The Best Medical Marijuana Strains For Arthritis
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 10/18/2019 in Infographics
Updated on January 21, 2020.; Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
The pain of a chronic condition like arthritis is one of the most common reasons people turn to medical marijuana for relief. Arthritis or chronic pain is a qualifying medical condition for medical marijuana in 36 states.;
There are two main types of arthritis, both characterized by joint pain and inflammation. In osteoarthritis, which occurs in virtually everyone with age, the cartilage that provides a cushion between bones wears away, causing inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joints. In rheumatoid arthritis, which is less common, the immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of the joints, causing a painful swelling that can lead to deformity.
Which cannabis strains help reduce arthritis pain the most? A recent study in the Journal of Headache Pain sought to find out. In the study, 2,032 medical cannabis users with headache, migraine, arthritis, and/or chronic pain completed a survey about the main symptoms they experienced and the strains of cannabis they used to treat those symptoms.
Choosing the best strain of medical cannabis can often be a matter of trial and error. But these specific strains, preferred by the patients with arthritis in the study, can give you an idea of which strains to inquire about when you visit your local medical marijuana dispensary.
How Does Marijuana Help Chronic Pain
The THC in marijuana may help to temporarily relieve pain by interacting with the bodys natural cannabinoid receptors and reducing pain signaling and pain perception. Chronic pain stemming from systemic inflammation, such as with rheumatoid arthritis, may benefit from marijuanas anti-inflammatory effects as well. CBD may help to stimulate an immune response and attenuate pro-inflammatory cytokines those are small proteins involved in signaling pain.13,14
Cannabis Edibles For Chronic Pain Takes Off
10 Best Edibles For Chronic Pain Relief
The sheer variety of edibles available in dispensaries these days is incredible. From the ubiquitous space cookies to the more creative chocolates, hard candies, mints, truffles, cookies, gummy bears, and so much more.
Cannabis is so versatile that it can be used to infuse almost anything. The experience involved with eating it rather than smoking is so much more different, but for pain patients it makes a world of difference. Edibles provides more powerful, long-lasting pain relief especially for patients suffering from excruciating pain. Although edibles dont provide immediate pain relief compared to smoking or vaping because the cannabis has to pass through the gastrointestinal system and the liver in order to get processed, pain patients stand to benefit more from edibles. For one, the THC provides a body high that is more effective in treating pain. Second and more importantly, powerful edibles can provide relief lasting sometimes as much as 7 hours.
Edibles are much more intense, and this is where microdosing comes in handy. For those seeking long-lasting relief from chronic pain, here are 10 of the best sweet and savory edibles in the market with dosage information to help you medicate accurately and safely:
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Information And Availability Is Limited
Significant studies on the effects of marijuana on RA are lacking. When Australian researchers examined studies on a variety of neuromodulatorssubstances that can change the way you perceive painthey found only one that looked at marijuana.
Currently, doctors in several U.S. states are able to prescribe medical marijuana to patients for a variety of ailments, including chronic pain. If you live in one of those states, talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of medical marijuana for RA, and whether its an option thats appropriate for you.
A Bit About Arthritis
Recent studies indicate more than 31 million Americans suffer the effects of arthritis. If you have arthritis, then youre probably well aware of what arthritis is and the health problems that it can cause. You can skip to the next section.;
There are two major types of arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Both diseases cause swelling and pain in the joints and limit movement. Interestingly, arthritis also decreases the bodys ability to fight off viruses and bacteria.;
Rheumatoid arthritis is most commonly known to affect the elderly with weak immune systems. RA is caused when the immune system malfunctions and attacks what are known as synovial membranes between joints. This malfunction causes inflammation and pain by compromising the integrity of the joints, destroying cartilage, and causing the degeneration of bones.;
Osteoarthritis affects more than 10 million people globally and is the most common type of arthritis. At this time, there are no medications to cure this affliction and the treatment is focused on pain killers, some of which have a myriad of hazardous side effects.
Many elderly folks suffer from OA, which is the wearing away of cartilage after a lifetime of use. Cartilage forms a protective, lubricated barrier between bones in every joint in our bodies.;
Injuries to joints can also be responsible for the onset of arthritis and may cause chronic inflammation over time.;
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Using Marijuana And Cbd Is Pretty Common Among People With Arthritis
More than half of people surveyed said they tried marijuana or CBD for a medical reason. The average age of patients in our survey was 57; the vast majority were female.
Most patients reported being in fair or poor health and only 29 percent said they were satisfied with their current treatment plan. These were longtime patients; the average time since they were diagnosed was 14 years.
Most patients surveyed had either rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis . Others had psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Having Those Hard Conversations
Rolling a joint at work isnt exactly socially acceptable yet. It can be difficult to explain your medical marijuana use with family members, especially children . The historical propaganda and stigma surrounding marijuana can complicate life for the medical marijuana user. While there is still a dearth of research on medical marijuana, there is no record of anyone overdosing from marijuana.; However, the jury is still out on whether one can develop a physical dependence or addiction to the substance.
At the end of the day, your pain is your own experience and how you choose to manage your condition is a personal choice. While the science of marijuana for pain relief is new and evolving, its historical use is more traditional than most people realize. Whatever your choice, it should be about what helps you live your happiest, healthiest, and most pain-free life.
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Types Of Marijuana Administration For Joint Pain
Both major cannabinoids cannabidiol and tetrahydrocannabinol have been shown to decrease patient pain. Hundreds of strains are available, which means any patient can find a version that works best for them and treats the right side effects. Additional marijuana benefits for joint pain can include an enhanced appetite, improved mood, and relief from insomnia associated with pain. Certain strains help more than others in treating each of these issues.
Many patients have found relief through different forms of administration, including a topical form of the medical weed that come in creams, ointments, and lotions and can be applied to specific affected areas without psychoactive effects. These methods including oils, sprays, and others are all available for patients suffering from joint pain. With the help of a certified physician, each patient should experiment to find the method that improves their life the most.
Major Benefits Of Taking Marijuana According To Doctors
In a first-ever legislation draft, Senator Chuck Schumer and his Democratic party have just proposed making legal at the federal level. Marijuana is now officially legalized in 18 states, with medical marijuana being legalized in 37. Doctors have been using medical marijuana to treat several different conditions, including forms of cancers, and neurological conditions. Here are five major benefits of using marijuana, according to doctors. Read on to find out more, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You Have “Long” COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Current Treatments Available For Osteoarthritis
OA is a long-term, chronic disease with no cure. However, several treatments are available to help manage your symptoms. There are several factors to consider in the long-term management of OA, including:
- Improving joint flexibility and mobility
- Managing symptoms of swelling, pain and stiffness
- Getting enough physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
When someones osteoarthritis pain gets to the point where they need to get medical help, their doctor will typically start them on a treatment regimen involving low doses of drugs with minimal side effects. If these dont work, however, doctors will gradually recommend more powerful medications. These are a few of the more common drugs used to treat the condition, as well as information on side effects:
According to the National Academy of an Aging Society, arthritis is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in America. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis, including osteoarthritis, which is related to wear and tear of cartilage. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting over 20 million people in the United States.
Collectively, the many types of arthritis cost patients billions of dollars. For example, according to a Stanford University study titled The economic impact of arthritis, patients with arthritis collectively incur over $56 billion annually in medical expenditures and work loss.
Physical and Occupational Therapy
Here Are Several Social Impacts Of Osteoarthritis:
- Short-lived or chronic pain and disability
- Limited capacity to perform daily activities
- Intense anxiety and depression
- Reduced quality of life
Osteoarthritis is an incredibly unsettling condition to live with. And with limited treatment options available to patients capable of providing relief, many subjects turn to traditional anti-inflammatory medicines, potentially-addictive painkillers, or even invasive surgery.
Because of the undesirable side effects of some of the above treatment methods, a considerable number of osteoarthritis patients are now switching to medical marijuana.
Apart from providing pain relief, medical hemp can reduce inflammation as well as other symptoms of OA without the harsh impacts associated with different treatment approaches.
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Why Your Mental Health Matters When Using Medical Marijuana
Many people use medical marijuana for psychological ailments, such as PTSD and anxiety. While cannabis can ease symptoms of these conditions, some people may experience additional feelings of anxiety and paranoia so youll need to track your response. If you end up spiraling out, call your doctor right away and be sure to note which strain/brand caused the effect so that you dont take it again.
People with psychoses may wish to avoid medical marijuana as it can increase the risk of or symptoms of these disorders.12
One collection of studies associated heavy use of marijuana during adolescence with increased rates of mental illness and cognitive impairment. This may be due to the endocannabinoid systems important role in brain development. This does not necessarily preclude young adults from medical marijuana use but it should be taken into consideration.
And remember, medicinal or not, marijuana can still get you high. If you dont do well feeling out of control, cannabis may not be the best choice for you.
Medical Marijuana Treatment For Osteoarthritis
Medicinal cannabis can deliver significant success in the management of Osteoarthritis and help curb the progression of the condition. Medical play a huge role in relieving debilitating pain and other symptoms.
Both ingredients of marijuana; Tetrahydrocannabinol , and Cannabinol have the potential to activate your Endocannabinoid System ; CB1 and CB2 receptors.
Subsequently, these receptors trigger the central nervous system plus neurotransmitter cells to regulate neuropathic and nociceptive pain levels; thus, effectively helping in the management of your joints pain sensitivity.
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Quick Introduction To Arthritis
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints which causes pain and several other symptoms, but its just not one single disease, as many people think.
Although the term arthritis is usually used to refer to joint pain in general, the actual condition includes up to 200 different conditions and diseases: Like rheumatoid arthritis , fibromyalgia, gout, lupus, osteoarthritis and many more.
Arthritis is a common condition among the aging population , but it also affects younger people56% of arthritis patients in Canada are under 65.
That being said, it seems that the age of onset is getting lower and lower as time goes by, and there are many reasons for that: Unhealthy diet.
The initial symptoms of arthritis are usually stiffness, especially in the morning, pain and swelling around the joints.
Then the other symptoms become more evident: You get tired more quickly than you used to, restless sleep becomes typical, and over the time it progressively becomes difficult to move joints and even to use your own hands.
Does Cbd Help With Arthritis Pain
- By Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing
If you have chronic arthritis pain, you may be wondering about cannabidiol as a treatment. CBD, along with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and other chemicals, is found in marijuana. But unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive that is, it does not cause the intoxication or high associated with marijuana use.
Theres a good chance youve tried it already: according to a Gallup poll in August of 2019, about 14% of Americans report using CBD products, and the number one reason is pain. The Arthritis Foundation conducted its own poll and found that 29% reported current use of CBD , and nearly 80% of respondents were either using it, had used it in the past, or were considering it. Of those using it, most reported improvement in physical function, sleep, and well-being; of note, a minority reported improvement in pain or stiffness.
Perhaps youve been tempted to try it. After all, most types of arthritis are not cured by other treatments, and CBD is considered a less addictive option than opiates. Or maybe its the marketing that recommends CBD products for everything from arthritis to anxiety to seizures. The ads are pretty hard to miss.
Whats the evidence it works? And what do experts recommend? Until recently, theres been little research and even less guidance for people interested in CBD products that are now increasingly legal and widely promoted.
But now, there is.
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The Experience Of Doctors
Ethan Russo, M.D.
Patients have long told us that cannabis has been helpful to them in the treatment of their arthritic conditions. Science has now demonstrated that the THC component of cannabis is a very effective analgesic , and that the CBD component has unique immunomodulatory benefits as an antagonist of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, supporting benefits in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as Crohn’s disease and psoriasis. It appears that cannabis-based medicines will likely be an important component of arthritis treatment in the 21st century.
Ethan Russo, MD, is a board-certified child and adult neurologist in Missoula, MT, and researcher in migraine, ethnobotany, medicinal plants, cannabis and cannabinoids in pain management. Dr. Russo currently serves in a consultancy position as Senior Medical Advisor to the Cannabinoid Research Institute, the division of GW Pharmaceuticals established to promote exploratory research. He holds faculty positions as adjunct associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Montana, and clinical associate professor in the Department of Medicine of the University of Washington. He has published numerous articles in scientific journals and is co-editor of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutic Potential. Dr. Russo is the founding editor of Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics.
Arnold S. Leff, M.D.
Harvey L. Rose, M.D.
What This Means For Your Health
Arthritis affects people of all ages; it is estimated that about three hundred thousand babies in the USA have rheumatoid arthritis. The possibility of getting arthritis, however, increases with age, and more women than men get diagnosed with the disease.;
Is medical marijuana good for arthritis? That is the million-dollar question. The available anecdotal evidence on the effectiveness of marijuana for arthritis pain managementis encouraging. You should, however, note that medical marijuana is not a prescription drug. It should only be used alongside other medicine.
Involve your doctor when deciding to start using any medical marijuana for rheumatoid arthritis painor any other symptom of arthritis. Once you inform them, they will then be able to advise you on how it interacts with your medicine.;
In the event you are allergic to arthritis medication, the doctor can advise you whether it is right for you only to use marijuana, excluding other drugs.
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Cbd Oil And Chronic Pain
Cannabinoids, such as CBD, interact with receptors that influence pain and inflammation in the body. CBD may block certain receptors that allow for levels of an endocannabinoid called anandamide to increase in the body.
Scientists believe that CBD affects the way that these receptors respond to the signals that they receive, possibly helping reduce inflammation and pain.
The National Centers for Complementary and Integrative Health state that cannabis or CBD could have modest benefits for chronic pain.
Much of the research into CBD for chronic pain has looked at neuropathic, or nerve-related, pain. For example, a 2017 review found that CBD helped with chronic neuropathic pain in humans.
A 2020 review reports that CBD could have benefits for relieving chronic pain, improving sleep, and reducing inflammation, but that these effects are condition specific.
The researchers also say that using CBD may come with risks, such as drug interactions and harmful ingredients in unregulated products.
CBD is available as an oil or powder, which it is possible to use to make creams or gels that people can apply to the skin of the areas that arthritis affects.
People can also take CBD in capsule form or as an oral spray.
It is a good idea to speak to a doctor before using CBD oil. A person should also educate themselves on the local laws regarding CBD oil, as the use of cannabis products is not legal everywhere.
- changes in appetite
- changes in weight