How can Cannabis help Arthritis?
Arthritis is a very common ailment, affecting 50 million adults worldwide. It is also often misunderstood. The term arthritis refers to over 100 different types of joint pain or disease, and while it is most common among older people, arthritis is a problem for people of all ages and demographics. In severe cases, arthritis can be debilitating and cause irreversible damage to joints.
The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis, caused by the degeneration of the cartilage that cushions bones. This loss of cartilage results in bones making direct contact with one another, which can be very painful and cause swelling. Another common form of arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder that causes uncontrolled inflammation in the joints, damaging them over time.
Inflammation caused by arthritis is commonly treated with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs known as NSAIDs. Arthritis sufferers are also often prescribed opiates like Percocet and Vicodin to manage joint pain. Steroids like cortisone are also commonly prescribed to combat inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis.
People have been using cannabis to relieve pain for centuries, and there is increasing scientific evidence to support anecdotal evidence that marijuana is an effective tool in fighting chronic pain. In Canada, 65% of individuals using medical cannabis do so to fight arthritis pain, and there is empirical evidence to support its effectiveness. In one study, researchers concluded that cannabinoids can attach to nerve receptors in joints and prevent them from sending pain signals to the brain. Another study is currently underway by a researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax that is investigating the possibility that medical marijuana may actually be able to repair arthritic joints as well as relieve pain. The study has been funded by the Arthritis Society and approved by Health Canada: a sign that the medical community is beginning to increasingly recognize cannabis as a legitimate alternative to other pharmaceutical options which can be harmful over time and may carry a risk of dependence. As well as funding studies, the Arthritis Society provides patients with a wealth of information on accessing medical marijuana, as well as anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of marijuana as an arthritis treatment. Although their official stance is that they “do not support or endorse medical cannabis,” their website contains a great deal of resources about how arthritis sufferers can access cannabis as a treatment option, and they have partnered with medical marijuana producers to fund future studies on the subject. It is important to note, too, that cannabis can be used safely in conjunction with other pain medications, and can be an effective way of slowly phasing out opiate painkillers for arthritis patients. According to Newsweek, states in the US which provide legal access to medical marijuana see 25% less opiate-related deaths than in states without medical marijuana programs.
For those who experience arthritis pain, there are a number of treatment options involving cannabis. The most obvious is smoking or vaporizing, which provides many people with the relief they need. Some strains are better than others at managing pain; try out Girl Scout Cookies or Pink Bubba Kush. Both buds and concentrates are effective. Just ask the staff at the counter to point you in the direction of a good pain-relieving strain.
For those patients looking for something a little different, there are a number of alternatives to smoking or vaping that are equally effective in relieving arthritis symptoms. We sell cannabis-infused topicals specifically for arthritis sufferers. Something to consider when using cannabis topicals is that many patients report that it takes a few applications before they begin to experience relief, so keep applying it until you see results. There are also cannabis-infused massage oils, bath bombs and suppositories, all of which can help with pain management for all kinds of ailments, including arthritis.
Edible marijuana products are another great alternative to smoking, and there have never been more options. From cannabis tinctures to THC capsules to weed-infused beverages, ingesting cannabis can come in almost any form. And with a little effort, you can prepare your own cannabis so you can cook up all kinds of edibles at home! And if you don’t always see the psychoactive effects of cannabis as a positive, there are lots of edible products that contain very low levels of THC (the active psychoactive ingredient in pot) but lots of CBD, a compound also found in cannabis that has pain-relieving qualities but won’t get you high!
With research making advancements and lots of new products becoming available, more and more people are finding relief for their arthritis symptoms through cannabis. Come into Wealth and we’ll find something to fit your needs.