Doctors of Natural Medicine

Medical Marijuana and Arthritis: A Solution for the Pain

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Can marijuana help arthritis? To answer this question, we would like to give some background information. While many of us think of arthritis as being one specific ailment, there are over 100 types of arthritic conditions. According to the Arthritis Foundation, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting more than 50 million adults and 300 000 children.

Women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men, and it occurs more often in older people.

There are four different types of arthritis:

  • Degenerative arthritis comes from bone-on-bone contact in the joints, causing stiffness and pain;
  • Inflammatory arthritis occurs when the joints erode, and inflammation sets in;
  • Infectious arthritis happens when a virus or bacteria enters the joints;
  • Metabolic arthritis results when uric acid builds up and forms crystals in the joints.

Lifestyle factors are important when treating arthritis; stress and poor diet can cause inflammation in the body, causing arthritic flare-ups. Traditional medications such as NSAIDs are also available, yet they can be hard on the stomach.

In recent years, doctors around the world have seen success in using medical cannabis for arthritis pain.

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Medicinal Marijuana for Arthritis

Does Marijuana help arthritis? Medical professionals in many countries already use medicinal cannabis for arthritis pain. In Canada, medical cannabis has been part of arthritis treatment since 2001. The European Congress of Rheumatology in Spain has declared medical cannabis to be a common treatment for arthritis pain.

Of the active ingredients in the cannabis plant, CBD is the most common for arthritis pain. Unlike THC, it has no psychoactive effects, although it may cause some drowsiness. Most CBD comes from hemp, which is a type of cannabis with only very small traces of THC.

In a 2019 study of 1059 patients with arthritis, 46% of those surveyed had been prescribed CBD for rheumatoid arthritis. Other common conditions treated with CBD included osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and psoriatic arthritis.

Why is CBD considered so effective for arthritis pain?

Both CBD and THC, the active ingredients in marijuana, are known to treat inflammation. But research has also shown that cannabinoid receptors in human bone can heal bone tissue. Which means medical marijuana can actually regenerate bone growth.

Many animal studies have shown promising results for using CBD to treat arthritic pain. Cannabidiol studies have shown it effective for controlling canine arthritis. Studies have also found it useful for relieving arthritis pain in rats.

Is medical marijuana good for arthritis for humans? In human patients who have used CBD for arthritis, many have reported pain relief. Medical cannabis has also helped them with both anxiety and helped to improve sleep. Studies from around the world have shown excellent preliminary results, and research is ongoing.

Elderly woman seeks medical marijuana for arthritis pain

How Safe is Medical Marijuana

To date, there are no serious documented concerns about using CBD in moderate doses. However, it may interact with other arthritis medications. Always talk to your doctor before trying medical marijuana or any other drug. If you would like to speak to a state-certified Medical Marijuana Doctor, consider booking an appointment with us today.

As with any drug, some people can experience side effects with medical marijuana. While rare and not usually severe, side effects of medical marijuana can include:

  • Dry mouth and/or eyes;
  • Dizziness or drowsiness;
  • Fatigue;
  • Headache;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Hallucinations or paranoia

Medical cannabis for arthritis

Taking the First Step

If you’re interested in trying medical marijuana for arthritis, talk to your doctor. When used in combination with lifestyle factors such as a low-inflammation diet and stress management, CBD can be a remarkably effective addition to your arthritis treatment plan.

On our blog, you can also read about the usage of medical marijuana for pain.

Author: J.P. Carrol

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