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Medical Marijuana and Tietze's Syndrome

What Is Tietze's Syndrome?

Tietze's syndrome is painful inflammation of the cartilage between the breastbone and the ribs or the collarbone. It can occur in more than one joint and often presents with similar symptoms as heart attack. The condition is named after the man who discovered -- Alexander Tietze -- and is often confused with costochondritis, which is a similar condition. The two components of Tietze's syndrome that require treatment are the inflammation and the pain. Recent research suggests that medical marijuana can aid in the treatment of both. 

Tietze's syndrome often clears up within three months of appearance. However, it can also be chronic. It is a relatively harmless condition, though the pain and belief in the presence of heart attack symptoms can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. The condition itself causes swelling in the affected joints and notable pain. The pain may become worse when breathing and may radiate. The cause of Tietze's syndrome is not always discernible, but it is often caused by injury or overuse of the joints. There are no known complications of Tietze's syndrome. In other words, it cannot lead to further illness, even in chronic sufferers. 

Whether medical marijuana is a viable treatment for Tietze's syndrome sufferers will depend on the patients' experiences. The condition will likely clear up on its own without any treatment. The pain can also be debilitating, which will require a pain reliever such as medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is also a safe alternative for chronic pain, as it does not have the same potentially life-threatening side effects as opiates. The inflammation causing the pain in Tietze's syndrome may also be reduced by use of medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana and Tietze's Syndrome

Tietze's Syndrome, Pain and Medical Marijuana 

The pain caused by Tietze's syndrome appears to be caused by inflammation. In a study published in "Anaesthesia" on the efficacy of medical marijuana for chronic pain, the authors found that "The overall trends seen with the use of THC and THC : CBD were encouraging. We anticipated that CBD would have little effect by itself in this study, but it may have other therapeutic roles, particularly in inflammatory pain." THC is one of the active components of the marijuana plant -- tetrahydrocannabinol. CBD is another active component -- cannabidiol. Both of these substances have been tested and have proven useful in treating pain. That this study found promise for the use of medical marijuana for inflammatory pain shows that it could be particularly helpful for individuals with Tietze's syndrome. 

A study published in 2005 by the Oxford University Press showed even better results when treating rheumatoid arthritis with medical marijuana. Rheumatoid arthritis, like Tietze's syndrome, is a condition that involves painful inflammation of the joints. The study involved 58 patients and took five weeks to complete. Twenty-seven of the patients were given placebo. The patients given the medical marijuana product Sativex had greater pain relief than those given the placebo. 

Tietze's Syndrome, Inflammation and Medical Marijuana 

A pre-clinical study done on inflammation in rat's paws showed the CBD (cannabidiol) can improve certain symptoms of inflammation. The study's abstract states that ". . . oral cannabidiol has a beneficial action on two symptoms of established inflammation: edema and hyperalgesia." Edema, also known as dropsy or pitting, is flesh retaining the shape of an object when pressure is applied in a swollen area. Hyperalgesia is pain sensitivity. Sufferers of Tietze's syndrome can benefit greatly from the latter finding, as the primary complaint of the condition is pain. Other studies in humans have shown relief from inflammation in conditions like Chron's Disease as well. 

Tietze's Syndrome, Anxiety and Medical Marijuana 

As mentioned above, the symptoms of Tietze's syndrome can be distressing and cause anxiety. The condition can last up to three months in non-chronic cases. If the anxiety persists while symptoms persist, it may require treatment. Medical marijuana is approved in several states for use as an anti-anxiety medication. However, it should be noted that anxiety is one of the few distressing symptoms of medical marijuana. In other words, it can have the opposite of the desired effect. Nonetheless, research shows that numerous medical marijuana patients get relief from their anxiety with the drug. If patients are experiencing pain from Tietze's syndrome that makes respiration difficult, there are delivery methods that do not require inhaling, such as eating the plant in food or taking a pill form of a marijuana derivative.

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