Medical Cannabis And Arthritis
Arthritis is a chronic pain condition that has no fixed cure. It can cause painful symptoms, such as joint swelling, which often seem to arise from nowhere. While there are certain therapies and lifestyle changes a patient can make to reduce the severity of their symptoms, many people find little to no relief from pain.
Medical cannabis for arthritis can help manage these painful symptoms. The cannabinoid THC, in particular, is commonly used to help treat neuropathic pain and inflammation. THC acts on our CB1 and CB2 receptors, two G protein-coupled receptors that are found all throughout the body as part of the endocannabinoid system. CB2 receptors are thought to play an important role in pain modulation and inflammation. By acting on these receptors, THC inhibits the release of glutamate, reducing pain signals to the brain and slowing the release of proinflammatory substances from mast cells.
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 .
The Experience Of Patients
In 1911, at the age of one, I contracted the polio virus. . . The early onset of polio caused permanent damage in my legs, spine, and back, resulting in significant weakness and atrophy in my legs. As a result, I have never been able to walk without the assistance of crutches and braces or a wheelchair. Approximately 30 years ago, my condition began to deteriorate. I began to suffer from increasing levels of pain and weakness in my legs and back as well as severe osteoarthritis in my hands, arms, and joints. Over time, my deteriorating medical condition has been exacerbated by my pain, leaving me increasingly immobilized. . .
During this period it was clear to me, my caretaker and my physician that nothing was working to combat my pain. My caretaker, Pat, had heard of the success some people experience with the medicinal use of marijuana for pain management. Sometime during the end of 1997, she obtained a sample for me. Although I had never used marijuana in my previous eighty-seven years of life, I was willing to try anything that could alleviate even part of the pain.
I am a 45-year-old granny, and I smoke marijuana for medicinal reasons. I was 25 when I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. The doctor told me it was a painful, crippling disease and I would end up in a wheel chair. He gave me prescriptions for the arthritis and pain and sleeping pills.
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.
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
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Is There Such A Thing As A Joint
Although the compounds in many foods are said to improve RA symptoms, more research is needed to determine just how much of those compounds would have to be eaten to derive the benefit.
What scientists know for sure is that there are important links between your stomach and inflammation, and that Western diets, with their emphasis on the fast, cheap, and highly flavorful, create the conditions for diseases like RA to flourish.
Its certain, for starters, that obesity is a risk factor for inflammatory conditions. Body fat generates substances that generate inflammation, and the more fat there is, the more inflamed the body will be. In addition, the foods that lead to obesity ones high in fat, sugar, salt, and processed ingredients are known to increase inflammation.
Also, scientists are increasingly finding out more about the ways that intestinal bacterial imbalances, which may result from high-fat low-nutrient diets, contribute to these conditions.
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That said, changing your diet probably wont reduce inflammation enough for you to forgo other RA management treatments. But it can help reduce the amount of medication needed and the side effects of the medication, says Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, an associate professor in the department of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, who is also an RA patient. And, Dr. Sandon adds, eating well has never been known to make any condition worse.
What Is Medical Cannabis
Medical cannabis is any cannabis or cannabis product used to treat a medical condition. Many people use cannabis to treat medical conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. However, the Food and Drug Administration hasnt yet approved cannabis to treat any of these conditions.
Many people who take cannabis medically take CBD or other cannabis products that contain little to no THC. While THC does have medical applications, it is also intoxicating and thus is the main ingredient behind the recreational effects of cannabis.
At this time, the only CBD product FDA-approved to treat a particular medical condition is Epidolex. Its approved to treat two rare forms of epilepsy called Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.
The medications Marinol and Syndrol, which contain a synthetic form of THC called dronabinol, are FDA-approved to treat nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and weight loss in AIDS patients.
In states where medical cannabis is legal, you can obtain a medicinal cannabis card that allows you to legally buy and possess cannabis with a doctors recommendation. For example, in California, doctors may recommend cannabis to treat the following conditions:
and Federal Trade Commission.
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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 Marijuana And Cbd Are All The Rage Right Now Heres What We Know About Who Is Using These Products To Manage Arthritis And Why
The national conversation about using CBD and marijuana for medical purposes keeps getting more interesting. The Food and Drug Administration recently held its first public hearing to help figure out how to regulate CBD products. The Transportation Security Administration just released a new policy that allows flying with certain FDA-approved medical marijuana and products that contain hemp-derived CBD oil.
These days, you cant read the New York Times, watch local news outlets, or listen to NPR without hearing about the increasing prevalence and interest in using marijuana and/or CBD to treat a host of ailments from acne to Alzheimers to anxiety to arthritis, to start at the beginning of the alphabet, anyway.
But no matter what you read, watch, or listen to, one thing is abundantly clear. We need more information, both about how these compounds work medically and which patients and types of health problems can best benefit from them.
CreakyJoints wanted to understand how our arthritis patient community perceives and uses medical marijuana and CBD, so we conducted a recent survey to find out more. In research presented at the 2019 Annual European Congress of Rheumatology meeting in Madrid, Spain, we gave 1,059 patients with arthritis a 77-item survey to delve deeper into their usage of marijuana and CBD. Heres what we learned.
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How Medical Marijuana Helps With Arthritis Pain
Chronic pain is one of the main symptoms of arthritis. Unfortunately, chronic pain can have long-term consequences that are both physical and psychological. People with chronic pain are more likely to develop depression and anxiety, as well as experience mood swings and irritability.
Medical marijuana helps arthritis patients manage chronic pain. THC, one of the key chemicals in marijuana, temporarily relieves pain by impacting the bodys natural cannabinoid receptors while inhibiting pain signals. This can reduce muscle tension resulting from pain. Marijuana also has anti-inflammatory benefits, allowing arthritis patients to get relief from joint inflammation.
Using Cbd Oil To Treat Arthritis
Like THC but without the psychoactive component, cannabidiol oil is also often used to treat arthritis. Studies have found that CBD also offers anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects, all without the worry of the brain fog, munchies, or anything else that might follow THC.
Along with reducing the pain associated with arthritis, CBD is also likely to help improve sleep, reduce feelings of anxiety and depression all while reducing overall inflammation.
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Medicinal Cannabis: What You Need To Know
There is a lot of interest in the use of cannabis as a medicine. You, or someone you know, may be considering using medicinal cannabis and have questions about medicinal cannabis products, such as:
- How and in what situations can they be used?
- Is medicinal cannabis legal?
- Where can it be accessed?
- Medicinal cannabis products are treated and regulated as medicines in Australia.
- There is some evidence to support the use of medicinal cannabis in conditions such as multiple sclerosis , epilepsy in children and young adults, chronic non-cancer pain, nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, and palliative care.
- There is one medicinal cannabis product approved for use in Australia: nabiximols which is indicated for the treatment of moderate to severe spasticity in people with MS.
- Other medicinal cannabis products are available in Australia but they are unapproved which means that prescribers must use pathways to special access via the Therapeutic Goods Administration .
- Each state and territory has slightly different laws and regulations governing access to medicinal cannabis products.
- The TGA maintains a list of state and territory contacts visit them here.
Frequently Asked Questions
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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What Are The Main Causes Of Arthritis
Most forms of arthritis remain a mystery to most doctors. However, studies have found that the following causes may increase your chances of getting it:
Research suggests that specific forms of arthritis, for example, rheumatoid arthritis, are linked to particular genes.
According to recent statistics, most types of arthritis are more common in women. 60% of people with arthritis are female. Gout is more common in men.
Those that carry excess weight force their joints and body to work harder than usual. The extra pounds tend to lead to arthritis in the knees.
Although injuries arent always in our control, they may cause joint damage that leads to specific forms of arthritis.
Mitochondrial Targets Mediate The Effects Of Cbd
Fig. 4: Modulation of intracellular calcium levels and PoP3 uptake of RASF by CBD with concomitant manipulation of lysosomal and endoplasmatic reticulum calcium stores or inhibition of organic cation transport.
Mean intracellular calcium mobilization and mean PoPo3 uptake of RASF after CBD challenge and concomitant inhibition with the antagonists given in the figure. ANOVA with Dunnetts T3 post-hoc test was used for all comparisons. ***p< 0.001.
Fig. 5: IL-6, IL-8, MMP-3 production, and cell number after 72h incubation with CBD.
RASF were incubated for 72h with TNF. After wash-off, RASF were challenged with antagonists for 30min followed by CBD addition for 72h. ANOVA was used for all comparisons vs control w/o CBD. a, c, e, g IL-6, IL-8, MMP-3 production, and cell number after 72h challenge with CBD. b, d, f, h IL-6, IL-8, MMP-3 production, and cell number after 72h challenge with CBD with concomitant addition of the TRPA1 antagonist A967079 and the mPTP inhibitor CsA. Significant differences between CBD in different concentrations are depicted as *p< 0.05, **p< 0.01, and ***p< 0.001, and CBD versus CBD/antagonist treatment are depicted as #p< 0.05, ##p< 0.01, and ###p< 0.001. ANOVA with Bonferroni post-hoc test was used for all comparisons. The dotted line in g, h represents the control value which was set to 100%. n is the number of replicates out of four different patient samples. The error bars represent the standard error of mean.
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Medical Cannabis Reduces Opioid Prescriptions
Some patients with advanced arthritis may be prescribed opioids to treat severe pain. Opioids have a powerful and potentially dangerous impact on the brain, with opioid addiction being a serious problem currently in the United States.
Due to its ability to relieve pain, medical marijuana enables arthritis patients to get pain relief without the need to take opioids. Considering the opioid epidemic and the dangers of opioid use, avoiding opioids through cannabis use is an excellent option.
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.
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Cbd Oil Relieves Other Chronic Pain Conditions
CBD oil has been found to relieve other chronic pains as well. For instance, research published in Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management indicates that cannabinoids have been helpful with easing pain for individuals diagnosed with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and cancer.
Other studies have reported positive effects for individuals taking CBD to ease their fibromyalgia pain, many of whom only experienced mild side effects from this chemical compound, such as dry mouth, drowsiness, and dizziness.
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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