Could Medical Marijuana Ease Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis
As states move to legalize marijuana for medical use, researchers are exploring whether it might help relieve the symptoms of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.
Many say marijuana is a natural way to alleviate symptoms of a variety of conditions, such as arthritis and chronic pain. A company called Cannabis Technologies announced recently that its in the process of developing a new cannabinoid-based therapy that will directly target arthritis.
TIME magazine recently shared a story that the U.S. government is looking to purchase 12 acres of marijuana plants for medical research purposes. This could be good news for the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from arthritis, the nations
Find A Cannabis Doctor
Medical marijuana can offer you a real lifeline when it comes to treating your arthritis symptoms. Everyone is unique and faces their own distinct set of symptoms. By talking to a marijuana doctor about your symptoms, you can learn about the best course of weed treatment that works well for you as an individual. If you wish to know more about cannabis and arthritis and improve your quality of life, you can search for a medical marijuana doctor or dispensary today.
Cannabis Bone And Cartilage Health
Although more research is needed, cannabinoids have shown potential for building cartilage, a useful function for patients with damaged cartilage. A 2010 review published in the journal Pharmaceuticals concluded that cannabinoids provide a dual function by acting as anti-inflammatory agents as well as regulating stem cell biology and enhancing tissue engineering strategies aimed at cartilage repair.
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Are There Guidelines About The Use Of Cbd For Chronic Arthritis Pain
Until recently, little guidance has been available for people with arthritis pain who were interested in CBD treatment. Depending on availability and interest, patients and their doctors had to decide on their own whether CBD was a reasonable option in each specific case. To a large degree thats still true, but some guidelines have been published. Heres one set of guidelines for people pursuing treatment with CBD that I find quite reasonable :
- If considering a CBD product, choose one that has been independently tested for purity, potency, and safety for example, look for one that has received a Good Manufacturing Practices certification.
- CBD should be one part of an overall pain management plan that includes nonmedication options and psychological support.
- Choose an oral treatment and start with a low dose taken in the evening.
- Establish initial goals of treatment within a realistic period of time for example, a reduction in knee pain that allows you to walk around the block within two weeks of starting treatment later, if improved, the goals can be adjusted.
- Tell your doctor about your planned and current CBD treatment monitor your pain and adjust medications with your medical providers, rather than with nonmedical practitioners .
Side Effects Of Marijuana For Arthritis
Any unwanted effects of marijuana are usually minor and resolve once the medical marijuana supply leaves the patients body. As noted, unwanted effects from cannabis are not common and the mild side effects that may occur are often a preferred alternative to the pain generated by arthritis.
Some of the potential side effects of using marijuana to treat arthritis include increased appetite, mood changes and lethargy. Talk with your doctor about whether medical marijuana is the right choice for your lifestyle and needs.
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Are There Downsides To Cbd Treatment
As with any treatment, there can be downsides. CBD is generally considered safe however, it can still cause lightheadedness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and rarely, liver problems. There may be uncertainty about the potency or purity of CBD products , and CBD can interact with other medications. For pregnant women, concern has been raised about a possible link between inhaled cannabis and lower-birthweight babies its not clear if this applies to CBD. Some pain specialists have concerns that CBD may upset the bodys natural system of pain regulation, leading to tolerance , though the potential for addiction is generally considered to be low.
There is one definite downside: cost. Prices range widely but CBD products arent inexpensive, and depending on dose, frequency, and formulation, the cost can be considerable I found one brand that was $120/month, and health insurance does not usually cover it.
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.
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More Evidence Of Risk Than Benefits
Study author , and her colleagues wrote that while there is good evidence that cannabinoids can help with other chronic pain conditions such as cancer and neuropathic pain those pain types have a different underlying mechanism than rheumatic conditions. They also state that medicinal marijuana should never be smoked, and that there is also the potential for addiction.
Arthritis Statistics And History
People have suffered from arthritis since ancient times, according to News Medical. Texts from as early as 4500 BCE refer to the disease. One from 123 CE describes a list of symptoms that seem similar to the condition we know today.
The disease was rare before the 1600s. It spread across the world during the Age of Exploration. Arthritis received its name in 1859. The first recognized description of RA was by French doctor Augustin Jacob Landre-Beauvais in 1800. British rheumatologist Dr. Alfred Baring Garrod came up with the name rheumatoid arthritis in 1859. William Musgrave described the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in De Arthritide Symptomatica in 1715.
The paintings of Flemish artist Peter Paul Rubens in the 16th century sometimes showed people with symptoms of RA.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the following statistics on arthritis:
- An estimated 54.4 million U.S. adults had some form of arthritis between 2013 and 2015.
- Nearly 23 percent of overweight American adults have arthritis, while 31 percent of obese U.S. adults have the condition.
- An estimated 78 million U.S. adults will have an arthritis diagnosis by 2040.
- Rheumatic conditions such as arthritis have been the most common cause of U.S. adult disability for the past 15 years.
- One in 25 American adults between 18 and 64 faces arthritis-attributable work limitations.
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What Do Patients Think About Treating Oa With Cbd
A 2021 study from the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons surveyed 200 patients that presented with painful OA in the knees, hips, or both. Of the patients who were interviewed, nearly a quarter of them have used CBD to treat their arthritis pain. These patients reported daily CBD use and preferred using tinctures or topical products . As of the date of publication, there is a lack of qualitative data about using CBD, but this study is important as it shows that there is a significant patient population interested in using it.
Note: Veriheal does not intend to give this as professional medical advice. Do not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe treatment based on the information provided on this page. Always consult a physician before making any decision on the treatment of a medical condition.
A Word About Arthritis Pain
Its worth emphasizing that there are more than 100 types of arthritis, and while pain is a cardinal feature of all of them, these conditions do not all act alike. And what works for one may not work for another. Treatment is aimed at reducing pain and stiffness and maintaining function for all types of arthritis. But for certain conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, conventional prescription medications are highly recommended, because these drugs help prevent permanent joint damage and worsening disability.
In addition, individuals experience pain and respond to treatment in different ways. As a result, its highly unlikely that there is a single CBD-containing product that works for all people with all types of arthritis.
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Reasons Smoking Makes Arthritis Worse
If the risks of lung disease, heart disease, cancer and bad breath werent good enough reasons for you to give up smoking, heres something else you should know: Research shows that smoking is harmful to your bones, joints and connective tissue as well. No matter what form of arthritis you have, youll be doing your joints and yourself a favor by quitting. Here are five more reasons for people with arthritis to snuff the habit.
Higher death risk. A 2016 study published in Arthritis Care & Research analyzed data from 5,677 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and found that, over an average follow-up period of almost five years, death rates for smokers were almost double that of nonsmokers. Cardiovascular disease was the major cause of death. The good news: mortality risk fell significantly a year after quitting, particularly for heavy smokers, and it continued to fall each subsequent year.
More surgery complications. Two separate studies, presented at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, compared joint replacement in smokers and nonsmokers.
One, which followed 621 patients with an average age of 62, found those who smoked before and after total knee replacement had a 10-fold higher revision rate compared to nonsmokers. The other found that smokers who had the cup part of the hip joint replaced with a metal prosthesis had almost three times the implant failure rate compared to nonsmokers.
Joint Pain And Inflammation
If inflammation and joint pain get you down, the following strains can help:
- Burmese Kush: Burmese Kush is a potent pain-relieving hybrid strain. Although it can take a while to take effect, its a long-lasting and strong choice.
- Girl Scout Cookies: Girl Scout Cookies is a high-THC hybrid strain renowned for providing full-body pain relief.
- Canna-Tsu: Canna-Tsu gives you clear-headed pain relief. Its a hybrid strain thats low in THC and high in CBD. The strain works on reducing inflammation and pain without making you feel groggy or tired.
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Is Cannabis Safe To Recommend
“The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health….” So began a 1995 editorial statement of Great Britain’s leading medical journal, The Lancet. The long history of human use of cannabis also attests to its safety – nearly 5,000 years of documented use without a single death. In the same year as the Lancet editorial, Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School who has published many influential books and articles on medical use of cannabis, had this to say in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association :
One of marihuana’s greatest advantages as a medicine is its remarkable safety. It has little effect on major physiological functions. There is no known case of a lethal overdose on the basis of animal models, the ratio of lethal to effective dose is estimated as 40,000 to 1. By comparison, the ratio is between 3 and 50 to 1 for secobarbital and between 4 and 10 to 1 for ethanol. Marihuana is also far less addictive and far less subject to abuse than many drugs now used as muscle relaxants, hypnotics, and analgesics. The chief legitimate concern is the effect of smoking on the lungs. Cannabis smoke carries even more tars and other particulate matter than tobacco smoke. But the amount smoked is much less, especially in medical use, and once marihuana is an openly recognized medicine, solutions may be found ultimately a technology for the inhalation of cannabinoid vapors could be developed.
Cannabis or Marinol?
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
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Best Strains Of Marijuana To Use For Psoriatic Arthritis
Once you have your medical marijuana card for medical cannabis for psoriatic arthritis, you can visit dispensaries and browse the strains and products that best treat your symptoms. If youre in doubt, its worth talking to your medical marijuana doctor or budtender about your options.
In the meantime, weve put together a quick guide to help you get started. First, lets take a look at the different categories of strains and their best medicinal uses:
Why Cannabis Is Legal To Recommend
Medical professionals have a legal right to recommend cannabis as a treatment in any state, as protected by the First Amendment. That was established by a 2004 United States Supreme Court decision to uphold earlier federal court rulings that doctors and their patients have a fundamental Constitutional right to freely discuss treatment options. State rules for qualifying an individual patient for legal protections when using medical cannabis differ as to who may make the recommendation and for what conditions, as well as how that recommendation is communicated to the appropriate state authorities. Medical professionals and individual patients should familiarize themselves with the applicable laws and regulations in their state. ASA provides state-by-state resources to help at: AmericansForSafeAccess.org/state_by_state_recommending_cannabis
Under federal law, cannabis may not be prescribed, but its therapeutic use can be recommended without any legal jeopardy. The court rulings that protect medical professionals stem from a lawsuit brought by a group of doctors and patients led by AIDS specialist Dr. Marcus Conant. The suit was filed in response to federal officials who, within weeks of California voters legalizing medical cannabis in 1996, had threatened to revoke the prescribing privileges of any physicians who recommended cannabis to their patients for medical use. Dr. Conant contended that such a policy would violate the First Amendment, and the federal courts agreed.
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Why Marijuana To Treat Pain
- All natural. Cannabis flower, especially when smoked or vaped, is not processed. This means, that it can be 100% natural. Prescription pain medication, NSAIDS, or over-the-counter medications like Advil, have many chemical properties that are not healthy for long-term use.
- Safer. Simply put, you cannot really overdose from marijuana. There have been zero recorded deaths from just marijuana. This isnt to say that marijuana cant be dangerous if too much is administered, but unlike opioid pain medication, one cannot die of an accidental overdose. It can also be more safely combined with other pain medications and treatments.
78 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. At least of half of these overdoses are from prescription pain medication.
Symptoms And Side Effects Of Arthritis
The most common arthritis symptoms are joint swelling, pain and stiffness. You may find your range of motion decreases, and that you have red skin around the affected joints. You could find your symptoms are worse in the morning.
If you have rheumatoid arthritis, you tend to lose your appetite and feel tired. Theres also the risk of anemia and fever when you have RA. If you dont get your RA condition treated, your joints may look deformed.
Advances in treatment and early diagnosis mean if you have arthritis, your quality of life is likely to be far better than previous generations. While this may be true, a 2011 study in Arthritis Care & Research found measures of mental and physical health can be as many as two to three times worse in people living with arthritis. Findings of the study included:
- Individuals with the condition reported feeling impaired mentally from emotional problems, depression or stress for an average of five out of 30 days. People without arthritis had only three days of these types of symptoms.
- People with arthritis felt physically unwell for around seven days out of the previous month. Those without the condition reported feeling symptoms for only two or three days out of 30.
- More people with the condition indicated they had days where they couldnt go about their usual daily activities due to ill health.
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The Case For Marijuana Use In Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment
And medical marijuana scientific advocates say theres absolutely nothing wrong with that. Chronic pain is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis, and when it comes to chronic pain, we have 9,000 patient years of data showing that THC effectively treats it, says Jahan Marcu, PhD, chief scientific officer for Americans for Safe Access, an organization that works to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Cannabinoids stop the transmission of pain and decrease inflammation, and thats very important for people with joint issues.