Around 24 percent of adults in the United States have arthritis. This disease can be debilitating and very painful, and sometimes traditional methods of treatment don’t work.
But for centuries, cannabis has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes. In recent years studies have shown that cannabis might be an effective treatment for various conditions. This includes arthritis and inflammation.
Keep reading as we discuss how cannabis can help treat various forms of arthritis and inflammation.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injury or infection. It is a complex process that involves the release of inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and histamines, from immune cells. These mediators cause the blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow to the site of injury or infection.
This increased blood flow brings white blood cells and other immune cells to the site of injury or infection. The white blood cells help to remove bacteria and other foreign invaders from the body. The inflammatory response also helps to promote healing by increasing the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the injured area.
There are many different factors that can lead to inflammation. One of the most common causes of inflammation is tissue damage. This can occur due to physical trauma, such as a cut or scrape, or due to chemical irritation, such as exposure to an irritant substance.
Inflammation can also be the result of infections, either viral, bacterial, or fungal. Autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, are another common cause of inflammation.
In these conditions, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissues, leading to inflammation. Allergies are another type of immunologic disorder that can cause inflammation. Allergic reactions occur when the body overreacts to a harmless substance, such as dust or pollen.
What Causes Arthritis?
There are many different causes of arthritis, but the most common is inflammation. Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body heal and protect itself from infection. However, when it becomes chronic, it can lead to joint damage and pain.
Arthritis is often treated with anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or steroids. However, these drugs can have serious side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers. Cannabis has been shown to be an effective alternative to these drugs in treating arthritis pain and inflammation.
The Different Types of Arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis, each with its own set of symptoms and causes. The most common types are osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis and it’s caused by the wear and tear of joint cartilage. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the joints. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of range of motion in the joints.
Psoriatic arthritis is a type of arthritis that occurs in people with psoriasis. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and loss of range of motion in the joints.
The Impact of Arthritis and Inflammation
Arthritis is the leading cause of work disability in the United States, affecting more than 58 million adults. The condition’s caused by inflammation of the joints, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Inflammation is a natural process that helps the body heal from injuries and fight off infections. However, when it becomes chronic, it can damage healthy tissue and lead to a host of health problems, including arthritis.
Cannabis is an effective treatment for both arthritis and inflammation. In one study, researchers found that CBD, a compound found in cannabis, was able to reduce inflammation and signs of pain in mice with arthritis. CBD was also found to be effective in reducing joint destruction and pain associated with arthritis.
Other studies completed on humans also showed promising results.
Another study found that THC, another compound found in cannabis, was able to reduce pain and improve function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Cannabis has also been shown to be effective in treating other forms of inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis make it an intriguing option for treating arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. While there’s a need for more research to determine the full extent of its efficacy, early studies suggest that cannabis may be a safe and effective treatment for these conditions.
Can Cannabis Cure Arthritis and Inflammation?
Cannabis has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation and pain in a wide variety of medical conditions, both chronic and acute. This natural remedy was historically used to treat a wide variety of chronic afflictions such as:
- Carpal tunnel
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal cord compression
- Multiple sclerosis
Anecdotal reports claim that cannabis can also help with more acute inflammatory conditions such as:
However, it cannot cure them, it can simply help reduce the symptoms.
Researchers believe that the anti-inflammatory effects of marijuana get mediated by the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is a network of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the body. When these receptors get activated by cannabinoids (such as CBD and THC), they help to modulate the body’s inflammatory response.
In animal studies, CBD has the potential to reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (small proteins that play a role in cell signaling). THC is also thought to have anti-inflammatory effects, although its mechanism of action is not fully understood.
A growing body of scientific evidence supports the use of cannabis in the treatment of inflammation and pain. In one study, rats with arthritis were treated with CBD for 21 days.
The rats showed significant reductions in joint swelling and pain compared to the control group. Another study found that Sativex (a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD), was effective in reducing pain and improving sleep quality in 58% of patients with rheumatic arthritis.
What Symptoms of Arthritis and Inflammation Does Medical Marijuana Help With?
There are many different symptoms of arthritis and inflammation, and medical marijuana can help with many of them. The two main active ingredients in cannabis, THC and CBD, are both effective at reducing inflammation.
THC is the psychoactive ingredient that gets people high, while CBD is non-psychoactive and does not have any intoxicating effects. Both THC and CBD have the potential to help with reducing pain, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation.
One of the most common symptoms of arthritis is joint pain. Cannabis has been shown to be effective at reducing joint pain and inflammation.
Cannabis has also been shown to be effective at improving sleep quality in patients with arthritis. Cannabis is thought to improve sleep quality by helping to reduce pain and inflammation.
In addition to reducing pain and improving sleep, cannabis has also been shown to be effective at reducing inflammation. Many studies show promising results for using CBD and THC together to reduce inflammation.
Reduce Anxiety and Depression
Finally, cannabis has been shown to be effective at reducing anxiety and depression in patients with arthritis. Around one in five adults with arthritis also have depression or anxiety. A study published in the Frontier Journal of Psychiatry showed that cannabis has the potential to help with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
The Entourage Effect of Cannabis and CBD
The entourage effect is the combined effect of cannabinoids and other compounds in cannabis. CBD and other cannabinoids work together to provide relief from inflammation and pain.
The entourage effect is believed to be responsible for the therapeutic benefits of cannabis. Cannabis contains over 100 different cannabinoids, including CBD, THC, CBN, and CBG.
Each cannabinoid has unique properties that contribute to the overall efficacy of cannabis. The entourage effect is thought to increase the therapeutic benefits of cannabis while reducing negative side effects.
How to Safely Use Medical Marijuana as Part of a Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Cannabis has been shown to be effective in treating arthritis and inflammation. However, it is important to use cannabis safely as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Here are some tips on how to do so:
- Work with your doctor to create a treatment plan that includes medical marijuana.
- Make sure you understand the risks and benefits of using cannabis before you start using it.
- Start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed.
- Be aware of possible side effects of using cannabis, such as dry mouth, dizziness, and fatigue.
- Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while under the influence of cannabis.
- Store cannabis products in a safe place, out of reach of children and pets.
- Consume cannabis responsibly, and do not share your products with others.
- Be mindful of local laws regarding the use of cannabis.
Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or questions about using medical marijuana as part of your treatment plan.
Who Shouldn’t Use Cannabis for Arthritis and Inflammation?
There are a few groups of people who should avoid using cannabis for treating arthritis and inflammation. These groups include:
- Pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding
- People with a history of substance abuse
- People with certain mental health conditions (such as schizophrenia)
- People with a family history of mental illness
- Children and adolescents
- People on certain medications
If you’re interested in using cannabis to treat the symptoms of arthritis and inflammation, consult a doctor first to make sure it’s the best course of action for you.
How to Get a Prescription for Medical Marijuana for Arthritis and Inflammation
If you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, you may be wondering how to get a prescription for it. Here is a guide on how to do just that.
Consult With Your Doctor
The first step is to consult with your doctor. Make sure to let them know all of the other medications and treatments you have tried for your arthritis and why you want to try medical marijuana. Your doctor will then need to fill out and submit an application to the state’s medical marijuana program.
Obtain Your Medical Marijuana Card
Once your application has been approved, you will be able to obtain a medical marijuana card. This card will allow you to purchase cannabis from a dispensary. When purchasing cannabis, make sure to ask the budtender for strains that are high in CBD as this compound has shown to be effective in reducing inflammation.
Start Low and Go Slow
Start with a low dose and increase gradually as needed. It is also important to note that smoking cannabis is not recommended as it can irritate the lungs. Instead, opt for methods such as vaporizing or using cannabis-infused topicals.
Monitor Your Symptoms
It is important to monitor how you feel when taking cannabis. Start a journal to track how different doses affect your symptoms and overall mood. Keep in mind that everyone’s body reacts differently, so what works for one individual may not work for another.
Address Your Arthritis and Inflammation With a Medical Marijuana Prescription
The evidence is clear that cannabis can have a positive effect on inflammation and arthritis. While there’s a need for more research to understand exactly how it works, the available data suggests that it could be an effective option in treating these conditions.
Cannabis has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It’s worth exploring if you’re looking for alternatives to traditional treatments. With its wide range of potential benefits, cannabis may prove to be the key to helping people with arthritis and inflammation find relief from their symptoms.
Are you ready to try cannabis to address your arthritis and inflammation? Teleleaf is here to help you get started. Sign up for an account today to start talking with a doctor about obtaining a medical marijuana card.