Medical Marijuana & Arthritis

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide suffer from arthritis, which is why researchers continue searching for alternative therapies [1].  As an alternative to pharmaceutical treatments which may have undesirable side effects, medical marijuana is a natural and safe way to provide relief for those that suffer from arthritis. Patients medicating with marijuana report less pain, improved movement, and a decrease in the need for other medications [2]. If you would like to know if medical marijuana (MMJ) is right for you, schedule an exam with one of our Ohio Marijuana Doctors. You may complete our eligibility survey in just 5 minutes to find out if you pre-qualify for a recommendation.

Medical Marijuana Reduces Pain and Inflammation

There is no cure for arthritis and those that suffer with it can only seek relief from the pain and inflammation through treatment. While research related to the use of marijuana to treat arthritis is limited, there is strong evidence to prove it can treat the inflammation as well as the pain. Cannabis also acts as a sedative, helping people to relax and sleep, alleviating pain. The active ingredient of cannabis, THC, is especially known for having these characteristics, and both THC and CBD contain anti-inflammatory properties [1]. The use of cannabis products to manage chronic pain is on the rise among the millions of Americans suffering from the symptoms of arthritis. Some have been able to eliminate other medications while others use cannabis products to supplement their existing treatment. An article recently published in Arthritis Today encourages the use of cannabis by promoting its apparent ability to relieve pain and inflammation:

“Several decades ago, scientists discovered that mammals, including humans, have a pain-regulating system (the endocannabinoid system) with receptors in nervous system tissue, immune cells and bone and joint tissue. These receptors respond to cannabinoids, a set of compounds that include endocannabinoids, which the body creates on its own; and phyto-cannabinoids, plant-based compounds found in marijuana that are very similar to endocannabinoids.

 

The best-known cannabinoids are THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound in cannabis) and CBD (cannabidiol, a major constituent of the plant thought to act as a sedative and reduce inflammation, nausea and convulsions). They have complex mechanisms, but in a nutshell, cannabinoids can reduce pain by acting on certain receptors” [3].

 

What Other Side Effects of Arthritis Can Marijuana Treat?

In addition to the common symptoms faced by those who suffer from arthritis marijuana treats other side effects such as lack of appetite, mood swings [4], locked joints, joint pain, morning stiffness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and injuries that heal improperly [5]. A study from the journal Rheumatology, published out of Dr. Sheng-Ming Dai’s Second Military Medical University in China found abnormally high levels of CB2 receptors in the joints of arthritis patients. The study has found cannabis to fight joint inflammation by triggering the paths of CB2 receptors.

Another study aims to prove that marijuana helps repair joints affected by arthritis. Dr. Jason McDougall, Professor of Pharmacology and Anaesthesia at Dalhousie University in Canada is head of the study called “The CAPRI Study (Cannabinoid Profile Investigation of Vapourized Cannabis in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Knee). It measures six cannabis strains to be administered to patients by vaping. The Arthritis Society is, in part, funding the study and they have awarded a grant to support its research for three years. In a radio interview, Dr. McDougall explained that a focus on the nerves is the basis of the study as follows:

“[The nerves are like] wires that have been stripped of their coating. They’re all bare, they’re all raw and responsible for feeling a lot of pain. What we hypothesize is that by locally administering these cannabis-like molecules to those nerves, we’d actually be able to repair them and reduce the pain of arthritis” [5].

The study compares the effects of several ratios of THC and CBD and the “short term safety of vaporized cannabis” [6]. It has already proven that cannabis attaches to nerves on a molecular level and can control how pain signals get fired to the joints [5]. A remarkable case out of Madawaska, Maine about a patient suffering from rheumatoid arthritis  strengthens Dr. McDougall’s hypothesis. Katie Marsh experienced severe side effects from the medications her doctors suggested she try. As of today, she has been able to stop using prednisone, antibiotics, and anti-rheumatic drugs. At the advice of her doctors, she began to juice the whole, raw cannabis plant into smoothies and saw results within days.  Her illness went into remission after 11 months [5]! More physicians see evidence that cannabis is a viable alternative, and they are becoming more confident to recommend it to their patients. As more states in the U.S. are approved to recommend medical marijuana, more patients will have options to consider it as a better way to treat arthritis [6].

Choosing the Right Strain

Four medical marijuana strains believed to improve the quality of life for arthritis patients are:

  • Cannatonic – A Hybrid strain that provides relief with a mellow high.
  • Pennywise – An Indica strain with mild psychoactive effects.
  • AC/DC – A Sativa strain that does not alter mood or perception [1].
  • Harlequin – A Sativa strain providing relaxation without resulting in the feeling of  sedation.

Some patients prefer and are recommended to take Cannabidiol (CBD), which leaves out the feeling of euphoria that may be felt when consuming certain strains of marijuana (3).

Is medical marijuana right for me?

If you feel you may benefit from medical marijuana, the first step is to take our eligibility survey. In just 5 minutes, you could pre-qualify for a recommendation. An Ohio Marijuana Doctor can then determine if you qualify during an in-person exam. For more information, visit https://docmj.com/ohio/.

  1. https://www.canabomedicalclinic.com/marijuana-and-arthritis-all-you-need-to-know/
  2. https://arthritis.ca/treatment/medication/medical-cannabis
  3. https://www.vapes.com/blogs/news/research-shows-arthritis-suffers-turning-to-vaping-cbd-cannabis-for-pain-relief
  4. https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/conditions/arthritis/
  5. https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/the-medical-minute-can-cannabis-help-repair-arthritic-joints
  6. https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/theres-no-known-cure-for-arthritis-but-marijuana-works-wonders/