reading or screen time
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Chewing sugar-free gum
- Attending regular optician and dentist appointments
- Avoiding smoking and alcohol
Can CBD Help Sjogren’s Syndrome?
There is currently no research on CBD oil for Sjogren’s syndrome.
Some studies, such as this 2009 review for Future Medicinal Chemistry, suggest that it could help autoimmune disorders in general. It might be especially beneficial for conditions with an inflammatory component, such as arthritis.
CBD influences the production of a number of inflammatory modulators to produce anti-inflammatory effects. It can, therefore, help to relieve pain and may even slow disease progression.
However, when it comes to using CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, things become a little more complicated. This is due to the primary Sjogren’s syndrome symptoms of dry mouth and eyes.
Can CBD Oil Help Dry Mouth?
Many people know that cannabis can cause dry mouth as a side effect. But what about CBD?
Unfortunately for anyone wishing to try CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, the cannabinoid seems to have similar effects. Although many people use CBD without any adverse reactions, a small number of people do experience side effects. One of the most common issues is dry mouth. Let’s take a look at why.
Experts believe that CBD works in several different ways, including increasing levels of a chemical called anandamide.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid and has a range of vital functions in the body. It binds with cell receptors known as CB1 and CB2 to trigger a variety of physiological responses. These receptors exist throughout the body’s tissues, including the salivary glands.
A 2006 study for Experimental Biology and Medicine tested anandamide’s effects on the salivary glands of rats. It found that injecting the compound directly into the rats’ submandibular glands reduced their saliva production.
It is unclear whether people with Sjogren’s syndrome would see similar results, as clinical research is lacking. However, these initial results suggest that CBD is more likely to cause a dry mouth than relieve it.
Is CBD Good for Dry Eyes?
Although it is less common, there are also reports of CBD causing dry eyes. However, there is sparse clinical evidence relating to CBD and dry eyes in Sjogren’s syndrome.
The journal Neurochemical Research featured an interesting piece of research in 2018. It suggested that CBD increases levels of two neurotransmitters, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. Both of these chemicals play a role in tear production.
However, the study focused more on the other effects of these neurotransmitters, such as how they influence wakefulness. It also involved rats rather than humans. Therefore, it is difficult to conclude whether CBD would relieve or aggravate Sjogren’s syndrome-related dry eyes.
It is possible that another component of the cannabis plant could help to relieve dry eyes, though. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain CBD or any other cannabinoids. However, it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which might help lubricate the eyes when taken as a supplement.
A 2013 study for the International Journal of Ophthalmology investigated. It tested the effects of omega-3 supplementation vs. placebo on patients with dry eye symptoms.
It found that, at the 3-month assessment, 65% of symptomatic participants in the omega-3 group experienced relief. The remaining 35% saw moderate improvements. In the placebo group, these figures were 33% and 67%, respectively.
Although the evidence did not apply to Sjogren’s syndrome, specifically, omega-3 fatty acids have many other benefits for health. They are also unlikely to cause dry mouth and eyes, as they do not influence anandamide.
Therefore, it may be that hemp seed oil is more appropriate than CBD for people with Sjogren’s syndrome.
Final Thoughts on CBD Oil for Sjogren’s Syndrome
There is not enough evidence to claim that CBD oil can help Sjogren’s syndrome. In fact, it could make symptoms like dry eyes and mouth worse.
Hemp seed oil may be more suitable as it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which appear to benefit dry eyes. However, research is minimal, and whether it translates to patients with Sjogren’s syndrome remains to be seen.
Anyone wishing to try CBD for Sjogren’s syndrome, or any condition, should discuss their options with a knowledgeable physician first.
Cannabis CBD eye drops
There are at least 113 different cannabinoids that have been isolated from the cannabis plant. The most notable, are THC and CBD.
THC exerts its effects by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors in humans. CBD does not act on the cell wall, but rather inside the cell. It is for this reason that CBD has no addictive potential, no psychoactive activity, no withdrawal, and no toxicity.
CBD has multiple health benefits for insomnia, anxiety, depression, seizures, autism, pain, social anxiety, addiction, and many more. Recent studies show that CBD can also help in the treatment of some eye conditions.
CBD is alleged to be particularly beneficial on the eye due to its neuroprotective effects. Preventing apoptosis of the optic nerve cell can preserve vision, the ultimate goal in the treatment of all diseases of the eye.
The challenge of using a topical cannabis product on the eye
CBD is a natural oil, and as such, is lipophilic. The cornea which is the first layer of the eye is coated with a hydrophilic layer. On a mechanistic level, it is challenging for an oil-based substance to successfully pass through the water-based liquid lining the cornea and penetrate the eye.
One idea that is being investigated is the use of liposomes. Liposomes have hydrophilic heads and hydrophobic tails that line themselves up into a sphere. Current studies have demonstrated that topically applied CBD in a liposomal formulation can successfully penetrate the hydrophilic layer that lines the cornea.
Why use topicals cannabis product when there are other delivery systems available?
Topicals will eliminate all systemic side effects and maximize the dose delivered to the eye.
The problem, as with all topicals, is that less than 5% of any dose delivered reaches the intraocular tissues. The surface of the eye is moistened by fluid which is constantly flushing the surface of the eye and drains out through the lacrimal duct. In addition, any medication administered must first penetrate the hydrophilic layer that coats the cornea and following that, the lipophilic corneal lining.
CBD and corneal abrasions
When the cornea is damaged, there is intense pain due to a dysfunction in the sensory receptors that line the cornea. As a result of the physical disruption from the abrasion, intense inflammation develops. Both THC and CBD can provide analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits, but THC is limited due to its psychoactive effects which may include dysphoria, disruption of short-term memory, cognitive impairments, sense of time distortion, and reduced coordination. CBD however, can provide the analgesic and anti-inflammatory benefits without any psychoactive side effects.
What ultimately causes visual loss and how can cannabinoids prevent it?
Visual loss is caused by ischemia of the optic nerve – which is seen in diabetic retinopathy, or by increased pressure on the optic nerve, essentially crushing the nerve – which is seen in glaucoma.
Cannabinoids decrease ischemia and improve oxygen delivery to the optic nerve by decreasing glutamate release. Glutamate activates NMDA receptors which cause calcium influx into cells, frees radical generation, and subsequent cell death. CBD can prevent the death of nerve cells by scavenging the toxic reactive oxygen radicals released by glutamate activation.
In glaucoma, there is increased intraocular pressure which eventually crushes the optic nerve. Cannabinoids have vasorelaxant properties and as a result, decrease the intraocular pressure by dilating the capillaries thus promoting increased exit flow of the aqueous humor.
What medical benefit does CBD offer that other topical agents do not?
As an example, the most common ocular injury – corneal abrasions, is treated with a myriad of agents which include topical corticosteroids, tricyclic antidepressants, opioids, and agents that stimulate the GABA receptors. All of these pharmacotherapeutic agents are suboptimal and have side effects.
Studies were performed on mice models given experimentally induced corneal surface injuries. When topical CBD was administered, corneal pain and inflammation were reduced via activation of the 5-HT1A receptor. CBD provides adequate pain relief and reduces the inflammation and does so without any of the side effects seen in conventional agents.
CBD & diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the retinal diseases associated with vascular neuroinflammation. It is the leading cause of blindness in the Western world and treatment options are very limited.
Diabetes causes superoxide formation which leads to the release of adenosine and pro-inflammatory cytokines. In preclinical studies, CBD was found to block superoxide formation. CBD produced the antioxidants that reduced the inflammation in the damaged retina of the diabetic.
CBD and dry eyes
The major cause of dry eyes is a dysfunction of the meibomian gland. The meibomian gland is located behind the eyelashes on both the top and lower eyelids. The fatty substance they produce slows the evaporation of the tears. This lack of oil production results in inadequate tear production with the clinical manifestation of dry eyes. CBD applied topically can help restore the function of the meibomian glands and reduce dry eyes.
Another cause of dry eyes is corneal neuralgia – also treated by CBD. In corneal neuralgia, the corneal nerves become dysfunctional and send pain signals to the brain that are out of proportion to the physical insult, if indeed there is any injury at all. The brain perceives the sensation known as ‘dry eyes.’ CBD applied topically eliminates the neuralgia of the pain felt from the dry eyes.
Future research on CBD and Cannabis eye drops
Work is underway to find the best microemulsions and cyclodextrins so that CBD, a lipophilic agent, can penetrate the hydrophilic aqueous fluid that continually washes the surface of the cornea.
Take home points about Cannabis CBD eye drops
Inflammation leads to damage to the cornea, uvea, retina, and ultimately to the optic nerve.
When inflammation is not blocked, it leads to apoptosis of the optic nerve or death of the cell, in other words – blindness.
CBD can address the inflammation and we believe, can help prevent the endpoint of all ocular diseases which is blindness.
About Cannabis GxP consultancy
Cannabis GXP is an Israel-based consultancy firm working within the cannabis industry.
We are currently engaged in revolutionizing the world of cannabis and hemp cultivation, production and regulation, and are reaching out to growers and manufacturers across the world who wants to join this amazing ride.
We are proud to stand at the forefront of the GMP standards and regulation fields in Israel and worldwide.
Our team is compelled to spread the message of the importance of cannabis regulation and standardization as the world enters a new era of cannabis legislation.
We aim to position our clients with their best foot forward when it comes to anything and everything cannabis related.
We assist companies and growers with facility design, Quality Assurance, Good Practices (GAP/GMP/GLP/GDP), training, and dealing with local and global regulation. Cannabis GXP strives to assist our clients with the development, manufacture and distribution of pharma-grade cannabis products, with a strong emphasis on safety, efficacy, and professionalism.
Cannabis GXP is a subsidiary company of Bio-Chem Ltd. (2007) – a consultancy company for Pharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Cosmetics, and Supplements, based in Israel (http://bio-chem.co.il/en/home/)
Some of our esteemed clients: Teva, Tikun Olam, J&J, Weizmann Institute of Science, BOL pharma, Seach, Nuuvera, Gamma-Cert, Cannabillis, Monsanto, Evogene, Collplant, Sigma-Aldrich, and many more.
Our Cannabis consultancy services include:
- Investigational Cannabis product development and clinical trials
- Cannabis growing & manufacturing facilities design
- Cannabis Quality Assurance & Good practices (GxP)
- Cannabis product manufacturing technology
- Cannabis product regulation & FDA/EU submission
- Novel Cannabis APIs and product delivery systems
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“The Cannabinoids Δ 8 THC, CBD, and HU-308 Act via Distinct Receptors to Reduce Corneal Pain and Inflammation.” Cannabis Cannabinoid Res. 2018; 3(1): 11–20.
“Anti–Inflammatory Effects of Cannabinoids in Endotoxin–Induced Uveitis.” Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science May 2005, Vol.46, 972
“Neuroprotective Effect of(−)Δ 9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol and Cannabidiol in N-Methyl-d-Aspartate-Induced Retinal Neurotoxicity: Involvement of Peroxynitrite.” The American Journal of Pathology Volume 163, Issue 5, November 2003, Pages 1997-2008
“Cannabidiol inhibits inducible nitric oxide synthase protein expression and nitric oxide production in β-amyloid stimulated PC12 neurons through p38 MAP kinase and NF-κB involvement.” Neuroscience Letters Volume 399, Issues 1–2, 15 May 2006, Pages 91-95
“Turning down the thermostat: modulating the endocannabinoid system in ocular inflammation and pain.” Front Pharmacol. 2016;7:304