Does Medical Marijuana Help Relieve Arthritis
Arthritis is a condition thats characterized by joint pain. There are multiple types of arthritis, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being some of the most common.
If youre struggling with symptoms of arthritis, such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, medical marijuana could work for you. While medical marijuana isnt a cure for arthritis, it can be used to help patients achieve relief from their symptoms. For people with arthritis, cannabis makes for less pain, less inflammation, and better sleep.
Rheumatoid Arthritis And Cannabis
How Medical Marijuana Can Play a Part in Your Treatment Plan
Rheumatoid arthritis is a difficult disease to cope with for those who suffer from it. The pain that RA patients experience in their joints can vary from person to person, but most say their RA pain greatly affects their lives. Theres no cure for RA, but physical therapy and various medications can be prescribed to help slow the diseases progression. These medications, along with cannabis, are a few tools that physicians may use to help RA patients achieve a better quality of life.
What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
In a healthy person, the immune system fights off bacteria and viruses. Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system begins attacking healthy body tissue. A patient with RA has an immune system that misfires, sending antibodies to the lining of the joints, where they attack the surrounding tissue that protects the joint.
A thin layer of cells called synovium covers joints. In RA patients, these cells react, becoming sore and inflamed. The reaction releases chemicals that damage nearby bones, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. If left untreated, these chemicals gradually cause the joint to lose its shape and alignment and can destroy the joint completely.
What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How Do I Know If I Have Rheumatoid Arthritis?
How Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated?
How Might Medical Marijuana Help?
RA Patients in Ohio
What Should Patients And Caregivers Know
- Medicinal cannabis should be part of an overall pain management plan that includes non-pharmacological treatment options such as exercise and psychosocial support.35
- Start low and go slow, until the desired effect is achieved.
- Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic time period, such as reducing your arthritic knee pain to allow you to walk for 15 minutes with two weeks of starting treatment. You can adjust your goals if you see improvement.35
- If you have rheumatoid arthritis, do not stop taking your regular medicines that may be protecting your joints from future damage if you plan to start taking medicinal cannabis. Discuss any changes with your health professional.35
You May Like: Can Cracking Your Fingers Cause Arthritis
Eight Things Rheumatologists Should Know About Medical Marijuana
How should rheumatologists respond to demands for medical marijuana, either from legislatures or directly from patients? Here from a knowledgeable source are 8 reasons why the medical and scientific evidence weighs heavily against it, especially in rheumatology.
1. Marijuana is the dried leaves and flowers of the plant Cannabis sativa that contains over 450 different compounds. Two of these, THC and cannabidiol, are of greatest interest at present.
Medicinal and psychoactive properties have been attributed to flowering plants of the genus Cannabis for thousands of years, but herbal cannabis remains mostly outside mainstream medicine. Its clinical status is prejudiced by the fact that 4% of the global population uses marijuana as a recreational drug.At least 70 of the 450 compounds in the plant Cannabis sativa are classified as phytocannabinoids, but the therapeutic effects of these molecules are not yet fully understood.1 Two are of particular significance to medicine: Tetrahydrocannabinol , produced by the action of heat on the acid precursor of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol , is known for its psychoactive and pain-relieving properties. Cannabidiol has potential therapeutic application due to its effect on immunological function and its potential to counteract the negative psychoactive effects of THC.
2. Receptors that engage cannabinoid molecules are ubiquitous throughout the human body.
1) Synthetic tricyclic terpenes 2
Donât Miss: Arthritis Sores
Are You Noticing Symptoms Of Arthritis
Arthritis is a pain or inflammation in your joints that occur over time, or in some cases, suddenly, especially if you were involved in an accident or suffered an injury. Otherwise if you have Osteoarthritis, wear and tear is the most common reason we may notice signs of arthritis.
Our cartilage, the tissue covering the end of our bones at the joint, begins to break down. If you have Rheumatoid arthritis, it means your immune system is attacking your body tissue surrounding your joints. Scientists have yet to discover why this happens.
The most common symptoms include:
- Joint tenderness or stiffness
When you have arthritis, what used to be considered an easy task is now considered difficult like bending over to pick something up, walking down a few stairs, taking the dog for a walk, or even just opening a jar. More than anything, it can frustrating knowing you used to be able to do those things. But it doesnt have to stay that way.
In order to qualify for a Utah medical marijuana card for RA:
You must be a legal Utah resident You must obtain a physicians recommendation You must register with the Utah Department of Health and pay the $15 application fee
The first step is to apply online. Then you must meet with a medical provider who is authorized in the state of Utah to recommend cannabis. While telemedicine evaluations are available for repeat visits, your initial evaluation must be completed in person.
Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Arthritis In Fingers
Patients Used Marijuana Or Cbd To Treat A Host Of Different Symptoms
Managing arthritis isnt just about treating pain or swelling. Patient surveyed reporting using marijuana or CBD to treat many different symptoms and side effects of living with arthritis, including:
- Physical function
The vast majority of arthritis patients who reported using marijuana or CBD said it helped their symptoms: 97% of people who tried marijuana said it improved symptoms 93% of people who tried CBD said it improved symptoms.
Medical Cannabis For Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
Themedical consensus among RA experts is that conventional treatment with disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs is the best course of action to decrease the risk of long-term joint damage and complications from RA.Preliminary studies, however, point to the possible efficacy of cannabis-based medicine as a complement to conventional treatment.
You May Like: What Can Be Done For Arthritis In The Neck
Best Ways To Consume Cannabis For Rheumatoid Arthritis
Medical cannabis administration routes used for rheumatoid arthritis include smoking or vaping, consuming edibles or tinctures , applying a topical gel and using oromucosal extracts.
For immediate relief from arthritic pain, you should smoke or vaporize cannabis.
You could also try using a topical product, which you can rub onto your swollen and painful joints. This was shown to be successful in rat arthritis models. Transdermal application of CBD led to a reduction in joint swelling and entrance of immune cells into the tissue around the joints. An additional benefit of topical products is that they wont cause gastrointestinal side effects that can occur from oral consumption. But keep in mind that topical products will take longer to impact than smoking.
If you are not in too much pain, you could also consume edibles. Like topical products, edibles are relatively slow-acting. However, they can still be powerful and have a long-lasting effect, which could be more appealing to people suffering from chronic pain . Many people choose tinctures over edibles, as they can have powerful effects, but not quite as powerful as edibles, and have a quicker onset time in comparison as well.
Oromucosal extracts of a cannabis-based medicine tested in people with rheumatoid arthritis also significantly decreased disease activity.
Can Cbd Cream Actually Help With Pain
As it turns out, topical CBD products may offer some anti-inflammatory properties to help alleviate pain through cannabinoid receptors within the skin. These receptors are a part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS, that governs functions such as our ability to process pain, as well as inflammation, mood, and sleep. The cannabis plant contains phytocannabinoids like CBD that interact with our ECS, which is why hemp has therapeutic properties.
CBD has been shown in clinical studies to help with pain-specific medical conditions including chronic pain, peripheral neuropathy, pain and inflammation, arthritis pain, and myofascial pain. Cannabinoids can also help improve pain in patients receiving palliative care. A 2020 cross-sectional study found that nearly 25% of outpatient palliative care patients use CBD, with topical application being the most common form used.
RELATED: Every Question You Have About CBDâAnswered
Read Also: What’s Good For Arthritis In The Back
Medical Marijuana For Arthritis: A Natural Cure
Research on the efficacy of medical marijuana as a treatment for different diseases is still ongoing. Most of the trials and experiments on its effectiveness are still in the pre-clinical phase.
It follows, therefore, that although there are some marijuana products in the market, they have not received FDAs approval to be used for medical purposes, and they are considered to be dietary supplements.
A study conducted by Creaky Joints, an arthritis awareness organization, shows that as many as 57% of all arthritis patients in the united states may have used medical marijuana for arthritis pain.
These are people who may have smoked marijuana in its raw form and those who used marijuana extracts in the form of CBD oil, gummies, and capsules or took it in another form such as vaping.
Out of the people who indicated to have used the supplement, 90% stated that it had helped them reduce the symptoms, especially the pain. The scientific jury is still out on whether medical marijuana can be the ultimate natural cure for arthritis, but there is little doubt that it helps.
How Do I To Take Cannabis For Arthritis
There is limited evidence regarding which dosage form or dose of medicinal cannabis is most effective for treating pain from arthritis.
A 2013 study compared the effects of smoked cannabis to oral dronabinol 20 mg for reducing pain. Both products similarly decreased pain sensitivity and increased pain tolerance compared to placebo. The effects of dronabinol were longer lasting.30
A 2018 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of 250500 mg twice daily transdermal synthetic CBD gel for the treatment of knee pain due to osteoarthritis in adults over a period of 12 weeks.
The responder endpoint showed statistically significant differences between treatment and placebo. Both doses were well tolerated.31
Everyone reacts to medicinal cannabis differently. The recommendation is to start low and go slow. Adjust the dose depending on how your body reacts. This should be adjusted slowly over a period of as much as two weeks.
Start with just a small amount of CBD in sublingual form twice a day. If pain relief is inadequate after 1 week, increase the dose by that same amount, going up in small increments over several weeks. If pain relief is adequate, continue with the dose twice daily to maintain a stable level of cannabis in your blood.14
The correct dose is the lowest dose that gives you the most pain relief from your arthritis without associated side effects.32
You May Like: What Is The Best Diet For Arthritis
Final Thoughts About Cannabis As A Treatment For Arthritis
Medical marijuana is only now coming into the light in regards to its therapeutic benefits. We have heard many stories about how it is helping people with their day to day conditions. One of those conditions is arthritis. Share your experience with us by commenting below or tell your story on our Facebook post.
Medical Studies On Cannabis And Rheumatoid Arthritis
Cannabis has been used to treat pain for thousands of years. There are broadly two equally important aims in RA treatment. The first is to control inflammation and prevent irreversible damage to the body this is known as disease-modifying treatment. The other aim is to improve symptoms, especially pain and quality of life. THC and CBD, the main components of medical cannabis, have different effects on the ECS and therefore play different roles in achieving these goals. Nonetheless it is also thought that THC and CBD may have a synergistic effect . This entourage effect is an advantage in medical cannabis that is not currently seen with the synthetic preparations.
One study has shown that ingestion of medical cannabis in humans . In studies using animal models CBD has also been shown to reduce antibody levels.
Different studies have also examined the effects of treatment with cannabinoids in arthritis in mouse models. CBD and synthetic cannabinoids that activated the CB2 receptor all reduced the arthritis severity and the amount of inflammation and musculoskeletal damage.
Read Also: What Are Early Signs Of Psoriatic Arthritis
How Medical Marijuana Help With Arthritis Treatment
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention , around 23% of American adults have doctor-diagnosed arthritis. For effective treatment, the world is turning to medical marijuana.
This data also shows disparities in genderwith higher age-adjusted incidences recorded among women as compared to men . Also, the records show the prevalence of arthritis increases with age.
The Push To Productize Pot
Nicole S., from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is an advocate for medical marijuana, particularly for pain, nausea, and muscle spasms. doesnt have the side effects of other drugs. It is cleaner and more natural for our bodies to process, she said.
Some doctors agree that cannabis could reduce patients reliance on other pharmaceutical drugs, such as opioid painkillers. Marijuana not only has important analgesic properties, but it also is an effective and important adjuvant therapy for patients suffering acute and/or chronic pain, Dr. Harvey Rose, a longtime advocate for chronic pain patients, told Americans for Safe Access
Because of the interest medical and patient communities have expressed, major pharmaceutical companies such as AbbVie are trying to capitalize on medical marijuana by developing cannabis-based products.
One of the first companies to go after this emerging market was British pharmaceutical giant GW. The company developed nabiximols , a cannabinoid mouth spray for people with cancer pain and multiple sclerosis that is currently awaiting FDA approval. Sativex was also evaluated for its effectiveness on rheumatoid arthritis .
According to a January 2006 article published in the journal Rheumatology, Sativex produced statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep In the first ever controlled trial of a in RA, disease activity was significantly suppressed following Sativex treatment.
You May Like: What Is Arthritis In The Knee Called
How Can Marijuana Help
Pain management: Marijuana being able to help with the management of pain is not a far-fetched proposition. This ability becomes clear when considered with an understanding of the endocannabinoid system and its interaction with the phytocannabinoids found in marijuana. Marijuana lotions for arthritis may be applied externally for pain management.
Reduction of Anxiety: Besides the management of pain, arthritis causes a person who has it mental anguish due to uncertainty and the limitations it imposes on them. If the anxiety a patient experience is not adequately managed, it may morph into depression.
Depression and arthritis are both among the biggest causes of disability in the United States, and a co-morbidity that involves the two of them is almost certain to ground a person.
THC and CBD have both been known to reduce anxiety in a person by inducing relaxation and releasing hormones such as dopamine, that increase a persons level of happiness.
Reduction of Inflammation: Other than reducing pain, marijuana helps the body reduce inflammation. This helps reduce the effects of arthritis considerably since, in many cases, arthritis is an inflammation.
You can apply a medical marijuana cream for arthritis on the affected joints for reduced inflammation. While it reduces inflammation, there, no evidence that .
What Is Medical Marijuana Useful For
Although it isnt enough to manage severe pain from a broken bone or post-surgery, marijuana is primarily used to manage chronic pain. The aging population mostly benefits from medical marijuana. It is safer than opiates.
It is a suitable replacement for NSAIDs like Advil if an individual has ulcers, GERD, or kidney problems. Aside from that, it also works wonders in nerve pain and multiple sclerosis. Such health conditions only have a few medication options available. More often than not, these options are sedating.
People who have been using medical marijuana in place of their go-to medications say that they can do their routine without feeling out of it. People suffering from Parkinsons disease also say that they experience lesser tremors with medical marijuana.
The list of uses of medical marijuana goes on and on. Other health conditions where it will provide relief include:
- Crohns Disease
Also Check: Is Salonpas Good For Arthritis
How To Get A Medical Card For Ra
Through services like Elevate Holistics, getting your medical marijuana card for rheumatoid arthritis is easier than ever before.
We understand that patients are already going through a lot and dont need more worries or stress. Therefore, we made the process easier for patients by providing all the necessary services online both doctor consultations and medical card applications in three quick and easy steps. And all of it happens from the comfort of your home and at a fraction of the fees you would have paid other service providers.
Interested? Contact us now to learn more about getting your medical card and enjoy the benefits of medical marijuana for rheumatoid arthritis.
More Research Is Needed On The Benefits And Barriers Of This Alternative Treatment
This Reading Room is a collaboration between MedPage Today® and:
With the growing use of cannabis as an alternative treatment for medical conditions, some researchers are curious as to its effect on rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatoid diseases.
“The pain associated with rheumatic diseases is considered a prevalent indication for medicinal cannabis in various countries. Thus far, preliminary clinical trials have explored the effects of cannabis on RA, osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia,” wrote Daphna Katz-Talmor, et al. in a review published in Nature Reviews Rheumatology.
Those reviewers determined, however, that more research was needed before any clinical recommendations could be made regarding the use of cannabis.
In 2016, another review appeared in the German publication Der Schmerz, which set out to determine if there was evidence to recommend cannabis for pain management in rheumatology patients.
They only found three studies that fit the bill, and the authors noted the risk of bias was high with all three.
“The findings of a superiority of cannabinoids over controls were not consistent. Cannabinoids were generally well tolerated despite some troublesome side effects and safe during the study duration,” Fitzcharles and the other researchers wrote. “Currently, there is insufficient evidence for recommendation for any cannabinoid preparations for symptom management in patients with chronic pain associated with rheumatic diseases.”
Recommended Reading: What Are The Medications For Rheumatoid Arthritis