May is Lupus Awareness Month and people all around the country are rallying, canvassing, and encouraging conversation. An autoimmune disorder, lupus can attack the kidneys, brain, nervous system, and even cause coronary artery disease. Cases range from mid to life-threatening, and there is no way to predict who will get it. Some who get it even develop terminal illness such as cancer. Ninety percent of lupus patients are women, and of those women the majority are women of color. When one has lupus, this can come along with several prescription medications that also compromise quality of health. Unfortunately, there is no cure currently for lupus, although it can be treated, and one of the best treatments is cannabis.
Pain and inflammation are commonplace for lupus patients. Day in and day out they may have trouble with joints, muscles, even organs. So for many, the pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties in cannabis provide much needed relief. A New Jersey based mother said that she had been in “too much pain to put on her pants” when describing her state of health while facing lupus.
DOPE Magazine spoke with Amber Senter, a lupus patient and educator, cannabis as medicine advocate, and business owner. Senter works with the Lupus Foundation spreading awareness, fundraising and educating the public about lupus and by extension its treatment options through cannabis. Senter also founded her own edibles company Leisure Life alongside a hash infused pre-roll company California Rolls.
She herself has lupus, and uses cannabis to treat her symptoms: “I started smoking weed when I was eighteen. I was really sick as a teenager and they kind of thought I had lupus, but they left my diagnosis inconclusive. I really struggled when I was going through puberty and everything and then when I hit eighteen I started smoking pot and a lot of the issues I was dealing with ended up going away. I didn’t really correlate my relief to cannabis until I got older. I just knew when I started smoking weed I didn’t have any problems for a couple of years.”
Senter attributes her professional achievements and ability to keep going to her cannabis use. “I am a very busy entrepreneur; not only am I director of Supernova Women, I also have my edibles company, my pre-roll company, and I’m also a special projects coordinator for Ardent which is a little decarboxylation machine on the east coast so I do a lot of stuff and I always attribute all of it to cannabis because if I didn’t have cannabis as medicine there would be no way I could do any of this: I would just be way too fucked up.”
She uses all manner of treatments herself such as capsules, topicals, oil, and flower, and advocates for patients to try a wide variety of products to find the correct relief. The side effects of smoking cannabis are far less than those of pharmaceuticals, and less expensive. Thanks to individuals like Senter, patients are now finding safer, happier relief. Which is more important than anything. As she puts it: “I don’t have time to be sick, I gotta go.”
If you’d like to learn more about treating lupus with cannabis go to the Lupus Foundation of Northern California Facebook page where you can find live videos from experts.