Cannabis and Arthritis

Many patients suffering from the debilitating effects of arthritis report remarkable therapeutic results with the use of medical cannabis…

“Arthritis” literally means inflammation of a joint.  The term “arthritis” is used to describe many different medical conditions that involve pain and stiffness in an around one or more joints.  An estimated 46 million adults have some form of arthritis.  This number is expected to increase to 67 million Americans by 2030.

The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis is characterized by degeneration of cartilage and bone along with bony overgrowth.  The joints most commonly affected are the knees, hips, hands, and spine.

Other types of arthritic conditions include rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and fibromyalgia. Health-related quality of life has been shown to be significantly worse in persons with arthritis than those without arthritis.

Unfortunately, there currently is no cure for arthritis.  The treatment of arthritis focuses largely on relieving symptoms and improving function, and, in some cases, trying to halt the progression of the disease.

Conventional treatments include a variety of different medications, physical or occupational therapy, splints or joint assistive devices, and in some cases even surgery. Medical cannabis is also quite effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis.  In fact, the relief of joint swelling and inflammation is one of the oldest known uses of cannabis, dating back to China around 5,000 years ago.

Scientists now understand that there is a naturally-occurring network of cannabinoid receptor sites located throughout our bodies known as the “endocannabinoid system.”  Science is now able to explain what the ancient Chinese knew 5,000 years ago – that cannabis is very effective in relieving the pain and inflammation of arthritis.

THC, or “tetrahydrocannabinol,” is a cannabinoid molecule found in the cannabis plant that is very effective as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.  CBD, or “cannabidiol,” is another cannabinoid, and it may have even greater anti-inflammatory properties.  Altogether, there are over 100 cannabinoid molecules in the cannabis plant.

Research published by the National Academy of Sciences reported that the CBD molecule was able to actually suppress clinical arthritis and joint damage in animals.

Many of the conventional medications used to treat arthritis are associated with significant side effects.  In fact, “non-steroidal anti-inflammatories,” or NSAIDS, alone are reported to cause somewhere between 7,000 and 16,000 thousand deaths annually.

Medical cannabis, on the other hand, is safe, has very few unpleasant side effects, and there has never been a death directly attributable to a medical cannabis overdose. Many patients report remarkable success with the use of medical cannabis for the treatment of various arthritic conditions.  Direct topical applications are particularly helpful for some patients.

Other ways to use cannabis that don’t involve smoking include vaporization, tinctures, edible products, teas and raw plant extracts.

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