More people are now using cannabis for managing arthritis symptoms, such as pain, aches, etc. According to a new survey of over 1000 patients with arthritis, 57 percent of them had tried marijuana. And, 90 percent of them had benefited from it. Additionally, there is some evidence that cannabis is better than opioid medications. In fact, the number of opioid-related deaths reduced in states that legalized access to marijuana.
Currently, medical marijuana is legal in 33 states and you can easily access licensed dispensaries with a 420 Card. So, how marijuana work for arthritis? How is it different from arthritis medications? What are the top strains for arthritis patients? Let’s learn.
Arthritis Symptoms & Causes
Arthritis can lead to inflammation in joints, pain, stiffness, redness, etc. The decreased range of motion can interfere with the patient’s daily activities. Many medical studies have found that arthritis patients are more likely to experience anxiety and depression.
There are over 100 forms of arthritis, and osteoarthritis is the most common one. Osteoarthritis mainly affects people who are over 65 years old. In the United States, arthritis is one of the major reasons for disability.
Obesity, genetics, joint damage, and infections are common causes of arthritis. However, the immune system can lead to the development of some forms of arthritis.
Medications For Arthritis
Arthritis treatments are focused on managing pain and reducing joint damage. Some patients use icing packs for relief while others use walkers or canes to avoid putting pressure on the sore joints.
Common medications that are prescribed for managing arthritis are-
NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
NSAIDs are effective in managing both pain and inflammation. Ibuprofen and naproxen are the two NSAIDs available OTC while some NSAIDs are available by prescription. Common risks associated with NSAIDs are increased risks of heart attack, stomach irritation, liver/kidney problems, headaches, and dizziness.
Acetaminophen is commonly used for reducing pain, but it doesn’t have any effect on inflammation. For managing severe pain, patients can use narcotic pain relievers, which are available by prescription. However, narcotic drugs can cause sedation, constipation, and urinary problems.
DMARDs (Disease-Modifying Antirheumatic Drugs)
These medications can help in slowing down the immune system to attack the joints. However, some treatment plans may involve using more than one DMARDs. The common side-effects of DMARDs are nausea, diarrhea, and lung/kidney problems.
Biologic Response Modifiers
These medications target certain proteins molecules associated with the immune response. Biologic response modifiers are often used with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs. These drugs are usually more expensive than other medications.
Using Marijuana For Arthritis Treatment
Cannabis is gaining popularity as an effective treatment for arthritis. Marijuana has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help arthritis patients to boost wellness. The herb is effective in managing pain and swelling. The best part is it doesn’t cause any side-effects as NSAIDs and opioid medications.
Some medical experts say that cannabis not only replaces prescription medications but also helps reduce dependence issues.
There are more than 100 cannabinoids in the marijuana plant. The two most important cannabinoids are THC and CBD. THC is a psychoactive compound that delivers mind-altering effects.
Cannabis treatment works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system. The system comprises cannabinoid receptors available in different parts of the body. THC binds to CB2 receptors, which are associated with pain and inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, research indicates that CBD can help in managing arthritis-related pain and inflammation. Cannabis is more effective and safer than opioid drugs. Opioids have killed thousands of Americans, but marijuana hasn’t killed a single person.
There are many medical studies showing cannabis as an effective treatment for arthritis. A study published in the Journal of Opioid Management found that 80 percent of the marijuana users in a pain clinic was using it for managing muscle pain.
In 2005, an article published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology said that chemical compounds in marijuana can be helpful in managing inflammatory diseases, like arthritis.
A study published in the European Journal of Pain in 2015 reported that CBD helped in reducing pain and inflammation in rodents. Researchers noticed no side-effects.
According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Headache Pain, cannabis containing caryophyllene and myrcene provided relief from headaches, migraines, and other pain-related conditions, including arthritis. Myrcene and caryophyllene are two terpenes present in cannabis.
Since there’s scientific evidence on the effectiveness of cannabis for managing arthritis, more patients are turning to the herb. A national poll by CBS News reported that 86 percent of the people think that medical professionals should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for severe conditions, such as arthritis.
Top Strains For Arthritis Patients
Cannabis is effective for managing pain and other arthritis symptoms. However, you should select the right marijuana strains containing the right levels of THC and CBD. Here are some of the best strains that work for arthritis patients-
ACDC is a Sativa-dominant strain, which is effective for pain management, reducing inflammation, and multiple sclerosis. Its high CBD content allows users to receive medicinal effects without experiencing the psychoactive effects of THC. The strain can also help in managing nausea, anxiety, and depression.
Harlequin is a CBD-rich strain, which provides relaxing and calming effects. It offers ultimate relief from pain, inflammation & anxiety, and is ideal for day or night time use. Additionally, this strain can help in alleviating nausea and boosting focus. Harlequin contains 4-10 percent of THC content.
Valentine X contains 25 percent of CBD and very low levels of THC. This strain has amazing healing properties and can help patients ease pain and inflammation easily. It’s also effective for patients with seizure disorders.
Just like women care for their men who are sick, this strain is effective in healing ailments quickly. It comes with 20:1 CBD:THC ratio. The strain is effective in reducing pain, nausea, and migraines. Smoke this strain at night, and you will get relief from aches and pain for several hours.
Getting a Medical Marijuana Card is Very Easy Now
If you want to use marijuana for medical purposes in a legalized state, you require a 420 card. The card allows you to access licensed dispensaries to buy cannabis products, such as oils, tinctures, edibles, topicals, and flowers.
Now, you can apply for your medical marijuana card online. Telemedicine allows you to see a doctor in the comfort of your home. The complete process is-
- Sign up an account
- Talk to a licensed doctor online
- Receive a PDF MMJ rec letter via email
Cannabis is known for its ultimate pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, it can be used as an effective treatment for arthritis. Since marijuana isn’t linked to any unpleasant risks, more patients are opting for it over prescription medications.
Research says that cannabinoids in cannabis bind to receptors in the endocannabinoid system, thus reducing pain and regulating other bodily functions. When using cannabis for arthritis, it’s necessary to select the right strains, consumption method, and dosage. To seek professional help, talk to a licensed doctor. Get a 420 card to use marijuana for medical purposes legally.