Arthritis comes in several different forms: 1) inflammatory arthritis (lupus, psoriatic, Ankylosing Spondylitis) and 2) osteoarthritis. These conditions affect millions of Canadians of all ages and backgrounds. Almost every type is caused by inflammation, and all types are associated with joint pain. The pain often prevents people from participating in everyday activities.
If you have arthritis, you know this to be true. You may not be able to complete daily chores or you may have had to give up a favourite hobby. When you have arthritis, one of the questions you no doubt ask is, “How do I get natural pain relief from arthritis?”
There are many different tips, including taking warm showers, getting a massage, adding certain herbs to food, meditating, and trying some low-impact exercises as you are able. Another option for treatment may be medical cannabis.
What Science Says about Marijuana and Arthritis
When you’re looking for natural pain relief, medical cannabis may not come up on the list. It does appear to have some benefits for those who are trying to manage the chronic pain associated with arthritis.
While more research is needed to confirm exactly how medical cannabis impacts arthritis symptoms, preliminary studies suggest patients may find relief by using cannabis.
A scientific study conducted on rats suggested CBD oil could reduce inflammation by changing the way pain receptors respond to stimuli. More recent research has shown endocannabinoids interact with digestive processes in order to reduce stimuli. It’s possible that these same substances also interact with other systems in the body with the potential to reduce inflammation.
Cannabis also seems to block the production of inflammatory molecules being produced in our immune system, which is why it works as an anti-inflammatory. The medical properties of cannabis are muscle relaxing, anti-inflammatory and homeostasis promotion, which in theory should help immensely with arthritis patients.
This research is encouraging and suggests cannabis could be an effective treatment for arthritic pain.
How Can You Use Medical Marijuana?
Some studies have focused on the administration of marijuana and arthritis. Other studies have looked at the topical application of CBD oil to affected joints, which appears to provide some relief for patients.
There are studies that have investigated the use of synthetic cannabinoids. In some studies, only CBD was used. Other studies have included THC. Both of these cannabinoids are known to have anti-inflammatory properties, which could help manage some of the pain symptoms of arthritis.
This research suggests there are several ways patients can use medical marijuana to get effective relief of their symptoms.
Why Isn’t the Science Conclusive?
There are a few problems with the research thus far, which will need to be addressed before it can be conclusively said that marijuana can assist with arthritis symptoms.
The first issue is that most studies are low-quality. They use self-reporting. They may also lack control groups who don’t use medical marijuana for comparison purposes, as well as standardization of data and strains. The studies demonstrating the mechanisms by which medical cannabis appears to work haven’t been replicated for human beings yet.
What does this mean? It’s too early to say conclusively whether marijuana could help. While it appears that medical cannabis is a promising treatment option, more research is needed to confirm exactly how and why it can help.
Is It Right for You?
The studies to date suggest some people could benefit from the use of medical marijuana in the management of arthritis. You may be one of those people.
If you’re interested in learning more about medical marijuana and arthritis, a great place to start is a medical cannabis clinic. Talk to your doctor and get a referral. Set up a consultation with the expert staff at the clinic and discuss any questions you have.
Medical marijuana could very well be the right treatment for your arthritis. The first step is talking to a qualified medical professional about how it might benefit you.