Medical Research

Does CBD’s Immune Suppressive Effects Have Any Benefits For Sjogren’s?

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Cannabidiol has been implicated in the management of several medical conditions. Even though it lacks affinity for both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, it has shown potential as a regulator of the immune system through different mechanisms.

When it comes to Sjogren’s, there are no studies directly linking the condition to CBD. However, that does not rule out potential benefits of CBD in relieving some of the persistent symptoms of the condition.

Sjogren’s is an auto-immune system disorder that is characterized by persistent dryness of the mouth and eyes. This comes about as mucous membranes in your eyes and mouth dry out.

Initially, these are symptoms that can be easily written off or relieved by over the counter medications. But over time the symptoms may become more severe and persistent. New symptoms may include vaginal dryness, skin rashes, joint inflammation, insomnia, and excess fatigue.

Like most other autoimmune conditions, there is no known cure for Sjogrens syndrome. The aetiology is also unclear, but middle-aged women have a higher risk for developing it.

Consequently, treatment is usually focused on symptom control.

Traditional treatment for Sjogren’s includes the use of over the counter pain medications, anti-inflammatories, eye drops, antifungals for mouth infection, hydroxychloroquine, and methotrexate to suppress the exaggerated immune response.

When it comes to symptom control, CBD could offer several benefits especially as an immune supressing agent.

Patients with Sjogrens who have trouble falling asleep can use CBD to relax and promote restful sleep. With restful sleep, Sjogren sufferers are likely to be less fatigued and this will increase their productivity.

In one study CBD was shown to suppress both innate and adaptive immune responses. [1] CBD reduces the levels of cytokines which are molecules that trigger the inflammatory process. This is called the “endocannabinoidome” phenomenon and describes the interaction between the immune system and the endocannabinoid system.

While the mechanisms through which CBD affects the immune system are diverse, the end result is the same. The suppression of the immune system is likely to suppress auto immune diseases such as Sjogren’s.

In a different study methotrexate was administered to patients with SS and this resulted in improvement in symptoms such as dry eyes, dry mouth, dry cough, and purpura. [2]

As mentioned earlier, there is a dearth of scientific evidence linking CBD and Sjogrens. However, it would be interesting to know whether CBD can be compared to methotrexate or other medications that have shown effectiveness in treating the condition.


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  1. James M. Nichols and Barbara L.F. Kaplan. (2020). Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Vol 5, Issue 1. 12-31.

  1. Skopouli, F. N., Jagiello, P., Tsifetaki, N., & Moutsopoulos, H. M. (1996). Methotrexate in primary Sjögren’s syndrome. Clinical and experimental rheumatology, 14(5), 555–558.

About the author

Lydia Kariuki