Medical Marijuana For Arthritis: Does It Work?
Arthritis—characterized by joint pain, swelling and stiffness—is a very common disease with over 100 different types.
When someone is diagnosed with arthritis, their treatment will be focused on pain management. Unfortunately, some of the medication doctors prescribe can have serious side effects.
Whether you have osteoarthritis (OA) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), cannabis may help you control your discomfort and inflammation with fewer side effects. In fact, about two-thirds of Canadians who use medical marijuana do so to treat their arthritis symptoms, according to the Arthritis Society.
Does Medical Marijuana Work For Arthritis?
Research on marijuana and arthritis specifically is still in its early phases. However, medical marijuana has well-documented painkilling and anti-inflammatory effects; two characteristics that can be helpful to arthritis patients.
Dr. Jason McDougal, a Dalhousie University researcher, is also studying whether cannabis can repair arthritic joints. While the study is still underway, he told CBC that it appears that marijuana is not just reducing pain but also working on the actual joint.
Cannabis For Arthritis Pain Relief
A review of research concluded that there was high-quality evidence to support the notion that cannabis can treat chronic pain.
Research on how cannabis treats arthritis pain specifically is still ongoing. However, one study using a cannabis-based medicine found that the drug had significant pain-relieving effects. In addition, following treatment, participants’ disease activity was suppressed.
More research has suggested that cannabis products can provide relief to those suffering from knee joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.
Cannabis For Arthritis Inflammation
Apart from reducing pain, cannabis can also treat arthritis with its anti-inflammatory effects. Several studies have documented this benefit.
A 2014 study found that CB2 receptors were present in high levels in the joint tissue of arthritic patients. Since marijuana activates CB2 receptor pathways, the drug can help manage inflammation.
If you’d prefer not to have the psychoactive effects, or the “high,” from cannabis, you could also try CBD-based medication. Unlike THC, CBD is non-psychoactive and safe to use while at work or driving. One study showed that CBD had a potent anti-arthritic effect on mice with collagen-induced arthritis.
How To Use Medical Marijuana For Arthritis
If you want to try medical marijuana to treat your arthritis, you’ll need to talk to a qualified doctor first. He or she can help you choose a strain of marijuana that will be most beneficial for your condition. If you have a preference for a CBD-based (non-psychoactive) medication, mention that during your consultation. Based on your condition, your doctor can provide you with a prescription that outlines the appropriate daily dose.
Your doctor may recommend a variety of medical marijuana products to treat your arthritis, including:
- Dried medical marijuana (which can be vaporized or smoked)
- Marijuana tinctures (which can be taken by placing a few drops under your tongue)
- Edibles (medical marijuana-infused foods)
- Cannabis-based topicals (which can be rubbed into the skin)
Are you interested in trying medical marijuana for your arthritis? You can start by scheduling an appointment with us here. For more information about how we may be able to help you relieve your pain, contact us here.